The Media’s Narrative on Trump and Russia: How it Can Lead to War
The danger of the media’s biased framing of Russian hacking
By Daniel Song
The Progressive Teen Staff Writer
WEEKS AGO, DISGRACED FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER MICHAEL FLYNN was fired by Trump due to a leaked phone call with the Russian ambassador. The call was in regards to sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration in response to the alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails by the Russian government.
Many were celebrating Michael Flynn’s removal from the administration, citing concerns of links to Russia. Some on the left, like commentator Keith Olbermann, have even accused Trump of being a “puppet” of Vladimir Putin. These concerns are not unfounded, with the directors of National Intelligence, the CIA, as well as the Department of Homeland Security all confirming that Russia had indeed hacked the DNC as well as the Clinton campaign to help Trump win. However, recent history has showed us the dangers of trusting intelligence agencies when they blame a foreign government for having sponsored an attack against us.
What the intelligence community has repeatedly told us is that these emails were hacked by the Russians to deliberately influence our elections. In reality, these emails revealed damning information about Secretary Clinton’s campaign and the corruption of the DNC, in which a supposedly neutral institution held a heavy bias against opponent Bernie Sanders during the primary. This included Donna Brazile leaking town hall questions to Clinton as well as DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz pressuring the president of MSNBC to take actions against host Mika Brzezinski for criticizing her bias against Sanders. She called Brzezinski for an “apology” before telling Chuck Todd “this must stop.”
In reality, these emails revealed damning information about Secretary Clinton’s campaign and the corruption of the DNC, in which a supposedly neutral institution held a heavy bias against opponent Bernie Sanders during the primary.
Regardless of who did the hacking and what their motives were, the leak of these emails proved the wrongdoings of the DNC. It is highly likely that these emails are real because instead of denying their validity, DNC officials and Democratic partisans have laid blame on a foreign government. Furthermore, these leaks had minimal impact on national security. The US has a long history of conducting espionage on foreign governments, including our allies. The solution to foreign governments hacking our institutions is not to impose sanctions on them — it is to upgrade our security.
It is possible that the perpetrators of this hack were members of the Russian government. However, it is more probable that these hackers were not. Wikileaks itself has said they deny the role of the Russian government in this leak. The organization has not had to retract a single statement due to falsehood, claiming they have a “100% record of accurate authentication.”
In framing this, the mainstream media has done a terrible job. They have repeatedly accused Russia of “hacking the elections.” What comes to mind when hearing that phrase is that the Russian government physically hacked the voting booths to increase the vote count for Donald Trump. This is not true, and this is not what the intelligence community believes. Even so, 50% of Democrats believe that Russia physically tampered with vote tallies to aid Trump. Amazingly, there has been no evidence that shows the group that did the actual hacking has any connections to the Russian government. In fact, former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails were obtained through a simple phishing scam that a teenager could have accomplished. According to Sam Biddle of The Intercept, “This remains the enormous inductive leap that’s not been reckoned with, and Americans deserve better.” The article he wrote in December details all of the public evidence regarding Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
What comes to mind when hearing that phrase is that the Russian government physically hacked the voting booths to increase the vote count for Donald Trump. This is not true, and this is not what the intelligence community believes.
Going back to Flynn, his actions have been massively exaggerated by coverage of the media. It has been recently reported by CNN that the FBI does not expect to pursue charges against him, showing that presently, Michael Flynn did not do anything illegal. In addition, the sanctions he and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak had been discussing were in regard to the hacking that we have no evidence for. So no, this does not prove that Trump is a puppet of Russia, and the lifting of unnecessary sanctions should be commended as a necessary effort towards de-escalation. Indeed, Flynn has a number of concerning views, including being on the board of a designated hate group as well as believing we are in the midst of a holy war between Christianity and Islam. But knowing Trump’s history with the establishment shouting at him to do things and the size of his ego, further false cries of “traitor” and “treason” could prompt him to escalate to a proxy war in Syria or worse.
Moreover, there has been more media outrage over this phone call than there had been when Trump said he would kill the families of terrorists, which he did in his first raid that included many children as well as an 8-year old girl, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen who was killed in a drone strike. In conclusion, the Democratic Party and “the resistance” needs to drastically reform its priorities and focus solely on policy issues instead. The white working class that led to Clinton’s defeat were concerned about their jobs moving overseas and wage stagnation — not shadowy ties to Russia.
So, in what instance would accusations of “puppet-Trump” be more legitimate?
- Trump lifts sanctions not only for hacking, but for the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula as well. This could potentially pave the way for the annexation of more ex-Soviet states in the Baltic and Central Asia.
- The multi-billion dollar Exxon oil deal with Russia that was previously sanctioned becomes approved because Rex Tillerson, former Exxon CEO, is the Secretary of State.
Until then, it would seem that the Democratic Party is looking for excuses against Trump, despite him being the least adequately-equipped person to ever hold the office of the presidency in modern history. By focusing on policy issues like single-payer healthcare, a living minimum wage, the growing danger of climate change, and ending money in politics, the Democratic Party can obtain a landslide victory in the next midterm elections. It does not seem that the establishment Democrats are willing to do that, so a grassroots organization that is the left’s Tea Party desperately needs to do it for them, whether they like it or not.
By continuing on this path of identity politics and false outrage, America will undoubtedly see at least 8 more years of Trump, the alt-right, and the conservative establishment take over in all branches of government.