23 Mar 2017    23,496 views

Rachel Maddow Just Kicked The Gaslighting Campaign Against Berners Into Fifth Gear

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You THINK you hated Hillary, but actually you were tricked into thinking that by Vladimir Putin.

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I’m noticing a pattern here. It goes like this: First, some pro-establishment corporate media outlet publishes an unsubstantiated claim featuring a headline that is designed to make that unsubstantiated claim sound factual. The claim gets some traction but isn’t picked up by other mainstream outlets that want to preserve their appearance of journalistic integrity. Second, Rachel Maddow picks up the fact-free story, reports it as fact, and then proceeds to jack those unfounded claims as far out into the stratosphere as she can throw them, far beyond the  original baseless claims' wildest ambitions. Third, once Maddow has reported the false claim as fact, it is absorbed as doctrine by the rest of the mainstream media, who now feel comfortable reporting on the claim as though it is something factual and not a complete fabrication, and before long you’ve got Democratic leaders regurgitating the establishment lies on national television.

We saw this pattern reemerge recently with Maddow putting a massive spin on an unsubstantiated Buzzfeed article featuring the completely groundless claim that WikiLeaks selectively curated its DNC leaks in a way to make the DNC look bad, and now we’ve got people like former DNC head Donna Brazile going around repeating the claim as though it has some basis in reality. We saw it again when Maddow spun the hell out of an already heavily-spun article by the CIA-funded Washington Post claiming the Trump camp “gutted” the GOP’s position on protecting Ukraine from Russia, when in reality the change made to the Republican platform regarding Ukraine was actually more aggressive in its language than its predecessor and expanded possible actions to be taken against Russia beyond merely arming the Ukrainian military. It was a complete fabrication by WaPo and Maddow, but Congressman Adam Schiff even repeated the claim as though it was factual in his statement at Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing. Schiff also made use of Christopher Steele’s embarrassingly error-riddled and uncorroborated Pissgate dossier in his statement, which Maddow has been telling her viewers provides evidence that Trump was blackmailed into pushing for the entirely fictional gutting of the GOP’s anti-Russia platform.

And now she appears to be ramping things up again, this time using a porous Huffington Post story built on nothing but anecdotal evidence which I won’t spend any time on because it’s already been thoroughly debunked here by progressive powerhouse Michael Sainato. According to Maddow’s delusional tirade, online communities for Bernie Sanders supporters were inundated with anti-Hillary fake news articles from places like Macedonia and Albania, which she says “turned social media into brainless anti-Clinton mush during the campaign.” Maddow argues that this "information warfare" from Russia deliberately hurt public opinion of Hillary Clinton, the implication being, of course, that it couldn't possibly have been because Clinton was a corrupt warmongering ghoul queen with no redeeming characteristics.

Employing her trademarked Gish Gallop fallacious argument tactic, Maddow then snowed her viewers with another completely separate report about the Russian government using bots (which she horrifyingly labeled “international warfare against our country") to circulate articles from Infowars, Breitbart, RT and Sputnik, without ever explaining how that in any way relates to the troll-circulated Macedonian clickbait referenced in the other article. Maddow uses this tactic constantly, by the way, overwhelming her viewers with rapid-fire arguments that are weak in themselves, but strung together with an authoritative tone and generous lashings of her famous Resting Smug Face to confuse the viewer into thinking they just listened to a persuasive case. That’s why you encounter so many people online who are extremely confident about the evidence for Russiagate, for example, but when questioned, they even seem to surprise themselves with their inability to articulate a solid line of thought to clearly back up that initial surge of confidence with facts.

Since Maddow’s spin on the HuffPo article is premised entirely on anecdotal evidence, I can counter with anecdotal evidence of my own. I was deeply involved in the Bernie groups on Facebook, and while I remember there being an abundance of clickbait articles, the majority of them were not fake news stories about Hillary Clinton. I remember seeing the clickbait pieces on Clinton having a body double after she collapsed at the 9/11 memorial, but I also remember seeing tons of clickbait with headlines promising readers that there was a way Bernie Sanders could still become president long after that door had closed, only to bombard them with ads for dick pills and toe fungus cures once they clicked. Most of the Macedonian clickbait that was designed to target Bernie Sanders supporters was, believe it or not, about Bernie Sanders. There were some about Trump and some about Clinton, but the Bernie ones enjoyed the widest circulation.

Gaslighting is a textbook tactic utilized by abusers all over the world in which the victim is convinced over time that they are unable to trust their own interpretation of reality due to some mental deficiency. If an abuser can convince his wife that she is misremembering and misinterpreting events, for example, he can get away with doing anything he wants to her and she’ll wind up not only staying, but apologizing for things she doesn’t remember ever doing. This is what is happening when Sanders supporters, after being used like toilet paper by the political establishment throughout the entire presidential election cycle, are told by a multimillionaire establishment pundit that the disdain they feel for the candidate who was illicitly forced upon them is just something fake that they were deceived into feeling.

How great will it be for the Democratic establishment if they can pull this one off, though? If they can convince rank-and-file Democrats that they didn’t just run an unbelievably incompetent campaign using a historically despised candidate they illicitly installed as their nominee, but rather acted perfectly only to be thwarted by the hypnotic allure of Russian propaganda? How much of a boon would it be to the Democratic party if they can convince their disenfranchised progressive base that their experience of being lied to, cheated, exploited and used by the party and its loyalists really was just the  “brainless anti-Clinton mush” that Rachel Maddow says it was? They’d never have to change. Never have to risk losing any of their cozy power positions to progressive newcomers or displeasing their corporatist donors with a shift to the left on economic justice. Everything could go right back to how it was before that annoying Sanders character came along and rocked the boat.

What’s infuriating is that we know from the emails that Hillary Clinton had virtually every mainstream media outlet at her beck and call. Podesta and his team were so confident of their maestro-like orchestration of the media they would casually note that they would “tell the press” to do their bidding. It was nothing for them to call in this journalist, give them an angle on a story and have them write it up, and then the journalist would check back with them before even giving it to their editor. Hillary Clinton’s team played the media like a cathedral organ, hitting whatever note they liked, whenever it suited them. They treated the media like it was Hillary’s own public relations team. That’s not a Maddow fact; that’s a real fact, documented in the emails

For Maddow to turn that around and now say that all of that power was nothing in the face of some Macedonian clickbait belting around the internet clogging up people’s screens with pop-ups, well… that’s a stretch even Jake the Dog would shy from. 

Sanders appealed because he spoke from his gut like a real human about real things that real people wanted. Hillary’s undoing was her sheer lack of policy, personality, integrity and humanity. Every tweet sounded like it was created by a team of thirty-something bespectacled and bearded hipsters, because it was. Every speech sounded empty of meaning and devoid of policy, because it was. Every appearance felt contrived, every spontaneous photo opportunity looked staged, every question asked from every audience member looked as phony as a Dance Moms’ group hug, because it was. And it all culminated in that ghastly Hunger Games-esque convention where half the audience of delegates were drowned out by white noise machines and hidden by large security guys holding Hillary signs while those on stage pulled every tragedy-vulture trick in the book to wring Munchausen levels of emotion out of every labored civil rights sequence.

And none of that had anything to do with Macedonian clickbait. We hated Hillary because she fucking sucked.




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