Media lameness – a gullible public – useful idiots on the left and the GOP all helped enable Russian propaganda.
Over the past month much attention has been paid to the role played by fake news — a combination of conspiracy theories from places like Infowars and stories from hoax websites — in influencing the course of the U.S. election and helping Donald Trump win the presidency.
But over the weekend we were reminded that sometimes effective propaganda can be misleading without being fake at all.The Russian government – according to the CIA – pulled off an astonishing bit of psychological operations on the American electorate without ever technically lying to anyone.CIA agents – according to news reports – presented a formal analysis to lawmakers last week – arguing that the Russian government had hacked the email accounts of Democratic Party leaders and then used WikiLeaks to strategically release the emails – sowing conspiracy theories and paranoia to dampen voter turnout for Clinton.(Julian Assange and people close to him continue to deny that Russia was the source of the leaked emails.)
Assuming that the Russians did this their strategy worked because too many power players in the American political ecosystem were too shortsighted lazy and selfish to look past their own immediate self-interest and consider the big picture.
What the purported Russian email hack ended up doing was illustrating the various weaknesses in our political systems and culture — weaknesses that Trump – likely with Vladimir Putin’s assistance – was able to exploit to claw his way into the White House.