Opponents of President Trump have tried the “resist” movement, without really altering his agenda.
They’ve tried claiming his campaign colluded with Russia in 2016, but there’s been no evidence.
They’ve tried portraying him as a bumbling stooge who doesn’t understand the legislative process, the Washington swamp or politics.
Now, they’re suggesting that he broke some inexact boundary by using statistics and analytics in his campaign, apparently obtained from Facebook users.
Reuters jumped in to attack, stating: “Facebook Inc’s shares fell more than 4 percent … after media reports that a political consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign gained inappropriate access to data on 50 million Facebook users.”
The report said even “the head of European Parliament said on Monday that EU lawmakers will investigate whether the data misuse has taken place, adding the allegation is an unacceptable violation of citizens’ privacy rights.”
But what really was the “inappropriate access” or the “data misuse”?
Figments of strong imaginations, apparently, contends talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh.
“Facebook is not a victim here, and Cambridge Analytica is by no means the only entity which has Facebook’s own data collection,” he said Monday. “Facebook collects the data. Cambridge Analytica is like any other outfit that found a way to access it, and it’s not illegal.
“When Facebook users agreed to participate in a survey, there are disclaimers.”
The claim is that Cambridge, working for President Trump’s campaign, “gained inappropriate access to data on 50 million Facebook users,” Reuters said.
“One Wall Street analyst said the reports raised ‘systemic problems’ with Facebook’s business model and a number said it could spur far deeper regulatory scrutiny of the platform,” the report said.
Analysts said it created a “potentially … serious public relations ‘black eye’ for the company, and its value dropped by billions because of the episode.”
Limbaugh, however, said that whatever Cambridge did in obtaining and analyzing data isn’t anything different from what other companies have done already for other campaigns.
“Folks, the bottom line is, it isn’t any big deal because it’s nothing unique. The Democrats have perfected using the personal data stored by internet companies for I don’t know how long. And Google leads the league in it, and they’re in bed with the Democrats and always have been. Facebook is number two. They’re in bed with the Democrats,” Limbaugh said.
“It’s the modern day equivalent of high-tech grassroots politics. It’s all about finding out who your voters are and where they are and what they respond to, which politics and parties have been doing for as long as there have been both. But the Democrats, you see, and Obama, the brilliant, the cool, the sophisticated Obama, and Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin and Larry Page and all these high quality leftists, they exclusively own that sector.”
He explained: “Only they are smart enough brilliant enough, liberal enough, correct enough, sensitive enough to ever deal with this stuff while excluding everybody else. And here comes, to them, unacceptable, reprehensible bigot using their systems and outsmarting them in the process to win an election they thought they had arranged, they thought they had in the bag.”
He pointed out a 2013 article in the New York Times that reported the Obama campaign used as much information as it could obtain about voters, showing what they were watching and to what they would respond.
“The system gave Obama a significant advantage over Mitt Romney, according to Democrats and many Republicans (at least those who were not on Romney’s media team),” the report said.
“Using data wasn’t new for the Obama strategists. The 2008 campaign developed the most sophisticated system to date to identify tens of millions of voters and place them into useful categories: those most likely to vote Republican, who would be ignored; those supporting Obama – and how likely they were to vote. That system – based on a complicated scoring method that relied on the processing of reams of data – was first devised by an outside consultant, Ken Strasma,” the report said.
Limbaugh pointed out Cambridge is owned by the Mercer family, well-known supporters of conservative causes. To Democrats, they are “illegitimate, they’re racist, they’re bigoted, they’re homophobes and dangerous.”
The point is that in 2013 the New York Times is “praising Obama and praising the geniuses on Obama’s tech team” for being able to figure out how to data mine from Google and Facebook to advance Obama’s agenda. “So the very same thing that media is trying to make you think is criminal activity, they were praising Obama to the hilt in countless newspaper stories all during 2013,” he said.
He cited AP’s claim it was a “data leak.”
“It was not a leak! It was not a hack! There is nothing illegal here,” he said. “The Russians are a bunch of amateur pikers compared to what Cambridge Analytica was doing. But Cambridge Analytica is also pikers compared to what Obama was doing with Eric Schmidt and the Google guys who practically had a satellite office in the West Wing during the Obama administration,” he said.
He explained: “Everybody was getting into Facebook data because that’s why Facebook collects it! There was no hack. There was no breach. … Cambridge Analytica … obtained their data by doing exactly what other Facebook app developers did. It’s nothing unique. It’s nothing exclusive, and it’s nothing out of the ordinary.”
He blasted Demcorats who were demanding investigations.
“Obama gets praised as being a genius for doing this exact thing five years ago! The paper that proclaimed Obama a genius in two or three different stories is now writing of the same kind of operation as almost criminal when it’s done on behalf of Donald Trump.”
At the same time as the allegations were being made that something untoward provided the Trump campaign with data, officials at a U.K. broadcaster claimed Cambridge Analytica was “secretly filmed saying they could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers.”
The report said CEO Alexander Nix said the company could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house” in a conversation that appeared to reference foreign elections.
The report said the company, “at the center of a scandal over its role in the harvesting of more than 50 million Facebook profiles, made the recordings in London.
A Cambridge Analytica spokesman said: “We entirely refute any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called ‘honey-traps’ for any purpose whatsoever. … We routinely undertake conversations with prospective clients to try to tease out any unethical or illegal intentions.'”
CNBC reported the fall in Facebook stock prices triggered a general decline in the stock market Monday.
The Independent Journal Review said a former Obama campaign official plainly stated that the campaign was allowed to “mine massive amounts of Facebook data,” because the company supported the campaign.
“In a Sunday tweet thread, Carol Davidsen, former director of integration and media analytics for Obama for America, said the 2012 campaign led Facebook to ‘suck out the whole social graph’ and target potential voters. They would then use that data to do things like append their email lists.”
The report said Facebook found out but allowed the mining to continue.
“They came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side,” Davidsen tweeted.
Facebook users in various ways give permission for their profiles to be accessed and information used.