On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with attempting to interfere with the 2016 election via "information warfare." Though officials underscored Friday that the 37-page indictment contains no charge "that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity" or that the meddling actually "altered the outcome of the 2016 election," they provided evidence that Russian internet trolls successfully stirred up trouble, including starting both pro- and anti-Trump rallies after the election to try to sow more discord.
The indictment specifically alleges that trolls prompted both pro- and anti-Trump rallies in New York City on the Saturday after the election. Here's the passage:
In or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally in New York through one ORGANIZATION-controlled group designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump,” held on or about November 12, 2016. At the same time, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through another ORGANIZATION-controlled group, organized a rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President” held on or about November 12, 2016.
So Media watchdog group MRC went back in time to see how the media covered the particularly well-attended anti-Trump rally in NYC on November 12. As Newsbusters' Rich Noyes highlights, it turns out that both CNN and MSNBC unwittingly played right into the hands of Russian trolls, whose primary goal was to create further division among the American people and undermine our electoral system. Both networks, Noyes writes, "gave enthusiastic coverage to the Russian-organized anti-Trump rally that day, with live reports every hour":
Correspondents celebrated the idea that it was “a love rally,” and repeated the marchers’ anti-Trump mantras, such as: “We reject the President-elect.” ...
At one point, MSNBC anchor Alex Witt credulously responded to the ridiculously alarmist rhetoric: “That woman, when she’s saying she’s concerned that black people will be shot in the street....Is that a legitimate concern for her? Because, that’s scary.”
Correspondent Morgan Radford cheerfully played along: “Alex, it’s not only a legitimate concern for her, it’s a legitimate concern for a lot of people I’ve spoken to....They’re wondering if this [Trump’s election] is almost a license to carry in terms of hate.”
While both CNN and MSNBC were gleefully covering the allegedly troll-started anti-Trump craziness, MRC checked out how Fox News covered the event: Fox devoted just 66 seconds.
Below is the flashback video MRC provided of CNN and MSNBC's enthusiastic coverage of the November 12 rally:
By the way, as The Daily Caller points out, that troll-inspired protest of the American democratic process was attended by one particularly conspicuous Trump critic: