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‘Neocon warmongers’: NBC slammed for drawing on dodgy Russiagate org in Gabbard smear

‘Neocon warmongers’: NBC slammed for drawing on dodgy Russiagate org in Gabbard smear
NBC’s claim Tulsi Gabbard is supported by a Kremlin propaganda effort is based on data from a cybersecurity firm already exposed for creating fake Russian bot accounts, prompting a sharp rebuke from Gabbard and mockery online.

The network published an article claiming “Russia’s propaganda machine” had discovered Gabbard, and said experts tracking Russian-linked social media saw “stirrings of a possible campaign of support.”

READ MORE: ‘Religious bigotry is un-American’: Tulsi Gabbard pushes back against ‘Hindu nationalist' smear

It has since been revealed by The Intercept that the NBC report relied on the claims of a discredited cybersecurity firm exposed in December as making up fake Russian bot accounts to create misleading stories about Russian influence.

Gabbard shared the Intercept’s article Sunday, saying NBC “used journalistic fraud” to discredit her campaign in order to “to smear any adversary of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party – whether on the left or the right – as a stooge or asset of the Kremlin.”

The NBC article cited the firm New Knowledge, which created fake Russian troll accounts on Facebook and Twitter in order to drum up false claims that the Kremlin was meddling in the Alabama Senate election to undermine Democrat Doug Jones and promote his rival, Republican Roy Moore. According to an internal report seen by the New York Times, the company boasted about such, saying it had created an elaborate 'false flag' operation.

New Knowledge CEO Jonathon Morgan created the false accounts and then used them to mislead both the public and the US national media.

READ MORE: Russiagate eats itself: Democrat 'tech experts' try their hands at election meddling, report reveals

The organization wrote a Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian social media election interference. It created the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s Hamilton 68, a dashboard which claims to track Russian disinformation through monitoring social media accounts it says are linked to Russian disinformation and has been criticized for not being conclusive (by one of its own creators) and for not being transparent about its methodologies.

It also created a similar dashboard, Disinfo2018, which the NBC article referenced, claiming it had discovered that three of the top URLs shared by social media accounts deemed to be Russian propagandists were about Gabbard.

Out of the 15 top URLs listed by Disinfo2018, one was a Medium article from journalist Caitlin Johnstone and the other two were unspecified tweets, amplifiers of the Disinfo data said.

However, according to a screen grab posted by one of those sharing the data, the tweets listed consist of Hillary Clinton calling Trump a puppet, Meghan McCain slamming Gabbard for her past anti-LGBT stance, journalist Max Blumenthal referencing a Joe Rogan episode where Gabbard talked about North Korea, and a Washington Post tweet of an article reporting that Russian voter targeting doesn’t exist.

NBC has not yet amended its story or responded to queries on social media about the article’s claims.

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