As the scope of coordinated campaign attacks against Judge Roy Moore’s 2017 bid for U.S. Senate is further exposed, some apologies are trickling out as well.
Also, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Thursday announced his office would explore some of the activities against Moore for possible fraud.
Marshall hinted that the numerous tactics coordinated under the umbrella “Project Birmingham” banner were significant enough to change the outcome.
“The information is concerning,” Marshall said. “The impact it had on the election is something that’s significant for us to explore, and we’ll go from there.”
It is recent news reports that continue to expose further the scope of disinformation campaign activities under Project Birmingham. Marshall did not characterize his office’s response as an official criminal investigation, however.
“We’re planning to explore this issue further,” he said.
One apologetic response came out from major donor Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of Linked-In and an early investor in Facebook.
Hoffman sank $750,000 into American Engagement Tech., tied to Project Birmingham, and led by a former aid to President Barack Obama. The funding helped the noted and specific instances of misinformation.
“I want to be unequivocal,” Hoffman said. “There is absolutely no place in our democracy for manipulating facts or using falsehoods to gain political advantage.”
Hoffman also noted his support for further probing of the actions in Alabama against the Moore campaign, and, if needed, formal criminal investigation also.
illegal influence operations are a serious threat to our democracy
Moore opponent Doug Jones, who won the Senate seat by about a percentage point, indicated his position as against such manipulations, saying that FEC and DOJ officials should also have a look at possible impacts.
“Illegal influence operations are a serious threat to our democracy,” Jones said, “regardless of where these activities originate or who they seek to support.”
Misinformation against Moore included a claim that Moore had been banned from the local Gadsden Mall in Alabama in the 1980s because of disturbing interactions with young women.
Project Birmingham actions allegedly included funding and assisting social media tactics in which false accounts apparently linked to Russians seemed to support Moore. Claims published about inappropriate Russian links followed up those false posts.
Also alleged: social media tactics to promote a conservative write-in campaign so Moore’s potential support could be further diffused on Election Day.
Billboards advertising a discredited story improperly sourced in a New York tabloid, and further renounced by that source, also are part of the scope of misinformation efforts.