The lead-up to Election Day in 2020 has had many twists and turns. Throughout the past year, however, we’ve seen a steady drumbeat of disinformation from foreign actors who continue to try and interfere in U.S. elections, their goals evident through the themes and narratives they promote on their state-backed media outlets.
Four years ago, Russian state-sponsored disinformation operations weaponized “Big Tech” platforms as tools to attempt to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2020, however, Kremlin-backed media outlets have turned against “Big Tech” itself.
Preferences for one candidate or the other in 2020 have been critical to understanding any foreign interference efforts in the lead-up to November—and for understanding potential influence efforts post-Election Day.
The first U.S. 2020 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was filled with shouting, interruption and general on-stage chaos. RT and Sputnik News took the opportunity to highlight it as such.
Amid the 2020 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Russian state-sponsored news outlets RT and Sputnik News published a number of stories and opinion pieces covering both conventions. RT portrayed the DNC and former Vice President Biden especially negatively, while Sputnik News coverage was more mixed.