It’s no secret that Russia’s trolls, hackers, and spies are pulling for Donald Trump in 2020—just like they famously did at the last election. But Moscow’s propaganda-peddlers aren’t just pushing MAGA memes and Biden disinfo—they’re also attempting to infiltrate left-wing sites.
The Russian trolls’ private chat logs and emails, reviewed by The Daily Beast, show they tried to get their American contributors to write for Jacobin, a leading socialist outlet; recruited from Truthout, a left-leaning nonprofit news site; and tried to buy their way onto the website of the long-pedigreed liberal outlet In These Times.
None of the outlets showed any interest in content from the Russians or their shady business offers. But the outreach by “PeaceData,” a facade of a publishing operation linked to the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency and built up by American freelancers, demonstrates the ecumenical approach the Russians are taking to pollute the information ecosystem. So how did these Russian trolls try to expand their reach to legitimate left-wing media outlets and what does it show about how well they understand the American media landscape?