Join us for a reading from CYBERWAR: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President—What We Don't, Can't, and Do Know -- and a discussion with author Kathleen Hall Jamieson!
The question of how Donald Trump won the 2016 election looms over all of the many controversies that continue to swirl around him to this day. In particular, was his victory the result of Russian meddling in our political system? Up until now, the answer to that has been equivocal at best given how difficult it is to prove. Trump has vociferously denied it, as has Vladimir Putin himself. Even the famous intelligence reports establishing that the Russians interfered hold back from saying whether the interference tipped the scales in the outcome.
In Cyberwar, the eminent politics scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson has sifted through a vast amount election data and concludes with a reasonable degree of certainty that Russian help was indeed crucial in Trump's victory. By changing the behavior of key players and altering the focus and content of mainstream news, Russian hackers reshaped the 2016 electoral dynamic. Drawing on decades of research on the role of media in American elections, Jamieson forensically traces both the ebbs and flows of Trump's polling support throughout the campaign and the shifting emphases of the media. While it is impossible to prove with absolute certainty that the Russians handed the election to Trump, the lessons of a half-century of research on the effects of media-framing in elections strongly suggest that many voters' opinions were altered by Russia's coordinated campaign.
Combining scholarly rigor with a bracing argument, Cyberwar shows why we can now be reasonably confident that Russian efforts helped put Trump in the White House.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson is a professor in the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania and director of its Annenberg Public Policy Center. She has authored or co-authored 16 books, including Cyberwar, Spiral of Cynicism, and The Obama Victory: How Media, Money and Message Shaped the 2008 Election, which won the American Publishers Association's PROSE award in 2010. Her paper “Implications of the Demise of ‘Fact’ in Political Discourse” received the American Philosophical Society’s 2016 Henry Allen Moe Prize. Jamieson is a co-founder of FactCheck.org and its subsidiary site, SciCheck, which monitors political speech for the misuse of science. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the International Communication Association.