While taking the train back to New York following the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol, a Bloomberg reporter noticed he was seated across from Project Veritas CEO James O’Keefe, who specializes in undercover audio recordings or videos, and then listened to him talk on the phone for two hours about what he planned next.
New York Times: “As Georgia prepares to hold special elections that will determine which party will control the U.S. Senate, the state has become the focus of a misinformation campaign that is aimed at discrediting the results of the November elections and convincing voters that Democrats are trying to steal the upcoming vote.”
“A small group of ‘superspreaders’ is responsible for the vast majority of that misinformation, according to new research by Avaaz, a global human rights group. Not only are those accounts responsible for most of the misinformation swirling around the vote, they are drowning out accurate reporting by mainstream media outlets on Facebook and Instagram.”
Related from Axios: “In 2020, nearly one-fifth (17%) of engagement among the top 100 news sources on social media came from sources that NewsGuard deems generally unreliable.”
The Miami Herald looks at the origins of a phantom candidate who was put on the ballot to steal votes from the Democrats in a tight Florida state senate race.
“The no-party candidate with the same surname as the incumbent Democrat had been a registered Republican until just before his qualifying papers were filed to make him a candidate for the Florida Senate. He received 6,382 votes in the election.”
Two armed Virginia men who were arrested Thursday outside the Philadelphia Convention Center were “coming to deliver a truck full of fake ballots” to the city, CNN reports.
“The center is one of the places where election workers have been counting votes from the 2020 general election, which includes the race for president.”
An unidentified robocaller has placed an estimated 10 million calls in the past several weeks warning people to “stay safe and stay home,” spooking some Americans who said they saw it as an attempt to scare them away from the polls on Election Day, the Washington Post reports.
“Four months before Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks died in September, sending the pivotal Second Congressional District race into a legal tailspin, he told a close friend that he had been recruited by Republicans to draw votes away from Democrats,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
“Earlier this year, Weeks was struggling financially as the pandemic took a hit on his organic farming business, which he started with his mom. In the voicemail message, he said he didn’t have any funding to run a campaign but said Republicans were offering him $15,000. It wasn’t a lot, Weeks acknowledged, ‘but it’s enough to make door knocks with.'”
A secret recording shows that three Republican officials sought to frame a county Republican chairman for a falsified ad they put together smearing then-mayoral candidate Brandon Whipple (D), who is now the Democratic mayor of Wichita, Kansas, the Wichita Eagle reports.
One compared their mission to that of the man who shot Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
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“A southeast Michigan township worker needed 13 stitches in his fingers after attempting to remove a razor-blade lined political sign that was too close to the road,” Michigan Live reports.
“The Commerce Township worker pulled over to remove two political signs that were 9 feet within the road right-of-way… When he grabbed a sign supporting President Trump’s reelection campaign, he thought he’d been electrocuted; razor blades were taped along the edges of the sign. Bleeding heavily, he drove himself to a hospital where he received 13 stitches.”
An Iowa man went around stealing every copy of the local newspaper after he appeared in the police blotter for removing a Joe Biden yard sign from someone’s lawn, the Dickinson County News reports.
“Two notorious conservative operatives were charged Thursday with felonies in connection with false robocalls that aimed to dissuade residents in Detroit and other U.S. cities from voting by mail,” the AP reports.
“Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman each face four felony counts in Detroit, including conspiring to intimidate voters in violation of election law and using a computer to commit crimes.”
“The calls falsely warned residents in majority-Black Detroit and urban areas in at least four other states that voting by mail in the Nov. 3 election could subject people to arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination.”
Police in Maine are looking for a woman who they say put dog poop in mailboxes of houses with Trump re-election signs, the Bangor Daily News reports.
Washington Post: “The messages have been emanating in recent months from the accounts of young people in Arizona seemingly expressing their own views — standing up for President Trump in a battleground state and echoing talking points from his reelection campaign.”
“Far from representing a genuine social media groundswell, however, the posts are the product of a sprawling yet secretive campaign that experts say evades the guardrails put in place by social media companies to limit online disinformation of the sort used by Russia during the 2016 campaign.”
“Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages at the direction of Turning Point Action… The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out, at least in part, by humans paid to use their own accounts.”
Popular Information: “Facebook has permitted a large network of Facebook pages and groups — with names like Trump’s Deplorable Army, To The Death Media, and One Angry Conservative — to spread disinformation about voting in the 2020 election to millions of people.”
“The network operates by funneling traffic to Conservative Brief, an obscure right-wing website. Conservative Brief does not engage in any original reporting. Instead, it distorts reports from mainstream sources to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the upcoming election.”
“Over the last 90 days, the network of pages that promote Conservative Brief has generated 30.65 million engagements… That’s more engagement than the main New York Times Facebook page generated over the same period of time (26.48 million).”
“A series of deceptively edited and misleading videos shared by prominent Republicans have run up millions of views across Facebook and Twitter in just the past few days,” CNN reports.
“And while both companies have pledged to combat misinformation, their responses to these videos followed a familiar pattern: often they act too late, do too little, or don’t do anything at all.”
“Democratic Party security officials sent a warning to campaign staffers across the country that political opposition groups may be using dating apps to try to get dirt on them and their campaigns,” CNN reports.
Said the warning: “We’re received reports that opposition groups may be trying to ‘sting’ or infiltrate Democratic campaigns or organizations through dating sites… Swipe carefully.”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) is warning Detroit voters of a “racially charged” and false robocall that appears to be discouraging mail-in voting ahead of the November election, the Detroit News reports.
The recording tells voters that their personal information will be part of a public database that will then be used by police to track down people with warrants or debt.