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Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson visits Loyola to discuss Russian hacking and trolls


Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and award-winning author  was invited to speak at McGuire Hall on Nov. 8. This is her second time speaking at Loyola, as she was invited to speak last year about a similar topic.

Dr. Jamieson is said to be the supreme public servant, as she deliberately looks for fishy business in politics and reports her findings to the public. Her latest book, “Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President,” focuses on the causes and effects of Russian hackers and trolls, how they easily influenced the American people, and the enormous amounts of evidence and reasoning she and other investigators have gathered.

During the entire lecture, Dr. Jamieson emphasized she was not looking at who should have won the 2016 election, but rather how it was heavily influenced by Russian hackers aiming to skew the election results in favor of Donald Trump. Jamieson discussed how she dug into and analyzed arguments from both sides in order to make sense of the data and find out the truth of what was actually going on behind the scenes.

Jamieson began by discussing trolls and their mass migration onto social media platforms in order to spread false news and incite hate across America. She showed examples of their tactics, proof of who was behind the thousands of troll accounts. For example, she linked Russia Today, or RT for short, to accounts like @TEN_GOP on Twitter, which was named by the Mueller Report as being one of many “Sock Puppets of a Russian influence operation,” according to CNN. Jamieson gave examples of various troll accounts, showing how they appealed to specific demographics, constantly posted content that supported a political group and alienated a polarized group, and tried to sway as many people to one side or another.

Jamieson dove into the role of hackers, showing their connections to the Trump administration and how they did as much as they could to level the playing field, including launching attacks against the Clinton campaign in order to gather and release dirt. Jamieson analyzed anything that had to do with the investigation, looking at timing of events, possible cause and effect, and comparing facts with the statements and actions made by both sides.

What seemed to be the most crucial element in Jamieson’s investigation was taking apart and analyzing every single bit in everything that was in front of her. It was obvious that she acknowledged counterarguments and treated them as if they were as legitimate as her hypotheses and conclusions. Jamieson made sure to look at all sides of the argument, making sure to obtain the legitimate truth and report it to the public. It is her mission to keep the public in the light and make sure the government is kept in check, inspiring others to be supreme civil servants.

Feature Image: Courtesy of Penn Book Center.

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Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson visits Loyola to discuss Russian hacking and trolls