It’s easy to meddle with Americans
President Donald Trump just keeps digging his way deeper into the hole he created on Monday at his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. There, he rejected the unanimous conclusion of U.S. intelligence that the Russian government had tried to meddle with the 2016 U.S. elections and said he believed Putins stout denials.
Tuesday he tried to backtrack a bit, saying he did accept the U.S. intelligence reports, and that Russia (and maybe others) were involved, but that there was “no collusion.”
Wednesday, at a cabinet meeting, a reporter asked if Russia was still trying targeting the U.S. with cyberattacks and he answered, “Thank you very much, no.” The White House staff was quick to respond that the president wasn’t really answering the question, he was saying “No” to more questions.
U.S. intelligence reports have been clear that Russians hacked the Hillary Clinton campaign email system, stole mountains of sensitive information and released it through WikiLeaks at a crucial time the campaign.
But that’s not all they did. Groups of cyberterrorists were busy and still are busy setting up Facebook and other social media accounts under false names, pretending to be Americans, and releasing false stories and reports online that feed on fears, dissension and political differences in our country, making the divisions even wider.
We Americans make it easy for them. So many of us will see some far fetched report that someone shares on Facebook and Twitter and believe it, without considering the source, if there is a source. Meanwhile, serious reporting from established news media are derided as “Fake News” from the “Mainstream Media.”
If we can be more discerning and try to sift the truth from the chaff being spread about on social media, we will be better able to protect ourselves from the kind of manipulation coming from Russia.