The Director of National Intelligence releases a report, and the press rushes to kick the football again.
How many people do you figure are actually die hard Qanon supporters? I'm not talking about those who hate Hillary Clinton and can get behind a claim or two. I'm talking about those who actually believe she's drinking the blood of children - die hard believers. Maybe thousands? Compare that to Russia Gate which has convinced a tremendous amount of educated Democrats that Trump conspired with Russia. The impact can't even be compared - Qanon die hards believe in the unbelievable, but the Russia Gate conspiracy was pushed by the government and the media, all legitimate organizations whose impact remains well established in the minds of left. Till this day - dare I say - most of the left doesn't know that Russia Collusion was totally and completely false.
Why not save yourself some time and simply list any true claim(s)?
My favorite part is literal morons like Isikoff and Corn still hold so tightly onto their stories and have completely bought the bullshit they were sold by the intelligence apparatus. Those two and Ken Dilanian are like watching doomsday cult leaders preaching like nothing happened on the Wednesday after they promised the world would end on Tuesday.
I can see a future where journalists will no longer have to attend college. All they will have to do is read back issues of Mad Magazine.
It appears to me that the single most destructive outcome of the Trump administration (of note, I'm neither a Trump supporter nor am I a 'never-Trump'er'), is the term 'alternative facts' and the general acceptance, by all parties, of that term and its implications. When KellyAnne coined that term back in 2017 it feels like, in retrospect, the world basically said "oh yeah, I like the way that sounds," and ran with it. Not to say that lies haven't been a foundational 'principle' of the political landscape since day 1, but the convenience and portability of 'alternative facts' seems to have issued a new and more liberating license on manipulating truth that didn't exist before. Said license has given everyone - politicians, media outlets, corporations, consumers, the cover in which to operate without ramification. As such, the practical application of alternative facts is that nobody is even remotely beholden to the truth or embarrassed when they get caught or seemingly worried about a hit to their career/reputation/credibility.
In this specific story, the general consensus on the left was, "well, we're basically kind of somewhat sure that Hillary lost because that pesky Russia is meddling in cooperation with Trump, although nobody really knows how, to what extent, or to what effectiveness, so we're going to use 'alternative facts' because it gets us in the ballpark of this possible narrative." Now that this episode it is playing out to the effect that Matt has chronicled, none of the players in this mix have been reprimanded or punished and certainly nobody has shown much in the way of remorse.
And why should they? Many of the people who have taken advantage of alternative facts are making money and/or furthering their careers. Not a completely unique development, I know but, again there's something there that feels new.
What I'm surprised about is the few people on the receiving end of all of this BS aren't more upset about this. Rather, it feels like were almost resigned to it because, soon enough, it'll be our turn to take advantage of alternative facts. That's the part that feels new, to me. We should be just as 'outraged' about this predicament as we were at the end of the housing crisis when we realized that not only was nobody going to be punished for the crimes committed but, instead, many involved were not only going to end up getting bailed out, but rewarded.
To extend that comparison, the landscape of alternative facts, in my mind, inflicted as much damage to society as a whole as the housing crisis did back in '08. If I'm being honest, while the housing crisis is more quantifiable, I think alternative facts has even a greater negative impact. While we're generally geared to recover from a monetary collapse, how do we recover from alternative facts and the resulting collapse of trust? To be certain, our demographic, party affiliation, geographic location, etc. does not matter - were all getting manipulated by what should be our most trusted institutions.
If we're not outraged by this manipulation, when at least are we going to be fatigued by it? When will we get tired of banging our collective heads against the same wall to absolutely no result beyond a major headache? I know the cable ratings are way down since Trump left, as Matt pointed out in a previous article, and that's a great start. But I feel like that drop is more of a reaction to the massive charisma void created by literally everyone left in his wake instead of a stance by the people who are sick of being lied to (an 'Occupy MSNBC/Fox' of sorts). Is that going to be enough to start moving us back to a society where the truth matters?
There will be no negotiating with these people, and while it won't be ME, (too old and tired,) someone will have to remove them.
They won't be gotten rid of any other way, and they will indeed bring the weight of the whole arsenal down on any sort of "resistance".
If they start some "Domestic War on Terror", it'll be like every single other "war" they've gotten into since WWII -an utter failure.
Only this time it'll be on home soil, and I wonder if even the feckless cunts in the cities will be able to keep on supporting it to the end. Probably not. Scary times, indeed.
Hi Matt. Thanks for the painstaking work to push back on the propaganda.
I realize what adding this feature may do to the length of this piece, but is there utility in going one degree further in your analysis. For instance - remember Malcolm Nance on Chris Hayes told you: in the intelligence community there are no coincidences...
For example: Shawn Henry - before he was CEO of crowdstrike he was a dept dir at the FBI. not a damning fact by itself, but certainly an interesting detail demonstrating a private company - government entanglement. Beyond that how about the fact the FBI never did a forensic analysis of the hardware/servers and exclusively relied on the words of the DNC's hired IT security firm (CrowdStrike).
Another example - while not a debunking - Aaron Mate has written and covered the senate's Intel committee's review of the 2016 election. in his writing he points out the most widely shared meme from the IRA (the "russian troll farm") was a Yosemite Sam image about cancel culture - source: https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/russiagate-elections-interference/
Finally - again while not a debunking, but a simple fact that got overpowered in the hyped up trump russia collusion conspiracy was that a facebook exec pointed out - most of the "russian ad spending" took place AFTER the election - source: https://twitter.com/robjective/status/964680123885613056
there are many other instances like these which may help provide even more context about the intense propaganda campaign waged by the MSM and intel communities over the past 5 yrs. that said, I appreciate you have to draw a line somewhere or it will be too voluminous.
The finger pointing is INTENSE, but they forget: When they point the finger, they have THREE pointing back at them.
In this case, it's not inconceivable that the Us intelligence agencies are responsible for even more than three time the "misinformation" and outright lies, thereby molesting the electoral process from beginning to end.
Only the most deluded can pretend that these "good guys" won't one day use the same immense apparatus on them and to devastating ends.
I'm sure that actual Nazis were nervous as well... because they knew that the same grease wizards could, at the whim of some bureaucrat, make them disappear as well.
We've already taken the plunge as a nation, and we're under water here.
Next stop: rounding up dissidents and forcing them into re-education camps.
I have been waiting for this for a while. I was hoping you or Aaron write a book about it.
Here's an article from today.
This seems like the height of irresponsibility in journalism. The New York Times attempts to inoculate itself against the charge of being fake news by mentioning about five paragraphs into the story that the Biden administration provided no evidence. You can probably add this story to your list. Sad that the list continues to grow even four years after the initial, faked accusations.
So, let me get this straight:
According to the Mueller report, in the spring of 2016, George Papadopoulos (Trump campaign volunteer) happens to bump into Joseph Mifsud (a professor from Malta) who supposedly has Kremlin connections. He tells Papadopoulos that he has dirt on HRC in the form of emails, and Papadopoulos says he's interested. A couple months later, in June, the DNC "hack" is announced. Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat who happened to witness this meeting and overheard the conversation between GP and JM, sees the news coverage and decides that maybe what he heard has something to do with this story. He reports it to the FBI, which then starts to surveil Papadopoulos.
At some point, it becomes clear that Papadopoulos is a dead end, completely invalidating the predicate upon which this whole investigation was launched. After all, how could GP be a dead end if he has this link to the Kremlin (Mifsud)? Clearly, something is off. Mifsud was never capable or willing to be this Russian connection. If he was, they would have gotten their smoking gun by surveilling GP (and by extension, Mifsud).
So they leave GP alone, and start surveilling Carter Page based on a fraudulent FISA warrant that conveniently leaves out the fact that Page was dutifully informing the CIA anytime some shady, big-shot Russian official inappropriately approached him. In other words, Page was basically a CIA informant, not a Russian asset. The CIA informed the FBI, but someone doctored the email to make it appear as if they were giving the FBI the "all clear."
At some point, the FBI decides to hire a British spy named Christopher Steele. Steele had formerly been paid by Trump's opponents to dig up dirt on him, and was sourcing some of his material (if I recall correctly) to various Russians, including one with actual Kremlin connections. The FBI finds out this guy is a complete joke, but that doesn't stop them from telling the press how amazing and credible he is. As confirmed by the IG's report, the entire Steele Dossier is finally exposed to be complete bullshit, even revealing that the infamous "pee tape" to which Maddow devoted so much airtime was based on nothing more than a random comment made "in jest."
Then there's the 2016 ICA (Intelligence Community Assessment) alleging that it certainly was Russia that hacked the DNC, that it was ordered directly by Putin, and that it was specifically meant to help Trump and hurt HRC's chances. First, we're told it's 17 agencies that all unanimously agree. Then we find out it's 4 (DNI, CIA, FBI, NSA), but actually just a few handpicked individuals from each, mostly directed by CIA director John Brennan and supervised by DNI Clapper. Then we find out that not even the handpicked individuals all agreed, and that Brennan overrode the dissenters in favor of a (still unidentified, possibly nonexistent) source inside the Kremlin. (Google the shady history of John Brennan and James Clapper. The fact these two had their hands on it should immediately call all of this into question.)
Still, for years, we are told that it is an indisputable fact that Russia is behind the hack. As it turns out, Crowdstrike President Sean Henry's testimony revealed that he didn't even have "direct evidence" of data leaving the server, which begs the question: How can one know who stole a thing if they can't even tell that thing was stolen? Additionally, Crowdstrike never even turned over the servers (you know, the scene of the crime) to the FBI. That's especially troubling considering the myriad conflicts of interest represented by Crowdstrike including, but not limited to, the fact that they were hired by the DNC.
(Note: I can only speculate, but I assume the DNC really needed this to be a hack, not a leak. If it's a hack by Russia, then it can be framed as an assault on our democracy by an external enemy. To talk about what the "hack" exposed then is to aid and abet that enemy on their attack on America. How convenient. A leak, on the other hand, would possibly indicate that someone in their own organization was so disgusted by the corruption or whatever they saw that their conscience demanded them to tell the world about it. That's a bad look.)
Then finally, Assange, one of the main suspects in this whole alleged conspiracy to swing the election, to undermine our very Democracy itself (according to the fearmongers), is never interrogated. Not once. In the investigation of the century - supposedly meant to to find out if the POTUS conspired with a foreign adversary - not a single person bothered interviewing the #1 suspect that allegedly linked the Trump campaign to the Kremlin. On what planet to investigators decline to question lead suspects?
Is there any part of this that wasn't a complete scam? It seems like the only thing they have is the "if it is what you say it is" email, which we later found out was sent to some nobody-grifter posing as a Russian gov't big-shot. I'd say that pales in comparison to Hillary and the DNC hiring a foreign agent (Steele) to dig up dirt which was sourced to other foreigners in an adversarial country.
Matt, I guess I can keep posting this about #7, but it seems high time that you include it. The Dutch intelligence services WATCHED the Russians hack the DNC. They saw Russian military/intel senior leaders enter the facility and giving direction. The American Intel agencies had this info. It was reported on by trustworthy third parties. It was even reported that the Dutch were pissed off that the Dem-leaning Intel folks used this info for political advantage in the single-purpose reports.
(Those reports also left out that they also tried and failed to hack the RNC and successfully hacked Colin POwell and released negative info from his comments about Trump, but when data don't fit a narrative, the memory hole gets a little wider).
"I saw it on the nightly news, so it must be true!" has become the same as "well, I read it on the internet," from my high school days.
In other words, the MSM is garbage.
I think the media and the FBI's scurrilous efforts to misdescribe information from a bunch of freelancers as official foreign intelligence also merits mention. Christopher Steel was not then a member of MI6 but his information was frequently mischaracterized by people who knew better as U.K. intelligence. The FBI referred to Steele information as Crown material, misleadingly suggesting it was an official foreign government product. But the actual MI6 assessed Steele's information as incorrect and told the U.S. government as much. That assessment is almost nowhere mentioned in mainstream U.S. media. The same thing is true of the Downer (or more likely Erika Thompson) information. Downer's report to the U.S. state department was consistently mischaracterized as a warning or notice from a 5 Eyes member. In fact, it was a completely unofficial communication and just like with Steele, the actual Australian intelligence services when notified first by Downer assessed the information as little more than speculative internet gossip. But even as late as Mueller's congressional testimony you still had media and Mueller himself describing the information as FFG (friendly foreign government) information. It was transparently an attempt to give official credence to unofficial claims and media rarely if ever reported the actual views of these foreign intelligence services despite being obviously more newsworthy.