1st Edition

RussiaGate and Propaganda Disinformation in the Age of Social Media

By Oliver Boyd-Barrett Copyright 2020

    This book furthers our understanding of the practice of propaganda with a specific focus on the RussiaGate case.

    RussiaGate is a discourse about alleged Russian "meddling" in US elections, and this book argues that it functions as disinformation or distraction. The book provides a framework for better understanding of ongoing developments of RussiaGate, linking these to macroconsiderations that rarely enter mainstream accounts. It demonstrates the considerable weaknesses of many of the charges that have been made against Russia by US investigators, and argues that this discourse fails to take account of broader non-transparent persuasion campaigns operating in the election-information environment that are strengthened by social media manipulation. RussiaGate has obscured many of the factors that challenge the integrity of democratic process in the USA. These deserve a much higher priority than any influence that Russia may want to exert. The book concludes that RussiaGate discourse needs to be contextualized with reference to a long-established broader competition between great powers for domination of EurAsia. This pitches the US/European Union against Russia/China and perhaps, ultimately, even the USA against Europe.

    This book will be of much interest to students of media and communication studies, propaganda studies, US politics, Russian politics, and International Relations in general.

    Introduction: Perceptions of western mainstream media

    1. Trump’s campaign, the "Steele" dossier and the Intelligence Community Assessment

    2. "Election meddling" and the health of US democracy

    3. "Bots" and "Trolls"

    4. Cambridge Analytica and Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL)

    5. Implications for social media

    6. Fake news and Intelligence: Enter "spooks"

    7. Fake news and Intelligence: Hacks and Hackers

    8. RussiaGate and the Russian "threat"


    Oliver Boyd-Barrett is Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University and California State Polytechnic University, USA.