The hidden truth about Putin’s threat to nuke Turkey in Syria

Summary: Are there any limits to our gullibility? Why have clickbait and wild rumors come to dominate the news? A hot new story raises these questions. A possible answer reveals much about America and the decay of our democracy. {Second of two posts today.}

Ignorance is a choice

A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.

— From Robert Parry’s “Risking Nuclear War for Al Qaeda?” in Consortium News. Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the AP and Newsweek, and wrote Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (2005) and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ (1999).

It is an exciting story, and might even be true. Bu why would anybody take it seriously with such weak sourcing? We would, in an America where the Outer Party (its managers and professional) read for entertainment, not entertainment.  Zero Hedge, Pat Lang, Naked Capitalism and many others uncritically repeated this story.

I’ve been reporting on this kind of fun rumor since the FM website was created. Cable Cut Fever grips the conspiracy-hungry fringes of the web (resolved here), Robert Fisk’s story about a conspiracy to wreck the US dollarAmerica’s biological attack on the Ukraine arm, The North Pole is now a lake! (Are you afraid yet?), and the secret reason why The Government Stopped Reporting Lake Mead Water Levels. Even better are the recurring stories, such as the countless false rumors from Debkafile, Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons will kill us soon stories, plus the  annual Iran will have the bomb in 5 years stories.

Blindfolded ignorance

Guessing at conclusions

My professional and volunteer works have brought me in contact with members of the top 3%, and few times with members of the 1%. These have taught me that they believe themselves best fit to rule America. In dark moments I wonder if they are correct. In my darkest moments I wonder if most of us believe they are correct.

Our love of clickbait has grown during the Boomer years. Because America is about “markets in everything”, our journalists and experts (in all fields) respond by giving us what we want. The result is a grim form of the ancient insight known as Gresham’s Law — unreliable experts drive out good ones from the news, as their bold exciting sound bites dominate the intertubes. Climate science, geopolitics, effects of pollution, dieting — our love of junk info fills our minds with garbage, leaving us with clouded views of the world, easy to manipulate, and unable to govern America.

Perhaps if we thought like citizens, we might have a chance to become citizens and retake the reins of America. Reading the news as serious people, for information not titillation, would be a small first step — but with potentially large effects.

Building a less gullible America

  1. Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America.
  2. Remembering is the first step to learning. Living in the now is ignorance.
  3. Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.

Truth Will Make You Free

For More Information

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5 thoughts on “The hidden truth about Putin’s threat to nuke Turkey in Syria

  1. That rumor is stupid optimistic on Turkey/Saudi prospects for an invasion of Syria. They’re going neutralize Russian air power, fight through Kurdish territory, to the Alawite heartland, and kill Russians at their base on the coast? Then Putin, afer being so decisively humiliated would push the nuclear button? This is like 10 steps away from anything happening now. The Syrian rebels are losing, and it’s not just the fringe sites, I don’t think anyone in Washington or the media is capable of processing this. It just doesn’t fit into the ‘America the Superpower’ narrative.

    1. Cathryn,

      I disagree with your framing. This rumor is hot among the Outer Party (America’s educated class, it’s managers and professiinals). I doubt many in Washington believe it.

      I have documented dozens of such fun rumors that get educated readers excited. My guess as to the reason for this odd phenomenon is that many in the Outer Party read for entertainment, as consumers not citizens. Hence no need for a reality filter. The more fun the better!

      Cheer the good people! Boo the baddies. Feel involved, engaged — without the bother of work and risk.

      It is a theory, but becomes obvious when you start looking at popular websites with this insight.

    2. Here’s the weird thing about this war and reporting. Really, there are very few western reporters. The information that comes out is through Arabic language Twitter feeds, sometimes with a Youtube video showing one or the other side at captured village, and sometimes with actual video from the war. It seems a village is not considered captured until a video is posted from there. People pick up on who is reliable and who is not, by reconcilling these twitter messages with messages from news sites sympathetic to the government or rebels.

      The Saudis and Turks are not happy, and they have been making statements reaffirming their desire to take down the YPG and Assad including threats to invade. Maybe they’re trying to improve morale in Idlib, by talking like this? This seems like the likely source for these kinds of rumors. These things, they aren’t true, but they are part of the story.

  2. Yes, it just might have some truth to the report. But as you say so often how can we even entertain such things with such poor provenance.
    And the fact such reports are repeated……goodness.
    Discernment? Rare today.
    ….
    “My professional and volunteer works have brought me in contact with members of the top 3%, and few times with members of the 1%. These have taught me that they believe themselves best fit to rule America. In dark moments I wonder if they are correct. In my darkest moments I wonder if most of us believe they are correct.”
    Agreed. My experience exactly.
    It would be very dark indeed if “most” of us believed their assessment. I’m not there quite yet.

    Thx

  3. If you’re like a friend of mine, who once asked me, “What are we going to do about Putin rampaging through Europe?” (this was 2 years ago) you’ll see no problem with believing Putin will nuke Turkey.

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