Column 1 Opinion

No, We Are Not A Russian-Funded Bot

The Alliance for Securing Democracy, with an advisory board consisting of #NeverTrump, former Obama Administration officials, State Department, and CNN operatives, has published a dashboard which supposedly shows the influence of Russian-linked Twitter accounts on political debate in the United States. The dashboard includes a listing of URLs supposedly being used by Russia to amplify disinformation in the West. The listing is updated routinely.

The effort goes to lengths to place the ‘required’ legal disclaimers (shown below) attempting to deny the real objective of the page, which is to label pro-Trump information on the web as Russian propaganda. Tsarizm has been listed as one of these websites as shown in the photo below.

To those of us who report the truth as we see it, this is offensive.

We founded Tsarizm.com because we saw a real dearth of good reporting on Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe in the West. Our website and journalism is an attempt to change that.

WE RECEIVE NO FUNDING FROM THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT OR ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH IT. We go to lengths to report on many sides of issues as our resources allow. We have pro and anti-Russian writers on the site. Isn’t journalism about providing both sides of an issue to the public so people can decide on their own?

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Our purpose and agenda is plainly spelled out on our ‘About’ page on the top menu.

“The mission at Tsarizm is to provide breaking news on Russia, the former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe. In other words, the territory once ruled by the tsars. We are not pro-Russian or anti-Russian, nor pro-Ukrainian, or anti-Ukrainian. We are pro-truth. We do not support dictatorship but simply are attempting to provide information on the area, especially to the West, which we see as vastly uneducated on these issues. We present opinions from all sides. Readers can make up their own minds. Contributions are welcome and will be considered.”

“The charts and graphs here display hashtags, topics and URLs promoted by Russia-linked influence networks on Twitter. Content is not necessarily produced or created by Russian government operatives, although that is sometimes the case. Instead, the network often opportunistically amplifies content created by third parties not directly linked to Russia. Common themes for amplification include content attacking the U.S. and Europe, conspiracy theories and disinformation. Russian influence operations also frequently promote extremism and divisive politics in Western countries. Just because the Russia-aligned network monitored here tweets something, that doesn’t mean everyone who tweets the same content is aligned with Russia,” reads a disclaimer prominently posted.

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The anti-Trump media dutifully picked up the story and reinforced the branding of anyone promoting the America First message as Kremlin propaganda, even the U.S. government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty did so.

News flash: Supporting President Trump’s agenda doesn’t make you a Russian-funded bot. Promoting an America First agenda doesn’t make you a promoter of Russian propaganda. To say so is anti-American and just a lie.

The agenda of this dashboard is to do just that–to denigrate and marginalize news outlets the Left/Deep State/#NeverTrump disagrees with and wants to suppress. I’ll say it again–it’s offensive. We’d love to discuss with any news organization the purpose of Tsarizm if you’ll give us a fair interview.

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