Russiagate as Organized Distraction

Who benefits from having the corporate media suffocate their public with a puerile narrative for over two years?

By Oliver Boyd-Barrett, of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, and cross-posted from Consortium News.

For over two years Russiagate has accounted for a substantial proportion of all mainstream U.S. media political journalism and, because U.S. media have significant agenda-setting propulsion, of global media coverage as well. The timing has been catastrophic. The Trump administration has shredded environmental protections,jettisoned nuclear agreements, exacerbated tensions with U.S. rivals and pandered to the rich.

In place of sustained media attention to the end of the human species from global warming, its even more imminent demise in nuclear warfare, or the further evisceration of democratic discourse in a society riven by historically unprecedented wealth inequalities and unbridled capitalistic greed, corporate media suffocate their publics with a puerile narrative of alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

The Russiagate discourse is profoundly mendacious and hypocritical. It presumes that the U.S. electoral system enjoys a high degree of public trust and security. Nothing could be further from the truth. The U.S. democratic system is deeply entrenched in a dystopian two-party system dominated  by the rich and largely answerable to corporate oligopolies; it is ideologically beholden to the values of extreme capitalism and imperialist domination. Problems with the U.S. electoral system and media are extensive and well documented

U.S. electoral procedures are profoundly compromised by an Electoral College that detaches votes counted from votes that count. The composition of electoral districts has been gerrymandered to minimize the possibility of electoral surprises. Voting is dependent on easily hackable corporate-manufactured electronic voting systems. Right-wing administrations reach into a tool-box of voter-suppression tactics that run the gamut from minimizing available voting centers and voting machines through to excessive voter identification requirements and the elimination of swathes of the voting lists (e.g. groups such as people who have committed felonies or people whose names are similar to those of felons, or people who have not voted in previous elections).

Even the results of campaigns are corrupted when outgoing regimes abuse their remaining weeks in power to push through regulations or legislation that will scuttle the efforts of their successors. Democratic theory presupposes the formal equivalence of voice in the battlefield of ideas. Nothing could be further from the reality of the U.S. “democratic” system in which a small number of powerful interests enjoy ear-splitting megaphonic advantage on the basis of often anonymous “dark” money donations filtered through SuperPacs and their ilk, operating outside the confines of (the somewhat more transparently monitored) electoral campaigns….

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