“Joe Biden’s campaign has quietly built a multimillion-dollar operation over the past two months that’s largely designed to combat misinformation online, aiming to rebut President Trump while bracing for any information warfare that could take place in the aftermath of the election,” the Washington Post reports.
“The effort, internally called the ‘Malarkey Factory,’ consists of dozens of people around the country monitoring what information is gaining traction digitally, whether it’s resonating with swing voters and, if so, how to fight back. The three most salient attacks the Malarkey Factory has confronted so far are claims that Biden is a socialist, that he is ‘creepy’ and that he is ‘sleepy’ or senile.”
The Malarkey Factory has already been at work. When Trump began attacking Biden as a socialist, for example, the Biden campaign saw that it was affecting Hispanic voters in Florida. So it developed counter-messaging that showed a different image of Biden, with him speaking of his love for America and being endorsed by former president Barack Obama, and the campaign blasted the messaging to Latinos in the state.
“Our theory of the case has been that we need to find and identify the misinformation that is actually moving voters, even if it is a small number of voters, then find who those voters are and see if we can intervene,” said Rob Flaherty, the campaign’s digital director and head of the Malarkey Factory. “There’s misinformation that inflames a base.
The Biden effort, which advisers describe as costing more than $10 million, also coincides with an unprecedented campaign that the coronavirus pandemic has forced almost entirely online. And it comes as intelligence officials warn of foreign interference in the election, with Russia again seen as a major threat to spread false information.