As the investigation into Russian activities leading up to the 2016 election digs deeper, more details are emerging. One of the more shocking finds is that a popular internet personality, “Jenna Abrams,” never really existed. “She” was the product of the Internet Research Agency, the large troll farm operating in St Petersburg, Russia.
Her popular twitter and facebook accounts were quickly deleted with the revelation, leaving us without valuable forensic information. How was it possible for us to be duped? It’s hard to say if we don’t have the text in front of us. But wordpress doesn’t have the same policy, leaving “her” blog up for us to see to this day. It shows us just how sophisticated the operation was and how reasonable it was for so many to be duped.
The last post came on 6 August. It was, curiously enough, a comparison of the shirtless virility of Putin vs Trump – praising the former as being very fit. “I don’t think we’d match on Tinder with Vladimir but he still looks pretty fit for a man in his 60s,” she tells us. This doesn’t sound like a Russian troll farm in any way at all. The article goes on to criticize Trump for having a gut, but praises him for at least having a firm handshake.
Blatant propaganda? Far from it. The piece is believable on many levels, but it opens with what must be the real purpose of the blog. Jenna isn’t here to praise leaders or promote anything positive, but instead to sow disbelief. That’s what this is actually all about:
The Mainstream Media never ceases to amuse. The informational standoff against the President, neglecting facts in favor of promoting far-left ideals, ignoring particular criminals’ backgrounds to avoid stereotyping minorities, threatening private citizens to publish their identities… I could go on till Saudi Arabia legalizes same sex marriages but I think you get the idea: the list of idiotic tricks performed by so called “independent journalists” is incredibly huge.
Yes, that’s just two sentences. The grammar is horrible, but well within normal internet standards. The ranting nature is also consistent with what you might read anywhere. It’s far from good, yes, but there are no red flags telling us it’s straight from the Putin Playbook.
This is true of all of the pieces in the blog. I didn’t read particularly far, but I can’t find anything which shows us that we are dealing with a non-native American English speaker.
What is remarkably consistent, however, is the message. You aren’t getting the truth from the MSM and everything is a lie. One of the best examples, dated last March, is “Your Myths about My Great America.” It highlights all that is supposedly good about America from a very common perspective. Jenna, apparently, didn’t like people dumping on what she clearly thinks is the greatest nation in the world.
There is no way anyone would suspect this came from anywhere other than mainstream America. Even her tendency to re-hash the Civil War, always a good way to divide the nation, can’t be taken as anything other than a mainstream view. It’s ugly, it’s nasty, it’s simply wrong – but there is nothing out of the ordinary here.
The twitter account, now deleted, apparently started in 2014 as general social commentary. Kim Kardashian was a frequent early subject, not suggesting anything even political, let alone sinister. This has always been a very deep dive into our culture with a very long-term focus.
That’s not to say that her followers aren’t more than a little suspect. The blog has nearly 71,000 wordpress followers, and many of them appear to be fake. That’s not to say that people don’t naturally take up a gravitar to follow a blog in the wordpress site, but when they give their homepage as the otherwise suspect Zero Hedge website there is reason to be alarmed. This is the case in a lengthy, gushing comment in the post “What We Learned from Comey.”
But that is the only clue that there is a problem here.
How were we duped by “Jenna”? The long and short of it is that there was no reason to doubt the validity of this personality. It means that there are likely many, many more of her out there. We could go on a witch hunt and go after everyone we disagree with as a potential Russian invention if you’d like. Or we can make a point of being decent and respectful and not letting the Russian bots divide us, which is what seems to be their real message.
That’s the only thing consistent in the writings of “Jenna Abrams.” But it’s all in the subtext and never right up front – just like “Jenna” herself.