An op-ed published in Wednesday's New York Times comes mighty close, what with the accusatory headline "Why Don't Sanders Supporters Care About the Russian Investigation?" It is accompanied by a garish graphic of an American flag emblazoned with the visage of Vladimir Putin.
Since the whole piece, written by one David Klion, is built on a fact-free foundation of quicksand, his whole premise quickly sinks into the ridiculous. The lede paragraph is a masterpiece of the standard Russophobic form:
Nearly every day, new details emerge about the relationship between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. The extent of the alleged collusion, which may ultimately endanger Mr. Trump’s presidency, has yet to be determined, but the scandal has dominated news coverage and enthralled Washington.Certainly, new stories emerge every day, but the details are seriously lacking, unless one counts the details of the speculations and the suppositions which substitute for clear, hard evidence. Even the so-called "smoking gun" of Donald Trump Jr.'s email correspondence with WikiLeaks has already been exposed as a phony starter pistol. The original story in The Atlantic was misleading to the point of journalistic malpractice, since writer Julia Ioffe appears to have deliberately doctored one email with the result of altering its entire meaning. Of course, it's already way too late. It's enthralled Washington so much that it's already accepted as dogmatic fact by virtually the entire establishment pundit class.
And so naturally it behooves the Times to constantly remind readers that because RussiaGate has "enthralled Washington" it behooves those doubters out there to jump on the enthrallment bandwagon. But in a good way, of course, not as a slave is in thrall to his master. They will gladly rent us the requisite ladders of opportunity to enthrallment Nirvana.
To try to prove his thesis, Klion names several prominent left-leaning writers, not all of whom are even Bernie Sanders supporters, who have cast doubt on the "narrative" and smeared it as variously a distraction, a conspiracy theory, a minor issue. And then he proceeds to one of the establishment's favorite methods: gaslighting.
If leftists refuse to believe that Russia has infiltrated our democracy, then they are also in cahoots with polluting capitalists. Klion writes,
American corporations have lobbied against recognizing Mr. Putin’s human rights abuses and have sought to exploit Russia’s natural resources. Energy companies like Exxon Mobil, whose former chief executive, Rex Tillerson, now serves as secretary of state, have partnered with Russia and have sought waivers from international sanctions to drill for oil in Russia. A new Cold War would be dangerous, but so would a warmer United States-Russia relationship that enriches oil company executives in both countries.In other words, if you don't cheer for the new Cold War devised by liberal Democrats as a substitute for an actual New Deal platform to make your life better, then you will be partly to blame for a new Hot War funded by the climate change-denying oil companies. These are disturbing echoes of the neocon George W. Bush's Manichean admonition to patriotically support his illegal invasion of Iraq. You're either for us, or you're against us.
My published response:
The headline implies that Bernie supporters are heretics for not "believing" in RussiaGate.***
Despite what the pundits say, his supporters are no more a cult or a monolithic entity than are the supporters of other politicians.
Plus, not all leftists in this country are even Sanders supporters. There are plenty of people who think his ultimate function as a candidate was to herd disaffected people into the Democratic Party and into the voting booth for Hillary.
So please, credit the so-called heretics with a little nuance and ability to think critically. Speaking only for myself, and based on the evidence so far, I do think that Trump and his kin and associates had some pretty seamy dealings with Russian oligarchs, not least because the high-end Manhattan real estate empire at the center of their world is a prime place for foreign tycoons to park and/or launder their money. I hope the Mueller investigation, like the Paradise Papers, opens many cans of many worms.
Do I think that Putin literally "hacked" the presidential election, or swayed undecided voters through the placement of some truly cheesy Facebook and Twitter ads? No. And frankly, the Democrats' complaints that "Russia" is sowing social divisions in the US is laughable on its face. This red-baiting trope has been going on for about a century now. How about they take a good long look at the manufactured wealth inequality in this country, and admit that the big money which controls them is the real Enemy Within?
In other news-suppressing news, the Democratic Party-aligned Huffington Post scrubbed, with no explanation, an article on the origins of RussiaGate written by award-winning journalist Joe Lauria, author of "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton" with a foreward by Julian (gasp!) Assange. You can, however, still read the forbidden material here.
In his Change.Org petition demanding restoration of his piece, Lauria writes,
Like the word fascism, censorship is over-used and mis-used, and I avoid using it. But I can come to no other conclusion than that this is an act of political censorship. I am non-partisan as I oppose both major parties. I am a reporter who follows the facts where they lead. And they lead to an understanding that the Jan. 6 intelligence “assessment” on alleged Russian interference in the election was based on opposition research, not serious intelligence work.In the same week that the Huffington Post axed Lauria's article, the Russian Government-owned TV network RT America was pressured by the US Justice Department to register as a foreign agent. This draconian assault on the First Amendment follows on the heels of a hysterical hit job on RT funded by the Czech Republic-based "European Values" think tank - which just happens to be bankrolled by both the US Government and major Democratic Party donor George Soros. The report, written by Monika Richter, implicitly warns all prominent guests to stop appearing on the network, or else risk being branded a "useful idiot," or worse. Richter is "credentialed" by the Reuters Journalism Institute, which also happens to receive a lot of money from the ubiquitous George Soros.
She names more than 2,000 names of the useful idiots who've appeared on RT, including such well-known US figures as Robert Kennedy Jr., Ralph Nader, Robert Reich, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, Rep. Keith Ellison, Gen. (ret.) Wesley Clark, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Chris Murphy, Sen. John McCain, and even former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Richter's shtick in her paranoid report is spreading conspiracy theories about facts that she doesn't like. She thinks, for example, that the idea that the US invaded Iraq under false pretenses is a conspiracy theory. She also thinks that the riots in Ferguson, Missouri were the result of a Kremlin conspiracy rather than the historical racial oppression and ongoing police brutality in this country.
And even when she grudgingly admits that RT performs laudable journalism, "the critical point here is that RT’s treatment of these events is not motivated by a genuine commitment to principled, balanced journalism, but rather by opportunism to demonise the US government for its apparent contradictions and democratic shortcomings."
So add mind-reading to her many magical skills.
The truth can be so horrific sometimes that one simply has no other choice but to shoot its messengers - if one wants to continue collecting a paycheck, that is.