The New Blacklist

Russiagate may have been aimed at Trump to start with, but it’s become a way of targeting all dissent

By Matt Taibbi and cross-posted from Rolling Stone

Putin loves you; therefore, you love Putin. The enemy re-tweets you, therefore, you’re in league with the enemy. We’re at war with them, therefore we’re at war with you.

One of the first rules of a shunning campaign is that it doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to be what everyone’s saying. Since most Americans went to high school, we tend to be instinctively familiar with the concept.

The crazy inverse logic of the new national blacklist was on full display after special prosecutor Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian “troll farm” operatives in February. In the wake of this foreign meddling charge, CNN reporter Drew Griffin banged on the door of an elderly female Trump supporter named Florine Goldfarb and accused her of being a Russia-collaborator.

Goldfarb had attended a pro-Trump rally allegedly promoted on Facebook by Russian trolls. There were no Russians at the rally. The group didn’t meet to discuss the subjugation of Abkhazia. They were plain, ordinary, Floridian Trump supporters – idiots, maybe, but not traitors.

Not according to CNN.

“That group was Russians,” Griffin said accusingly.

“I had nothing to do with Russians,” the old lady said.

“Maybe you didn’t know it,” Griffin countered, “but you did.”

Nearly two years into the #Russiagate scandal, accusing people of being in league with Putin has become an almost daily feature of news coverage.

“Is it possible that we actually have a Russian agent running the House Intel Committee on the Republican side?” MSNBC anchor John Heilmann posited not long ago, referring to California congressman Devin Nunes.

The main source of the questions about Nunes was Hamilton 68, a website purporting to track the work of Russian social media bots in real time. An offshoot of the German Marshall Fund, the site represents an unpleasantly unsurprising union of neoconservative Iraq war cheerleaders like Bill Kristol and Beltway Democrats like would-be Clinton CIA chief Michael Morell

 

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