Stop the Steal's massive disinformation campaign connected to Roger Stone and Steve Bannon - CNN

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  sister-mary-agnes-ample-bottom  •  2 weeks ago  •  42 comments

By:   Rob Kuznia, Curt Devine, Nelli Black and Drew Griffin (CNN)

Stop the Steal's massive disinformation campaign connected to Roger Stone and Steve Bannon  - CNN
It is an internet battle cry: Stop the Steal has swept across inboxes, Facebook pages and Twitter like an out-of-control virus, spreading misinformation and violent rhetoric -- and spilling into real life, like the protest planned for DC this weekend.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



(CNN)It is an internet battle cry: Stop the Steal has swept across inboxes, Facebook pages and Twitter like an out-of-control virus, spreading misinformation and violent rhetoric -- and spilling into real life, like the protest planned for DC this weekend.

But while Stop the Steal may sound like a new 2020 political slogan to many, it did not emerge organically over widespread concerns about voting fraud in President Donald Trump's race against Joe Biden. It has been in the works for years.

Its origin traces to Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative and self-described "dirty trickster" whose 40-month prison sentence for seven felonies was cut short by Trump's commutation in July. Stone's political action committee launched a "Stop the Steal" website in 2016 to fundraise ahead of that election, asking for $10,000 donations by saying, "If this election is close, THEY WILL STEAL IT."

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest outside the Clark County Election Department on November 7 in Nevada. He first trotted out the slogan during the 2016 primaries -- claiming a "Bush-Cruz-Kasich-Romney-Ryan-McConnell faction" was attempting to steal the Republican nomination from Donald Trump -- before re-upping Stop the Steal for the general election.

 "Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are going to steal the next election," his website said that October. Stop the Steal briefly resurfaced around the midterms in 2018 -- with Republicans employing the hashtag during a recount in a neck-and-neck Florida race for U.S. Senate -- but it wasn't until 2020 that it really caught fire.

A Stop the Steal Facebook group was managed by a loose coalition of right wing operatives, some of whom have worked with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. The group amassed hundreds of thousands of followers in little more than a day before Facebook shut it down on November 5 -- the day after it was launched. Also on November 5, Bannon started his own "Stop the Steal" Facebook group; he changed the name to "Own Your Vote" the following day. It was not removed by Facebook, but the social media company did later remove several other pages affiliated with Bannon.

"We've removed several clusters of activity for using inauthentic behavior tactics to artificially boost how many people saw their content," said Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman. "That includes a group that was originally named Stop the Steal, which later became Gay Communists for Socialism and misled people about its purpose using deceptive tactics." Spinoff pages sprung up soon after like brush fires, with Facebook struggling to quickly snuff out the spreaders of bogus information. All the while, Roger Stone and Bannon have been in full disinformation mode.

Stone has appeared on the show of far-right radio commentator Alex Jones to trumpet groundless claims that Biden is trying to steal the election; Bannon is echoing similar conspiracy theories on his podcast, calling the election "a mass fraud." "We're calling it a fraud or we're calling it a steal -- stop the steal," he said on a November 4 episode.

Despite efforts by Facebook to shut down the misleading content, it was too late. The cluster of groups and pages -- which altogether had amassed 2.5 million followers, according to an analysis by activist group Avaaz -- had seeded a jungle of misinformation that is being shared -- and believed -- by millions of Americans. Dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to alleged fraud against President Donald Trump gather on the steps of the State Capitol on November 5 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "I would not consider this a grassroots movement by any means," said Ben Decker, the CEO and founder of Memetica, a digital investigations consultancy. "Stop the Steal is a highly coordinated partisan political operation intent on bringing together conspiracy theorists, militias, hate groups and Trump supporters to attack the integrity of our election."

The movement has also migrated to in-person events, Decker said, manifesting itself "in a variety of offline rallies and protests featuring a number of participants that are often armed." Some of the violent rhetoric associated with the campaign has come from its own leaders. "Clean your guns," said Dustin Stockton, one of the administrators of the Facebook Stop the Steal group, on a Facebook Live Stream video to his followers. "Things are going to get worse before they get better." Stockton acknowledged CNN's request for comment but didn't respond to questions. Stockton previously told CNN he did not see any messages within the group "calling for violence outside of what is common political hyperbole." He said Facebook's removal of the page was "out of line and they should restore it immediately."

Stop the Steal triggered voter-intimidation lawsuits in 2016


When Stone launched Stop the Steal in 2016, it wasn't just a campaign slogan and fundraising website -- it also became a self-described "vote protectors" project that sought volunteers to monitor polling places. Stone told CNN this week that the purpose of the group was "to insure the integrity of the vote." The project triggered a slew of federal lawsuits just before Election Day by Democratic parties in six battleground states accusing Stone and affiliates of trying to intimidate minority voters in the cities where he intended to send volunteers. A federal suit filed in Ohio, for instance, accused Stone's Stop the Steal project of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by "conspiring to intimidate, threaten, harass, or coerce voters on Election Day." A judge granted a temporary restraining order against the group, but it was lifted on appeal.

Today, StopTheSteal.org redirects to Stone's personal web page, "StoneColdTruth.com," where Stone has been posting conspiracy theories about "widespread voter fraud." Roger Stone, former adviser and confidante to President Donald Trump, was sentenced on February 20 to 40 months in prison. Trump later commuted Stone's sentence. This week, he appeared on Alex Jones's show, where Stone groundlessly pronounced that Biden's election was a "hoax" and made a plug for Stop the Steal. "I think our headline is Join the Patriots in Washington, D.C. this weekend to protest the hoax that is the theft of this election and demand that we Stop the Steal," he said, adding, "hashtag Stop the Steal." In an email, Stone responded pugnaciously to a question from CNN about whether the current Stop the Steal movement is a recycled version of the false narrative of mass voter fraud he led years before.

"As for the lack of evidence that is the mantra of all you flying monkeys," he wrote. "It's like denying the Holocaust. The evidence is overwhelming and compelling, despite the framing of your question." Stone defended the recycling of the slogan in his email, attempting to draw a parallel to other mass protests that share a theme, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington in 1963 and The Million Man March -- a gathering of Black men in Washington, DC, in 1995.

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Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    2 weeks ago

200710201552-roger-stone-lead-image-exlarge-169.jpg

Oh.  Brother.

 
 
 
devangelical
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1    2 weeks ago

this example is but one of many designed to con idiot trumpsters out of their cash using PAC's that can be drained empty with the stroke of a pen, and all of it completely legal.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1    2 weeks ago
Oh.  Brothe

oh, the irony

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1    2 weeks ago

LOL!!!

I said "oh, brother" to myself before I even saw this photo and your comment!

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     2 weeks ago

No surprise that it's Stone. He's been a conman/liar an all-around scumbag most of his life.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago
No surprise that it's Stone. He's been a conman/liar an all-around scumbag most of his life.

When Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump get together, one can assume that there is grift afoot.  I'm tempted to think that Paul Manafort is swimming in the deep end of this mess, as well. 

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.1  Ozzwald  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @2.1    2 weeks ago
When Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump get together, one can assume that there is grift afoot.  I'm tempted to think that Paul Manafort is swimming in the deep end of this mess, as well.

With that many con men, wouldn't they be able to come up with a better grift?  The only people that believe this "stop the steal" crap, are the Trump supporters desperately grabbing for any lifeline to support their racist in chief.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.1    2 weeks ago
With that many con men, wouldn't they be able to come up with a better grift?

They don't have to. TrumpTrueBelievers will give their money for anything, as long as it's labeled "Trump".

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
2.1.3  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.1    2 weeks ago

The Trumpers who send money should just eliminate the middle man and sign over their government checks so that the money sent directly to these con men.  They are just to stupid to realize they are being conned.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1.4  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.1    2 weeks ago
With that many con men, wouldn't they be able to come up with a better grift?

That they have all treated campaign finance funds like their own personal sugar daddy.  Along those same lines, Trump treated his 'charity foundation' in much the same manner.  No one wants to think that anyone could be so horrible as to enrich themselves in such a way.  

What I hope more than anything, is that people who attend the continuing Trump rallies figure out exactly where their money is going...  For example Steve Bannon's yacht, Roger Stone's hats, Paul Manafort's legal bills, and Trump's billion-dollar debt.  However, that isn't going to happen.  Trump supporters have, and will continue to put themselves in financial peril to help their Personal Jesus.  

For the bigger donations, they can reach out and touch faith.

dffcbc20d63f3eb428dc3ef42573ac4a

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.5  Ozzwald  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.2    2 weeks ago

They don't have to. TrumpTrueBelievers will give their money for anything, as long as it's labeled "Trump".

That's the REAL con.  Getting all these Trumpsters to have such "blind faith" in the single most unbelievable and untrustworthy person in the US.  He can, and does, lie to their face, with lies that a 5 year old can see through, and yet they believe him....

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.5    2 weeks ago

It's a "tribal religion". The Faithful must prove their worth by the intensity of their adoration of the god-Trump. 

The highest demonstrations of allegiance to the god-Trump are to:
  - swear to the truth of blatant falsehoods spoken by the god-Trump, and
  - risk one's life by participating in lethally dangerous meetings.

Any TrumpTrueBeliever who accomplishes these great actions is of course immensely proud.

After going out on that limb... there's no way back!

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1.7  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @2.1.3    2 weeks ago
The Trumpers who send money should just eliminate the middle man and sign over their government checks so that the money sent directly to these con men.

I felt sorry for them at first.  But now?  Not so much.  There is simply too much evidence to deny Trump's dickery any longer.

 
 
 
Kavika
2.1.8  Kavika   replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @2.1.7    2 weeks ago

 ''A fool and his money are soon parted''.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1.9  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.6    2 weeks ago
The highest demonstrations of allegiance to the god-Trump are to:  - swear to the truth of blatant falsehoods spoken by the god-Trump, and  - risk one's life by participating in lethally dangerous meetings.

You've omitted the most important demonstration of all:  Giving every last penny they have to Donald Trump.   

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.10  Ozzwald  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.6    2 weeks ago
risk one's life by participating in lethally dangerous meetings.

So, in other words, human sacrifice...

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.11  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.10    2 weeks ago
So, in other words, human sacrifice...

I hadn't thought of it like that... but yes. Human self-sacrifice. 

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.12  Ozzwald  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.11    2 weeks ago
I hadn't thought of it like that... but yes. Human self -sacrifice.

Not sure about the "self" part.

  • Trump and his people put together the gatherings.
  • Trump and his people urged his supporters to show up in mass.
  • Trump and his people urged them to disregard masks and social distancing.

Trump's worshippers were just following orders.  Almost like Jonestown .

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.13  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.12    2 weeks ago

Very much like Jonestown. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
2.1.14  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.12    2 weeks ago

But if they all die....who's going to carry on the fight?

That's kinda like cutting your nose off to spite your face, isn't it?

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.15  Ozzwald  replied to  Trout Giggles @2.1.14    2 weeks ago

But if they all die....who's going to carry on the fight?

That's kinda like cutting your nose off to spite your face, isn't it?

There is no fight, just Trump's desire to save face.  If all his followers died, he won't have to worry about losing their favor.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.16  Bob Nelson  replied to  Trout Giggles @2.1.14    2 weeks ago

Some will survive. Maybe. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
2.1.17  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.15    2 weeks ago

I just don't that there's any real thinking going on here

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
2.1.18  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Trout Giggles @2.1.17    2 weeks ago

Look no further than states like Kansas as proof of what you say.

Since the early 1980s, they have continued to vote against their own best interests.  I should know.... I'm from that state and those years.

 
 
 
Gsquared
3  Gsquared    2 weeks ago

All of this nonsense is about perpetuating a cult of personality around Trump, which is ultimately about power.  Money and power.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
3.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Gsquared @3    2 weeks ago

We know he doesn't have the money.  The presidency is the most successful grift in which he has ever participated, and he is desperate to stay where he is.  Without it, he's an idiotic blowhard with like-minded pallies like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, who by the way, have both benefitted financially by Donald Trump's campaign and presidential shenanigans.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
4  Hal A. Lujah    2 weeks ago

My sympathies to my NT brethren who have lost money to this shenanigans ... lol, not.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @4    2 weeks ago

It is about money but only partly about money. Both Stone and Bannon have anarchic impulses and inclinations. 

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
4.1.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    2 weeks ago

John, it is entirely about the money.  They do what they do in order to get it, have it, keep it, enjoy it, roll in it, waste it, and laugh at those who don't have it.  

All of these creeps belong in prison.  What might be worth a giggle, is if Stone, Bannon and Manafort are convicted of crimes that are discovered after Trump leaves office.  Trump gets off (literally), while his pals enjoy non-pardonable sentences.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

Roger Stone, and Bannon , are political dirty tricksters  and have no real interest in making things better in America. As others here have said, their interest is in making money and creating chaos. 

The "age of information" aka the internet and social media, make it easy for them. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6  Bob Nelson    2 weeks ago
Its origin traces to Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative and self-described "dirty trickster" whose 40-month prison sentence for seven felonies was cut short by Trump's commutation in July.

I'm shocked.... 

 
 
 
Kavika
7  Kavika     2 weeks ago

Trump and Stone's last con job/lies cost them a $250,000 fine by the lobbying commission of NY.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
7.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Kavika @7    2 weeks ago
Trump and Stone's last con job/lies cost them a $250,000 fine by the lobbying commission of NY.

Good for the lobbying commission to draw attention to it, but not nearly enough to make a difference to either of them.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
7.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Kavika @7    2 weeks ago
cost them

Do you know if they ever paid it? These guys might simply run out the clock.

 
 
 
Kavika
7.2.1  Kavika   replied to  Bob Nelson @7.2    2 weeks ago

Yes, they did pay and they had to apologize to the Native Tribes that they lied about.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
7.2.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Kavika @7.2.1    2 weeks ago

Cool 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
7.2.3  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Kavika @7.2.1    2 weeks ago

I doubt the money came out of their own pockets.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
8  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

So Stone had this thing set up from 2016 during the primaries. And then Stone would have unleashed it if Hillary had won the general. Now he finally gets to bring his tarnished toy out to see if it still works.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
8.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Trout Giggles @8    2 weeks ago

Such persistence is admirable. 

Right? 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
8.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Bob Nelson @8.1    2 weeks ago

Not quite the definition of insanity but it does define something.

 
 
 
Split Personality
9  Split Personality    2 weeks ago

Conservative Group Drops Election Lawsuits in Several States

A conservative group has dropped lawsuits in several states that had alleged voters were disenfranchised by illegal ballots cast for President-elect Joe Biden.

Texas-based True the Vote had sought to invalidate election results in a number of Democratic-stronghold counties, bringing lawsuits last week in federal courts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan on behalf of several voters.

Lawyers for the group alleged valid ballots were unconstitutionally diluted by illegal ballot harvesting, ballot-stuffing and multiple voting. They didn’t offer evidence of the claims.

State election officials have said they have seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf last week said the presidential contest was “the most secure election in U.S. history.”

On Monday, the group filed motions to voluntarily dismiss all the cases, without specifying the reason. True the Vote’s general counsel, James Bopp Jr., declined to comment.

The Trump campaign and other supporters of President Trump continue to pursue lawsuits in several battleground states, but those efforts have faced setbacks .

Mr. Bopp is an Indiana-based Supreme Court litigator and conservative activist who led the campaign-finance case known as Citizens United.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
9.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Split Personality @9    2 weeks ago

Gosh! 

What a surprise.... 

 
 
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