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February 25, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Hillary Clinton at the Berlin Film Festival

First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, presidential candidate, and now a film star. Yes, that’s Hillary Clinton on the cover of a special Berlinale edition of Variety. She arrived at the festival on Monday to promote a four-hour-long documentary series that was screened at the festival, a warts-and-all look, according to the director, Nanette Burstein, who appeared with Clinton at a news conference on Wednesday. Inevitably, that news conference had less to do with the film and more to do with politics. As the Berlin news channel RBB24 observed, “The Berlinale has always been a very political film festival — on Tuesday it became a venue in the U.S. election campaign.”

In her remarks at the news conference, Clinton conceded that she didn’t do a “good a job trying to respond to that onslaught of negativity” from Donald Trump and his supporters during the 2016 campaign and indicated that she thought that many people who voted against her misunderstood her positions or were responding to misinformation.

On the other hand, she said, “I don’t think Vladimir Putin misunderstood me, OK? I think he knew exactly who I was, and what I would do to stand up for freedom and decency.” And she suggested that Putin likely encouraged his oligarch friends and minions in the Russian military in their efforts to polarize the American electorate, primarily via social media. “And we have intercepts of quotes from the generals to their operatives in the intelligence agencies to do just that,” she contended.

Clinton may also have been referring to the apparently spreading influence of the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency on American opinion. Recent reports indicate that the IRA is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its use of state-of-the-art video productions on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, contriving fake American names and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to make it appear as if their political influence-mongering is originating in the U.S. Reports indicate that more than 1,000 Russian trolls currently work for the IRA, each of them instructed to post a minimum of 100 comments online every day that are seen by millions of social-media surfers.

Inherent in every democracy, Clinton said, is the notion that “it’s the people of our countries choosing our leaders, not foreign intervention or disinformation on social media and propaganda and stolen materials.” And while she challenged her admirers to “face squarely what has happened and what is still happening in our country and elsewhere when it comes to our democratic governance,” she offered no recommendations for confronting that barbed issue.