According to the prevailing claim, Russian president Vladimir Putin stole the election on behalf of Trump. Trump is not truly a US president, it seems. He’s Russia’s placeman in the White House – a Moscovian candidate.
Clinton’s allegations, of course, did not arrive in a vacuum. For weeks the CIA and other intelligence agencies have been making evidence-free claims that Russia was behind the release of embarrassing emails from the Democratic party leadership. But either way, what is being overlooked in the furore is that none of the information that has come to light about the Democratic party was false. The emails are real and provide an accurate account of the Democratic party’s anti-democratic machinations, including efforts to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s challenger.
If Russia did indeed seek to influence the election by releasing truthful information that made Clinton and her allies look bad that would be far more legitimate interference than the US has engaged in against countless countries around the globe. For decades the US has been actively involved in using its military might to overthrow regimes in Latin America and the Middle East. It has also compromised the sovereignty of innumerable states, by sending killer-drones into their airspace, manipulating their media and funding colour revolutions.
The NSA is not archiving every bit of digital information it can lay its hands on for no reason. The US seeks global dominance, whether the rest of the globe wants it or not.
The media have suddenly woken up to the supposed threat to western democracies posed by ‘fake news’. The implication is that it was ‘fake news’ that swept Trump to power. A properly informed electorate, on this view, would never have made such a patently ridiculous choice as Trump. Instead, Clinton would have been rightfully crowned president.
‘Fake news’, of course, does not concern the systematic deceptions promoted by the corporate media. It does not include the demonstrable lies – like those Iraqi WMDs – spread by western governments and intelligence agencies through the corporate media. It does not even refer to the press corps’ habitual reports – demonstrating a seemingly gargantuan gullibility – that take at face value the endless state propaganda against Official Enemies, whether Cuba, Venezuela, Libya or Syria. Or Russia and now Trump.
No, ‘fake news’ is produced only by bloggers and independent websites, and is promoted on social media. Those peddling ‘fake news’ are writers, journalists and activists whose pay packets do not depend on continuing employment by western state-run media like the BBC, billionaire proprietors like Rupert Murdoch, or global corporations like Times-Warner.
It is worth noting that the leaked Democratic emails, whether the leaking was done by Russia or not, were certainly not ‘fake news’. They were documented truth. But the leaks are being actively conflated with ‘fake news’.
But the claim of ‘fake news’ does usefully offer western security agencies, establishment politicians and the corporate media a powerful weapon to silence their critics. After all, these critics have no platform other than independent websites and social media. Shut down the sites and you shut up your opponents.
The campaign against a Trump presidency will exploit claims of foreign, hostile interference in the US election as a pretext to crack down on homegrown dissent. Putin is not waging a war on US democracy. Rather, US democracy is proving itself increasingly inconvenient to those who expect to dictate electoral outcomes.
This article has been excerpted from: ‘Clinton’s Defeat and the Fake News Conspiracy’.