Here’s the thing about Russian propaganda: they are very, very good at what they do. The Russian book of dirty tricks has surely only expanded and been brought to new depths of depravity under ex-KGB honcho Vladimir Putin. The people implementing the dirty tricks in play these days are not afraid to stoop to levels of dishonesty and incitement that are truly disturbing.
It’s quite amazing, really, when you stop to consider the way the “Russia hacked the election” narrative and the anti-Trump hatred at its heart is playing out. For one thing, there is still no solid proof of these allegations to this day, some five months following the election. Nothing has been presented by any intelligence agency, nor by any member of either the House or Senate intelligence committees, nor by any reporter, nor by anyone else that in any way comes close to establishing the veracity of such a claim.
The phrase “fake news” has come to signify everything from foreign intelligence-created propaganda, to partisan bias in reporting, to paid sock-puppet tweet-storming, to Macedonian teens manufacturing Buzzfeed-clickbait stories, to simply anything with which the speaker of the phrase disagrees. But what is undeniable is that the current prominence of the term came about as a result of a hugely controversial news piece published in Sullivan’s very own Washington Post in the wake of the election in November of 2016.
An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp’s contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources. Friends of that political campaign paid for this anonymous hearsay material, shared it with American journalists and urged them to publish it to gain an electoral advantage. But this campaign was not Donald Trump’s; it was Hillary Clinton’s.