Help Wanted

Rev. Steve Schlissel - October 10, 2017

I need help because I don’t understand. Day after day I see, in my hands & before my eyes, stories in the newspapers which claim that Russia and Russians purchased advertising on American platforms directed at American voters to “influence” the 2016 election. The following is a quote from the lead paragraph of a story in today’s (October 10, 2017) Wall Street Journal:

“Google Inc. found that Russian-linked entities bought tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of politically motivated ads on its platform around the U.S. presidential election, according to people familiar with the investigation, the first sign that Russia’s alleged attempts to influence the 2016 vote spread to the world’s largest advertising business.”

What I need help with: What sort of “influence” did Russia allegedly seek to effect by these ads (said to be comprised of $4,700 of ads supposedly purchased by the Russian government and $53,000 bought by other Russian entities)? Particularly, I’d like to know why the word INFLUENCE is used–and used prodigiously– without any explanation of what is meant by it? Influence how? Influence whom? Influence whom to do what? Voters to stay home? To revolt? Candidates to take a nap? What meaning is a reader to derive from this story (and its abounding ilk) as a whole? Help me!
Of course, the very obvious implication, made titanium-strong by our current political climate, is that Russia sought to INFLUENCE (and that, we all know, in “collusion” with the Trump campaign!) American voters to vote for Donald Trump. Yet in the article mentioned, Trump’s name is not. Is this like a subliminal popcorn ad?

Before you write off my plea for help, or regard it as unwarranted, please give full weight to this description of the Russian-purchased ads, printed right there in today’s article, as descriptive of the Russian “influence” ads found by Facebook AND Google:

They “touched on a variety of topics, without a clear bent toward one candidate or political position, [the sources said].”

Now do you see why I need help? If you hired someone to INFLUENCE voters, and they spent your money on ads with no clear bent, not favoring a particular candidate or even a particular position, would you pay them? Why is this referred to as attempted INFLUENCE, other than for the SOLE purpose of keeping alive the mythical narrative Dems embrace to soothe them for their losses? In other words, is this not an exemplar of FAKE NEWS?

Help! I say, HELP!

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