Summary: Stories about conspiracies involving Trump and Putin have increasingly dominated the news since the election. Only slowly has rebuttal evidence and analysis accumulated (see the list at the end of this post). Yet the debunkings have had little effect. The stories are too politically useful to both Left and Right, Journalists (haters of Trump) are their collaborators. As usual, gullible Americans are the targets.
Excerpt from “Russia: The Conspiracy Trap“.
By Masha Gessen at the New York Review of Books.
Her article debunks the major accusation. Here are her conclusions.
For more than six months now, Russia has served as a crutch for the American imagination. It is used to explain how Trump could have happened to us, and it is also called upon to give us hope. When the Russian conspiracy behind Trump is finally fully exposed, our national nightmare will be over.
A great many journalists and pundits have been convinced of the Russia conspiracy since December, some since October, a few since July. That conviction helps “connect the dots” as more and more dots seem to appear. Every new story makes the evidence pile up, even if it later turns out to be apparently unrelated…
The backbone of the rapidly yet endlessly developing Trump-Putin story is leaks from intelligence agencies, and this is its most troublesome aspect. Virtually none of the information can be independently corroborated. The context, sequence, and timing of the leaks is determined by people unknown to the public, which is expected to accept anonymous stories on faith; nor have we yet been given any hard evidence of active collusion by Trump officials. …
Given that the story has been driven by the intelligence community and the media, it is perhaps unsurprising that each subsequent revelation creates the sense of pieces falling into place. It builds like an old-fashioned television series, dispensed in weekly episodes with no binge-watching allowed. What remains from the earliest installments is not so much information as mood. …
Is it possible that there is a trove of yet-unleaked classified information that proves that a Russian conspiracy existed, and succeeded in hijacking the American election? Yes, it is. Is it also possible that a few, or many, intelligence officials, who feel, understandably, both insulted by Trump, who has openly and repeatedly denigrated the intelligence establishment, and terrified of what he might do to the country, are using scant or inconclusive evidence to try to undermine his credibility? Yes. What is indisputable is that the protracted national game of connecting the Trump-Putin dots is an exercise in conspiracy thinking. …
The dream fueling the Russia frenzy is that it will eventually create a dark enough cloud of suspicion around Trump that Congress will find the will and the grounds to impeach him. If that happens, it will have resulted largely from a media campaign orchestrated by members of the intelligence community — setting a dangerous political precedent that will have corrupted the public sphere and promoted paranoia. And that is the best-case outcome. …
———————– Read the full article at the NYRB website. ———————–
About the author
Masha Gessen is a writer in residence at Oberlin College. She is a Russian and American journalist, author, activist, and critic of Putin and Trump. She has written several books on Russia, including The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, forthcoming in October 2017. See her Wikipedia entry.
(6) For More Information
Here are other useful articles about the Trump-Russia file.
- See Masha Gessen’s devastating analysis of the IC’s report about Russian interference in the US election, relying on weak or fake evidence to draw dubious conclusions: “Russia, Trump & Flawed Intelligence“. Masha is the author of several books on Russia.
- Glenn Greenwald goes to the heart of the issue: “The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer“.
- A shrewd debunking: “The Trump Dossier Is Fake — And Here Are The Reasons Why” by Paul Roderick Gregory at Forbes.
- “The Dirty Secret Behind the Jeff Sessions Mess” by T. A. Frank at Vanity Fair — “It may not be as sinister as it seems.”
- A useful analysis: “The Russian election hack: bullshit” by Cacique Hatuey.
- “Why the Russia Story Is a Minefield for Democrats and the Media” by Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone — “Russia scandals have bloodied the Trump administration. But it carries dangers for those reporting it.”
- In August 2016 former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who endorsed Clinton, called Trump an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation“. Now he says “there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all.” See NBC for details.
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Donald Trump, about Russia, about fake news, about Trump and the new GOP era, about information and disinformation, and especially these…
- Here are the facts so far about the Trump-Russia file.
- Deciphering the scandalous rumors about Trump in Russia.
- As a reminder, here is a big list of US government officials’ past lies about vital matters.
Two good books about Putin’s Russia