Wednesday, December 13

At least Trump now knows how Bashar al-Assad feels

On Friday America's CNN further cemented its reputation as a purveyor of fake news by reporting that sources revealed to them that President Donald Trump had advance knowledge of a Wikileaks leak, thereby finally proving once and for all that he was in collusion with the Russian government (on the unproven claim that Wikipedia is connected with the Russians). 

The problem for CNN is that they and/or their sources got the date wrong; by the time Trump was allegedly informed of the Wikileaks leak it had already been in the public domain for about 24 hours. 

As to where the CNN fact-checkers were -- the unanswered question has led cynics to speculate that CNN, in their zeal to nail Trump for collusion with the Kremlin, simply lied to the public or refrained from even basic checking on what the sources told them.

To cut a time-wasting story, CNN's report was just the latest in a long list of fake news promoted by American media and their buddies in Washington, who live to see Russia balkanized and Trump kicked out of the Oval Office for suggesting he wanted to cooperate with Vladimir Putin on certain national security issues.

As The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald noted on December 9: "So numerous are the false [media] stories about Russia and Trump over the last year that I literally cannot list them all." (Although Glenn does make a stab at listing some of the wilder fabrications.) 

The seemingly endless list of fake news reports about Trump colluding with Russia's government is what constitutes 'Russiagate.' Yet there's so much false and wildly misleading reportage on the issues that there's actually no Russia in Russiagate, as Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen put it last night on the John Batchelor Show. (Podcasts, part 1 and part 2; see below for my notes on the discussion.)

Yet it was left to Rush Limbaugh, of all people, to pound home the amazing fact that despite all the Russiagate news reports and published opinion, there is still not a shred of evidence linking the Russian government to hacking operations in the U.S. presidential election campaign of 2016 -- and therefore no evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians about such.  (From the podcast of the December 11 Rush Limbaugh Show, posted at YouTube, starting at the 7:51 minute mark.) 

By the time Rush moved to another topic, even obtuse listeners could have surmised that Trump has been the target of a disinformation campaign so massive it's hard to comprehend how his enemies got away with telling so many whoppers -- hard, unless one has watched the machinations of the Get Russia crowd for years.

But instead of sympathizing with him I couldn't help but think, 'So how does it feel, Mr Trump?' 

At the least he should consider Russiagate before he again orders missiles lobbed at a Syrian military airbase to punish the Syrian government for a chemical attack they had nothing to do with, or while he's uncritically accepting horror stories about Syria's President Bashar al-Assad that have no basis in fact. 

My notes on Steve Cohen's discussion with John:

  • I worked for CBS for 18 years so I knew how they fact-checked reports; they were fastidious. They didn't want to get facts wrong. The carefulness is gone now in the US news media. Replaced by 'confirmation bias.' [i.e., one interprets information to fit one's preconceived beliefs.] This has rendered the mainstream media an unreliable source for news but has spread across the entire US media. Now a national crisis of the media generally, not just the MSM. 
  • Now seeing the criminalization of contacts (including diplomatic) with Russia [ostensibly because of US national security policy]. 
  • I've realized the large role that the MSM (NYT, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC) played in creating Russiagate. Stories that Trump was a Manchurian Candidate or Putin puppet were developed in first half of 2016.
  • In December (2016) Obama put sanctions on Russia for Russiagate, not Syria or Ukraine.
  • US State Department has been the laughing stock of the world for years.
Lots more in the discussion, which John Batchelor titled  "A
s Russiagate crumbles, Russia strengthens," but which is as much about the crumbling of the American news media.


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