Throughout our work, we find clear patterns, before and after the election. The Russians are there. They are trying. But in all these cases, American right-wing media did the heavy lifting to originate and propagate disinformation.
To be sure, it is impossible in such a close election to rule out that Russian efforts contributed the tiny sliver of support that separated defeat from victory in decisive swing states. In such a tight race, countless factors could have tipped the balance. But the focus on Russian skulduggery has become disproportionate.
Our analysis underscores not only the enormous power of right-wing media but also their distinctiveness from left-wing media. The conservative network of outlets, with Fox at its center, feeds a large minority of Americans narratives that confirm their biases, fills them with outrage at their political opponents, and isolates them from views that contradict these narratives. It is a closed propaganda feedback loop.
Left-leaning media, whatever the goals of some of their members, have failed to produce anything similar, our analysis found.