For months we’ve been seeing titles like “the Kremlin brought Trump to power” and “Moscow interferes in the internal affairs of other states”, and it seems that the Western media has a never-ending supply of such sensationalism. But to make the matters worse, similar statements are now being voiced by all sorts of politicians, indicating that this recent Russia-bashing campaign is desperate to score at least a few points.
It came to the point that misled readers are becoming outraged with any European or American political figure that is accused of having connections with Russia, even though other political figures may have a track record of supporting terrorists, yet they still get no condemnation.
It doesn’t matter that all recent anti-Russian accusations have been supported by no actual facts, since the Western media decided to turn a deaf ear to Western intelligence agencies all saying that the so-called Russia’s meddling is nothing but fake news. Those behind this hysteria are only interested in creating a united front against Russia, in order to receive a handsome reward from special interests by getting as many supporters as they can behind the cause. We are seeing attempts to start the same-old Cold War hysteria that has in the past made Western military contractors quite happy with an abundance of fear-fueled contracts funded at the cost of social programs.
We’ve seen it all before, but what remains unclear is if the Kremlin didn’t bring Trump to power, who did?
Let’s take a brief look at the two supporting pillars that had been carrying Trump’s presidential campaign along from day one. One of them is Steve Bannon, the former editor in chief and co-founder of Breitbart News. This principal Western strategist was born in a family of Irish Catholics, who were avid supporters of the Democratic Party. He received a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, and then went on to serve in the navy and rose to the position of the chief of staff in the Pentagon. After signing his resignation, Bannon received a master’s degree and soon found himself employed by Goldman Sachs, only to later become a film producer. In 1990, Bannon, along with several colleagues at Goldman Sachs, opened their own investment bank, Bannon & Co, which offered customers investments in media projects.
The other pillar that supported Trump throughout his campaign was the multimillionaire Robert Mercer, who proudly occupied third place among the largest donors to Trump in the pre-election period. He’s an executive director of the investment fund Reinaissance Technologies. In 2011, Mercer invested 10 million dollars in the above mentioned Breitbart News.
In just 10 years, Breitbart News has become a media phenomenon, having the largest number of supporters on Facebook and Twitter among all media sites.
It should be recalled that it is those two social networks played a pivotal role in Trump’s victory. To promote his cause on Facebook, Trump invested 56 million dollars, while Twitting in his personal account regularly.
To better understand what role Bannon and Mercer along with their social networks skills played in Trump’s victory, we should recall that Western IT firms have been collecting so-called big data for years. After all, all that we are doing in today’s world, both on the Internet and in our regular livesleaves a digital trail. Purchases made with credit cards, Google search inputs, a walk we took with a smartphone in our pocket, our activities within social networks – all of this is being recorded. For a long time no one could figure out how this information could be used – except for the targeted ads we regularly see on Facebook.
We can now safely state that Trump’s campaign was a success due to the fact that he took advantage of this big data and the company that explores it – Cambridge Analytica. This company specializes in a new form of political marketing – so-called microtargeting – based on the OCEAN methodology. When Trump hired Cambridge Analytica back in June 2016, analysts in Washington took this step with a grain of salt, but the end result was impressive. This company was purchasing all sorts of personal information about future voters, starting with newspaper subscriptions a person may have and ending with medical records. After all, you can obtain almost any information about a person in the US these days. Then Cambridge Analytica added this data to a list of registered Republican supporters and the information about their behavior within social networks. Thus, Trump knew exactly what he was supposed to say to please potential voters. This OCEAN approach has been the reason behind Senator Ted Cruz’s breathtaking start of the campaign. By the way, in late 2014, Cambridge Analytica was assisting Ted Cruz in every way possible, since he was sponsored by the same billionaire, Robert Mercer…
The Swiss Das Magazin magazine has published a pretty detailed investigation about how the big data affected both the Brexit vote and the latest US Presidential election.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”