STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Cambridge Analytica brags about weaponizing 'Crooked Hillary' slogan

This week we learned that an infamous Donald Trump slogan for his opponent -- "Crooked Hillary" -- may have been weap...

Posted: Mar 22, 2018 8:19 AM
Updated: Mar 22, 2018 8:19 AM

This week we learned that an infamous Donald Trump slogan for his opponent -- "Crooked Hillary" -- may have been weaponized on his behalf by Cambridge Analytica in its campaign ads for Trump. In a report by Britain's Channel 4, Cambridge Analytica's CEO, Alexander Nix, claims he orchestrated the online viral growth of some of the most damaging and false narratives about Hillary Clinton -- including the "Crooked Hillary" slogan.

Why does this matter?

Because the Trump team has been attempting to minimize the role of Cambridge Analytica, including its ties to the firm and the impact of the firm's work, for months.

This story, particularly in relation to Cambridge Analytica's work practices, isn't entirely new. There was extensive reporting on the role of the firm in targeting voters back to 2016. News reports at the time confirmed that the Trump team shelled out $5 million in September alone to Cambridge Analytica and referred to the firm as its "secret weapon."

But over the same period our understanding of and concern about the role the Kremlin played in disseminating disinformation across social media channels and the extent to which Russia pushed false narratives about Hilary Clinton has also increased.

As has the work of special counselor Robert Mueller, who is leaving no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of the what, how and why of Russia's involvement in the 2016 election -- and the possibility that the Trump campaign may be connected.

And now the Cambridge Analytica story is beginning to emerge with even greater detail, raising some major red flags.

Not only did the Trump campaign pay Cambridge Analytica millions of dollars to get information to target voters, but we also know now that the Russian researcher who harvested the Facebook data of millions of Americans -- which he then sold to Cambridge Analytica -- also worked with a group at Russia's St. Petersburg University in 2014 on a similar project. Seems like more than a strange coincidence.

Defenders of Cambridge make a similar argument to that of many former Trump campaign staffers and supporters: They simply weren't competent enough to coordinate with the Russians and meddle in an election. That spin rings hollow when it comes from supporters of the Trump team, given the number of undisclosed meetings and the clear willingness to accept damaging information on Trump's opponent. And it certainly does not fly when this same firm claiming naivete also employed a Russian researcher to mine the personal data of Americans and perhaps took advantage of one of Trump's favorite campaign slogans.

There are valid questions about Facebook's policy, too, and how the company didn't disclose -- after it became aware of the issue in 2015 -- that a Russian academic had sold the personal data of millions of Americans to a firm working for the Trump campaign.

And there are valid questions about whether Russia's election meddling changed the outcome. The truth is we don't know for sure.

But regardless of the impact and about the steps that will and should be taken from here, the legal and political question is about the intent of the Trump team. Did the Trump team, with the help of a data firm it hired, coordinate with the Russians to meddle in the election in 2016?

And no one has stated the thrust of the issue more clearly than Hillary Clinton: "The real question is how did the Russians know how to target their messages so precisely to undecided voters in Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania -- that is really the nub of the question. So, if they were getting advice from say Cambridge Analytica, or someone else, about 'OK here are the 12 voters in this town in Wisconsin -- that's whose Facebook pages you need to be on to send these messages' that indeed would be very disturbing."

While there isn't definitive evidence the Russians did such precise targeting -- as Clinton's comments suggest -- there is growing evidence that the Russians gathered intel on Americans and bought anti-Clinton ads on Facebook and other forms of social media to influence the electorate.

And President Trump is really not helping matters by congratulating the very man behind the meddling in the US presidential on his re-election, which he achieved by excluding candidates who presented any real threat of winning the Russian presidency.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 912370

Reported Deaths: 9506
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1780492023
Ramsey736781043
Dakota67355574
Anoka63852570
Washington40349356
Stearns33475276
St. Louis29443403
Scott25842181
Wright25830216
Olmsted22258128
Sherburne18919126
Carver1661066
Clay12033104
Blue Earth1144868
Rice11410138
Crow Wing11170122
Chisago992378
Kandiyohi9800106
Otter Tail9758127
Benton9018125
Beltrami816094
Goodhue805597
Douglas7849100
Itasca769597
Mower731249
McLeod710983
Winona708657
Isanti697883
Steele682731
Morrison671579
Becker627174
Polk599484
Freeborn559646
Carlton543474
Mille Lacs529474
Lyon527261
Nobles524754
Nicollet521160
Pine512642
Cass500553
Todd490743
Brown469757
Le Sueur457733
Meeker431457
Martin385843
Wabasha373610
Waseca372332
Dodge359811
Hubbard354749
Roseau315531
Fillmore304315
Wadena301740
Redwood281245
Houston270717
Renville268051
Faribault257032
Pennington251030
Sibley251017
Kanabec248136
Cottonwood229232
Aitkin221550
Chippewa219442
Pope206710
Watonwan197420
Yellow Medicine187723
Rock177428
Koochiching176023
Swift172622
Stevens167011
Jackson160816
Clearwater157520
Marshall153122
Murray151811
Pipestone149529
Lake132224
Lac qui Parle122125
Wilkin120616
Mahnomen105914
Norman10489
Grant101110
Big Stone9465
Lincoln8745
Kittson73023
Red Lake71310
Unassigned629124
Traverse6056
Lake of the Woods5255
Cook3070

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 523052

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Unassigned66470
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Rochester
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 35°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 35°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 34°
Austin
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Charles City
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Tracking chances for rain and snow
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events