With all the recent back and forth about whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 general election, the Spirited Reasoner thought it might be useful to provide a litmus test. So here goes.
Pro-Trump actors in Russia continue to rile up his base by using the following three-part formula in the creation of bogus Tweets and Facebook posts:
- Begin with an inflammatory claim. By that, I mean one that, if true, would be truly newsworthy. Following are a few examples:
- “Muslims have established dozens of armed militia camps in the United States, and Democratic party leaders are preventing the federal government from doing anything about it.”
- “My son’s school recently expelled him, just because he told a friend that his parents planned to vote for Donald Trump again in 2020.”
- “Measles and other contagious diseases are making a comeback because of the influx of illegal aliens.”
- Cite no reliable source for the claim.
- Add high-quality artwork designed to impress people who are not likely to check the facts.
Did you find all three in a post you read? Odds are, it was Made in Russia, especially if the artwork appears more sophisticated than usual and the claim is so extreme and so obviously false as to be laughable.
Could it be that the Spirited Reasoner is not giving enough credit to pro-Trump Americans, who are perfectly capable of matching the Russians in terms of inflammatory, false, and yet highly artistic Tweets and posts? Maybe so.
Perhaps we should all keep our tongues planted in our collective cheeks while we wait until all the evidence is in.