Wed, Apr

Republicans Push Russian Disinformation


GELFAND’S WORLD - The right wing in this country has been trying to deal with Donald Trump's clear and obvious corruption by pointing the finger at the Biden family. The evidence has always been weak to nonexistent, but there was a suggestion that there existed, somewhere, a witness. We even got a suggestion of the identity of that witness, one Alexander Smirnov, who -- it was claimed -- would testify to millions of dollars being paid to Hunter Biden and to Joe Biden. This was supposedly so that the Bidens would help in covering up shenanigans being perpetrated by other corrupt actors overseas. 

The whole thing blew up a few days ago, when the special prosecutor (originally appointed by none other than Donald Trump) had Smirnov arrested. 

The story is that Smirnov has been providing fabricated information, and that the source is none other than the Russians -- Russian intelligence agencies to be specific. You can see one summary, authored for CNN by Hannah Rabinowitz and Cheri Mossburg, here

Quoting from that story: 

"Prosecutors also said Alexander Smirnov has been 'actively peddling new lies that could impact US elections' after meeting with Russian spies late last year and that the fallout from his previous false bribery accusations about the Bidens continue[s] to be felt to this day.” 

The story rapidly unfolded. You can read another summary from Democratic Party leaning DailyKos here

It's no secret that Trump has been trying to point the finger away from his own indictments by claiming that Joe Biden is crooked. It's not surprising that Trump continues to engage in full scale projection, but we might have expected better from at least some folks on the Republican side. 

The Right Wing coverup of their own lies 

And that is the other big story this week: The right wing (aka "right wing noise machine") continues to peddle the New Big Lie about the Bidens in spite of the new information. In a column for Reliable Sources by Oliver Darcy and reprinted by CNN, the continued bad behavior by Fox News is explored here. The author argues: 

"Days after explosive bribery claims about President Joe Biden came ripping apart at the seams, Fox News and the broader MAGA Media universe have declined to walk back their factually-challenged narrative. 

"Instead, unscrupulous right-wing media figures have stuck by their corruption claims against Biden, which permeated the conservative information space to such a degree that they spawned Republican-led investigations on Capitol Hill and fueled an eventual impeachment inquiry against the sitting president." 

Talking Points Memo, a serious and credible source on the liberal side, referred to "Russia's staggering success in duping willing Republicans and right wing media," which you can read here

And finally, Kevin Drum, in a nod to an old line from the Watergate hearings, asks "What did Republicans know and when did they know it?" You can read it here

It's not been a secret that Fox News and the bulk of talk radio are oriented towards electing conservative Republicans. They brag about it. But they haven't exactly admitted that in so doing, they have become the mouthpieces for Vladimir Putin and the new Russian Empire. What once was a habitual and reflexive animosity towards all things Russian has been completely inverted. The stakes are extraordinary, not only in terms of our own future, but in terms of whether Ukraine will emerge from the current war as a free country. 

It's time for those who are truly patriotic to reject this embrace of Russian tyranny, and instead embrace accurate reporting and democracy. 

(Bob Gelfand writes on science, culture, and politics for CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected].)