WASHINGTON, D.C.– For nearly a year, the most well-known news channels and publications have been rife with sinister images of Vladimir Putin and the Red Square “takeover” of the White House, all with the intention of fomenting the now thoroughly debunked narrative of Russian hacking and meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election.
Story after story of alleged Russian interference, otherwise known as “Russiagate,” has failed to generate sufficient evidence to persuade the majority of Americans of the narrative’s validity, with once prestigious publications even resorting to false claims and fabricated reporting in their attempts to do so.
Despite the enormity of the effort, most Americans – regardless of their opinion of Trump – remain unconvinced of the coup that never was, with a Harvard poll recently finding that 58 percent of voters feel that constant Russiagate coverage and special investigations are hurting the country by distracting politicians from other key issues.
Instead of convincing the Democratic establishment to actually address real issues that matter to most Americans, some Democratic politicians and pundits have instead decided to take their anti-Russia rhetoric to new extremes that frightfully echo the fearmongering of the Cold War era.
The most recent development in this dangerous escalation of McCarthyist rhetoric emerged last Friday, when Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that having a meeting with any Russian citizen is equivalent to having met directly with Russian military intelligence.
More specifically, he stated that “When you meet with any Russians, you’re meeting with Russian intelligence, and therefore Putin.” It would seem that for Quigley, all Russians – regardless of their background, profession or political opinions – work for Putin.
"When you meet with any Russians, you're meeting with Russian intelligence, and therefore Putin." — Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) today on CNN
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) July 14, 2017
New reports illustrate when you meet w/ Russians in an official capacity, you're also meeting w/ Russian Intelligence, and therefore Putin. pic.twitter.com/a82DtZx64O
— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) July 14, 2017
Quigley’s statements would be concerning enough if they were isolated. However, other key figures in the U.S. political establishment have also made recent statements characterizing all Russians as the antagonists of the Russiagate narrative.
For instance, this past May, the former director of National Intelligence – the representative of the U.S. intelligence community – stated that Russians are “typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever” in an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press.” Chuck Todd, the program’s host, didn’t even acknowledge the implications of Clapper’s concerning comment. Quigley is apparently in good company in his tendency to lump all Russians together as working for the “West’s public enemy number one,” Vladimir Putin.
-Lied under oath
-Thinks "USSR" when he hears "Russia"
-Claims Russians are genetically driven to subterfuge
Liberals love him
— Jones McFly (@ScienceHoffman) June 7, 2017
However, Quigley’s and Clapper’s comments pale in comparison to the dangerous rhetoric recently espoused by Paul Begala, a longtime Clinton ally and former advisor to Bill Clinton. Begala told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Wednesday that Trump should consider bombing Russia over its government’s alleged interference in the last election.
He stated that “We were and are under attack by a hostile foreign power. […] and… we should be debating how many sanctions we should place on Russia or whether we should blow up the KGB, GSU, or GRU [Russia’s foreign intelligence agency].” He continued: “If I was Trump, I would be mad because it has tainted his victory.”
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) July 13, 2017
Again, Begala’s assertion that the U.S. should go to war over unfounded claims of Russian hacking – for which there is still no evidence – did not seem to be considered out of line by Cooper, suggesting that such brazen calls for a devastating nuclear war are fair game in the current Russophobic climate of mainstream media and political discourse.
Indeed, for some U.S. newspapers, one does not even need to be a Russian or have any connection to the Russian government whatsoever to be considered a “Russian agent.” A recent article in the Washington Examiner called political commentator Marcus Papadopoulos a Russian agent, citing the following reasoning: he is a frequent guest on the Russia Today network; he does not support regime change in Syria and he is a figure in UK leftist politics.
This “assessment” is equally concerning, as any journalist who speaks to RT and does not toe the establishment line on regime change abroad can now be called a Russian agent by the national news media.
While it is hard to predict if anything concrete will come as a result of the steadily increasing anti-Russia hysteria in the U.S. news media and political establishment, the line between casting a country’s entire population alongside those who don’t support the establishment narrative as enemies of the state and taking real, drastic action is too thin for comfort.
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