The New York Times has once again plumbed the bottom-feeding depths of journalism with an uncritical story on how the US hacked Russia’s power grid – without Trump’s knowledge. What could possibly go wrong?
Imagine the following scenario. You are home alone on a Friday evening, relaxing with your favorite TV series when suddenly the lights go out. Using the wall as your guide, you struggle to the kitchen to find some candles. On the way, you glance out the window. A mild panic takes hold as your brain processes the shocking scene: from your view atop a New York City high-rise not a single visible light can be seen aside from the twinkling of car headlights far below. The Big Apple, home to over 8.5 million people, has been plunged into a metallic sea of darkness.
And who would blame you? After all, for almost three years we’ve been bombarded with fake news about ‘Russiagate’ and meddling Russians. And just a few days earlier the New York Times – the hallowed ‘paper of record’ – reported that the United States had planted “crippling malware” inside of Russia’s power grid “with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before.” What would compel the saintly Americans to do such an insane thing? Why, because the Russians started it, of course.
The US public has been fed such a steady diet of anti-Russia rubbish for so long it has become almost impossible to keep track of the facts, of which there are, incidentally, very little. Readers may recall, for example, a similarly sensational story that ran in the, ahem, prestigious Washington Post back in 2016. It warned that a code associated with a Russian hacking outfit had been detected within the system of a Vermont power utility. There was just one problem with the claim. It was, as the Irish would say, a bunch of malarkey. Even Snopes rejected it. Yet, how many people do you think saw the ‘correction’ that now accompanies the revised article? It is safe to say precious few, which is precisely how propaganda works and why so many readers will accept the latest Times trash at face value.
The mainstream media consumer is inundated with a firehose of falsehoods to the point where he eventually gives up trying to separate fact from fiction. Out of sheer exhaustion he accepts the desired conclusion against his better instincts, in this case that Russia is the villain. Thus every deplorable and dangerous act against Russia is deemed acceptable, even reportedly sabotaging its power grid, an idea that was floating around before ‘Russiagate’ took center stage.
In 2016, the influential and very screwy ‘think tank’, the Atlantic Council, released a paper that actually called for Poland to ‘reserve the right’ to attack Russian infrastructure.
It deserves repeating that modern Russia has never committed a single act of aggression against Poland, or any other country, to warrant such an incredibly hostile and irresponsible declaration on the part of NATO members.
Quoting two anonymous administration officials, the Times reported that “intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.”
It would be hard to top that paragraph as far as anti-Trump screeds go. Not only does Trump have no idea what is happening inside of his own administration, as the report insinuates, but his intelligence officials don’t trust him with sensitive information. And the claim about Trump discussing a “sensitive operation in Syria” with Lavrov is laughable and was roundly rejected by officials in the room during the meeting. Once again, facts mean very little to outlets like the Times when it comes to reporting on their favorite antagonists, Russia and Trump, and even less as the critical 2020 presidential elections loom large on the horizon.
Tragically and possibly catastrophically, Russia now finds itself in the middle of this partisan passion play between the Democrats and Republicans. Although Moscow has genuinely behaved as the adult in the room throughout the entire ‘Russiagate’ hysteria, the latest incendiary piece by the Times has all the potential to do real damage to the bilateral relationship, or what’s left of it.
At the very least, the entire world should cross its fingers and hope that nothing untoward happens to the Russian power grid, accidentally or otherwise, because many people will fervently believe they already know the identity of the culprit.
That a publication like the once-venerable New York Times has the ability to create such tensions on the geopolitical front without a shred of evidence proves that the US mainstream media is completely out of control. Indeed, it’s become nothing less than a national security threat.