CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN?

pjimage-39.jpg

{This post was begun in response to Friday's Times report.  The story is now moving too fast for this blogger.  It nevertheless appears here in incomplete form to share a link to an extremely informative New York Review of Books piece as well as the above photographic proof that the billionaire Mercers are, in fact, Easter Island megaliths.}

Friday's New York Times report on Cambridge Analytica's fraudulent abuse of social media in furtherance of the Trump Campaign is not the final nail in the Administration's coffin.  But it is getting kind of hard to breathe in there.

As the Times' piece makes clear, CA's mission is the mining of social media metadata for "psychographic" analysis, thus enabling a campaign to microtarget very, very narrow groups of voters with very, very specific advertising.   After its initial launch in academia it was heavily capitalized by the Mercers, a clan of hard-right billionaires. The marriage was brokered by alt.right--i.e, neo-Nazi-- Trump-whisperer Steve Bannon, who saw to it that a Mercer had a seat on CA's board.

Cambridge Analytica was thus a loaded gun put in the hands of the Trump Campaign.  Its specific techniques for metadata-based manipulation of voter perceptions are detailed in this June 2017 article in the New York Review of Books.  Essentially, the data available through analysis of social media enabled CA first to identify voters' hot buttons and then develop "dark posts" to push them.  These techniques were initially deployed to great success in Analytica's first major campaign, in support of Brexit.  The company identified the voters most likely to favor Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in order to prevent Muslim immigration; those same voters were then bombarded with anti-Muslim social media posts from imaginary news sources.

Sound familiar?  

So why is all this significant?  Step one: Cambridge Analytica and the Trump social media campaign targeted very narrow slices of the electorate in swing states with negative advertising--the same slices of the electorate targeted by the Russian troll farms now under indictment as part of the Mueller probe. Step two:  While there is no direct proof--that we know of, yet, thanks to Watertight Bob--it seems unlikely that the Kremlin's targeting of the same demographics as the Trump campaign is mere coincidence.  Any more than it's a coincidence that Trump confidante Roger Stone knew about the hacking of the Podesta emails before the public did, or that Trump himself public promised a huge dump on Hillary after the Trump Tower meeting was scheduled, with its promise of dirt, but before it went bust.  It is therefore no leap--based only on what's publicly known--that there was coordination between the Trump social media campaign and Russian trolls.

.