Yesterday I read with amazement a tweet from a woman I admire for her spiritual affirmations. The tweet said, “I like Dick.” An explicit declaration of what she likes, right.
I did a double-take. Did my friend tweet what I think I read?
I was not surprised to learn that my friend might actually like Dick. But it stunned me to see that she admitted liking Dick in such a public space.
I was curious to explore my friend’s fascination with Dick a little further. Around midnight my tweeter feed began to display a 14-second clip of Joe Biden from 2015 where he says, “I like Dick Cheney…”
Now I get it.
Political operatives of one of the 19 Democratic candidates for President other than Joe Biden are circulating this 14 second sound bite on social media. Ostensibly, the perception is this establishes that Biden does not have the right stuff to win the Democratic nomination.
Perhaps, Biden doesn’t and maybe he won’t.
Biden’s comments from 2015 are fair game for discussion on his run for the nomination.
However, it is troubling that those who are pushing this narrative on Biden are doing so without including the context of Biden’s remarks on his like for Dick. What comes after Biden’s 14-second sound bite is significant to make the kind of leap the publishers of this video clip wants the viewers to make.
By indulging in this kind of propaganda, it makes this assault on Biden’s past similar to the nut job the Russians did on Senator Hilary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. So it seems that the Russians are not alone in using social media propaganda to influence the American presidential election.
If American voters are not discerning enough to pick up on these tactics when misleading and incomplete information is placed in the social media stream by Americans of good will, then they will be left to the mercy of the Russian trolls when the disinformation campaign gears up in earnest.
If we learned anything from the Mueller Report, it is that the Russians meddled in 2016 and they will meddle in 2020.
Our government leaders are too concerned with their turf battles than to address methods to curtail Russian interference in 2020. The lack of congressional action leaves the solution to the American people.
One thing all American voters can do is to reframe from negative social media streams about a candidate you have no intention of voting for as the next President. Instead, publically declare the candidate you support, then flood social media with the relative virtues of your candidate. Some voters would not be aware of this information about your candidate otherwise.
If the dissemination of positive information on the candidates becomes the norm, then when the Russian get busy with their negative trolls, they will be easily spotted and rebuffed.
If anybody has the rest of Joe’s 14-second sound bite, kindly send it to me. I would like to know where the heck he was going with this conversation.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Medium, and Black College Nines. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.