The Putin Network
Saying Russian hacking had nothing to do with the outcome of the U.S. election is like saying sexting other women had nothing to do with Anthony Wiener's political career. The former New York congressman may well have botched things all on his own, but revelations about penile postings — including messages allegedly sent to a minor — certainly put the nail in the coffin.
Most rational U.S. politicians — and there are scant few — realize the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 election is frighteningly unprecedented. Yet Donald Trump's apologists seem more intent on digressing from the central point — none more than Trump himself.
That Russian president Vladimir Putin's meddling was intentional and far reaching is unassailable, as anyone who's read the intelligence report released Jan. 6 would know.
Perhaps the most ironic section of the report, however, are the pages dealing with Russian TV, abbreviated as RT. This international service is not simply funded by the state, as is Canada's equivalent, but is run by the state as a propaganda organ to deliberately spin news and opinion on world events in Russia's favour. It is inextricably tied to the regime:
This is the alarming implication of the Trump team's relentless attacks on traditional media. Trump describes media coverage he doesn't like as biased, dishonest, in bed with his enemies. Yet RT, one supposes, is the kind of media approach he would prefer, at least while he is in power — one that is not only sympathetic to the presidency, but beholden to it. Taking its cues from the Kremlin, RT has dutifully defended Trump before and since the election.
How long this delusion can go on is anyone's guess. Even when regular news coverage finally started calling out his lies during the 2016 campaign — much too late in the game — Trump's base still took him at his word. There's little sign of that diminishing so far this year.
The movement to discredit honest journalism is well underway. Will it soon give way to the era of Trump TV?
An alarming thought.