Morgan Freeman's Russia-Hating Video Has Gone Viral - But Not the Way He Hoped
Do you read news and formulate your own opinions about it on the Internet? If so, you may be a Russian Troll
I once read that the founders of the website Inosmi.ru, which translates articles from the Western mass media into Russia, had hoped that by giving Russians access to Western journalism they would be able to convince them of the rightness of Western ways and of the values of liberal-democracy more generally, and thus rid them of their nationalist and anti-democratic urges.
Unfortunately, said the article, Inosmi had had the opposite effect.
Once non-English speaking Russians finally got the opportunity to read the over-the-top nonsense about Russia that passes for journalism in the Western press, they became more convinced than ever that the Western world was out to get them.
It has thus been suggested that the very best thing that the Russian authorities can do to counter Western propaganda is to spread it as widely as possible among the Russian population. Appalled by what they see and hear, the Russian people will rally around the authorities with great aplomb.
The video in question, of course, is that by American actor Morgan Freeman recently published by the creepily titled ‘Committee to Investigate Russia’, in which Freeman declared that Russia was at ‘war’ with America. No doubt, many of you have already seen it. If so, it’s quite probably because you are a victim of a Kremlin troll.
You see, Kremlin trolls have been spreading the video all over the internet and social media, in order to have a good laugh at it and show how ridiculous anti-Russian propaganda is. My goodness, they’re cunning, ‘as cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed professor of cunning at Oxford University,’ as the great Blackadder said.
Don’t take my word for it. According to that well-known bastion of non-propagandistic, 100% totally objective news reporting, RFE/RL, ‘A top NATO adviser on Russian Internet propaganda and disinformation campaigns says U.S. actor Morgan Freeman appears to have been targeted by “coordinated, pro-Kremlin social-media attacks”.’
Actually, Rolf Fredheim, the alleged ‘top NATO advisor’, is just a ‘data analyst’, and at the Riga-based NATO Strategic Communications Centre for Excellence, not at NATO. The Centre is just ‘accredited by NATO’, which according to the Centre’s website means simply that it’s one of several facilities ‘recognized by the Alliance for their expertise’.
But let’s put that to one side for the moment. It’s RFE/RL, after all. Details, details. What matters is what Herr Fredheim has to say, which is the following:
Fredheim told RFE/RL on September 21 that he could not say whether the avalanche of recent English-language attacks against Freeman on Twitter, YouTube, and other social media were directly coordinated by the Kremlin.
But he said the timing and similarity of many of the initial attacks suggest an army of pro-Kremlin, online trolls may have taken a cue from the criticism of Freeman by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on September 20, one day after the Freeman video’s release.
‘It does look very highly coordinated, because you’re seeing something on multiple platforms at the same time communicating the same message,’ Fredheim said.
‘It’s more than just a teenager in the basement. It could be many teenagers in many basements. But it could also be something more sophisticated than that…the St. Petersburg troll factories, for instance.
It could be an example of some kind of Russian troll-farm output.’
Take for example, Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky, who wrote a scathing article about the video a couple of days ago. remlin troll, obviously!
And Fox New’s Tucker Carson, who tackled the issue on his talk show. Troll, too. Must be. And myself … Well, you all know that I’m taking payment from the Kremlin; it’s how I bought my Ferrari.
The funny thing is that the ‘Freeman is a victim of Kremlin trolls’ story has itself gone sort of viral, as other Western media outlets pick it up, and Tweeters and Facebookers spread the word.
The all-hands-on-deck response suggests a concerted Russian effort to discredit the actor via social media.’ ‘Russian trolls are waging war on Morgan Freeman,’ shouts Vice, citing RFE/RL. ‘Russia has aimed its entire media arsenal at the veteran Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman,’ proclaims the BBC.
Blogs are getting in on the act. ‘Is nothing sacred?’ asks the Codebringer, complaining about the Russian trolls’ attacks on Mr Freeman. It’s just one of many such complaints one can find in a couple of seconds through a Google search. And it’s on Twitter and Facebook too, as people share the stories from RFE/RL, the BBC, Vice, and so on.
In short, the story’s spreading far and wide.
Well, golly gosh. It seems that we are ‘seeing something on multiple platforms at the same time communicating the same message.’ Very suspicious. This phenomenon can’t be spontaneous, can it, Mr Fredheim? You’ve said so. Somebody must be coordinating it. A NATO troll factory, maybe?
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