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Journalists watch as Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address in Manezh in Moscow on March 1. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

When does propaganda work — and when does it backfire? Many politicians, pundits and scholars have been asking that question recently, given Russia’s attempts to influence elections in the United States and Europe through paid online activists, bots and state-sponsored foreign-language television (RT) and radio (Sputnik) programming. Observers worry that conspicuously biased news stories or outright “fake news” are eroding democracy. In response to Russia’s purported weaponization of information, the United States has added sanctions, and the European Union has set up a task force to counteract Russian disinformation.

But it’s not at all clear how well these Russian campaigns work.…  Seguir leyendo »