Although obviously not an avid reader or fan of Southfront, Michael Tracey’s concise post of April 16th very clearly captures the irony and hypocrisy of the latest round of sanctions announced by the Biden administration. The allegations of “influencing” or “interfering” in the U.S election process that undermined the public’s trust in the process was actually carried out on a daily basis by right-leaning corporate media such as Fox News or Newmax. Not to mention corporate media’s total censorship of the New York Post’s story on the infamous Hunter Biden laptop. Why were none of these entities sanctioned? Even ignoring the fact that Southfront barely reported on the U.S. presidential elections at all, it is hard to miss the utter hypocrisy of the administration’s selective finger-pointing. By pointing out that Southfront is an “obscure” ( yes, we do not have the viewership of many corporate media sites) and “amateur” website (we are a volunteer, non-profit organization), Michael Tracey further highlights the utter absurdity of the allegation that Southfront somehow influenced the electoral process of one of the most powerful nations on the planet.
Written by Michael Tracey. Originally published at mtracey.substack.com
Deliberately vague weasel-word terms like “election interference” and/or “influence” gained such purchase in the past four-to-five years for a simple reason: the deliberate vagueness allowed people in power — elected officials, pundits, Intelligence Community functionaries — to claim unspecified expertise on a supposedly emerging range of threats.
So there was nothing new about the suite of anti-Russia charges promulgated Thursday by the US federal government, and parroted as usual with maximum credulity across the US media ecosystem. The charges were again predicated on the idea that Russian “interference” and/or “influence” is an extremely foreboding test for the survival of US Democracy. Taking bold action, the Treasury Department levied sanctions against a bunch more Russians for their claimed nefarious behavior in carrying out this interference/influence — a fulfillment of Joe Biden’s oft-stated campaign pledge that under his watch, Russia would finally “pay a price” for allegedly engaging in such activities. Donald Trump, it was thought, had been appallingly lax in his resolve to confront this threat; now, a new sheriff is in town.
Leaving aside the question of whether it’s prudent to assume that Janet Yellen is suddenly in possession of a foolproof methodology for attributing the provenance of “cyber operations” to specific foreign individuals and nation-states, it’s worth emphasizing what exactly is being alleged in the statement. The Treasury Department document reads: “Outlets operated by Russian Intelligence Services focus on divisive issues in the United States, denigrate US political candidates, and disseminate false and misleading information.”
Noting that these same characteristics could be just as easily applied to US corporate media outlets is so blindingly self-evident as to almost be redundant. Were there not “outlets” during the 2020 election that were “focused” on “denigrating” Donald Trump? Or for that matter, Joe Biden? Do “divisive issues” not tend to be “focused on” by these same outlets as a basic precept of their core business model?
Controversy = clicks/views, which equals revenue.
Everyone knows this.
Yet when scary Russian outlets are said to employ this same logic in their own content-production enterprises, it magically becomes dangerous enough to justify all manner of punitive government and corporate action. Including but not limited to: censorship purges, tighter regulation of online speech, and, as Biden announced Thursday, sanctions and expulsion of diplomats. “Disseminating false and misleading information”? The entire US media just got caught “disseminating” a fake story about Russians putting bounties on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan. If you’re truly concerned about the dissemination of “false and misleading information” having deleterious effects on the health of US political culture, your first target should be CNN.
One of these supposedly-scary Russian “outlets” identified by the Treasury Department is the website SouthFront. (Gee, way to give them far more publicity than they could’ve possibly generated on their own. I’m sure more than .001% of Americans had heard of this obscure website before this week.) SouthFront is alleged to have committed the grave crime of having “sought to promote perceptions of voter fraud” after the 2020 election. I wrote extensively at the time about how the “perceptions of voter fraud” promoted by Trump and his media allies were mostly ill-founded, overblown, and illogical, and it’s true that consumers of fraud-obsessed media coverage often became more-than-a-little deranged. But that’s not the point: the point is whether or not promoting these theories constitutes some sort of terrifying “interference” that requires a forceful punitive response. In which case, the entirety of US right-wing media could be deemed as complicit, requiring vast state-backed retaliation (which may well be the long-term goal). Promoting ill-founded perceptions of political events might be bad, but it doesn’t generally rise to the level of Democracy-Threatening Existential Crisis unless you have some other motivation for raising it to that level.
In any event, Biden declared a “national emergency” with respect to this vague threat, on the ground that Russia had violated the “sacred” nature of US presidential elections by way of these website postings — even though the criteria invoked would apply to an infinitely wide array of US “outlets” that do exactly the same thing. Nonetheless, it’s henceforth an “emergency” to be on the lookout for irrelevant amateur websites like SouthFront. (Aside: Does anyone really view as “sacred” America’s multi-year presidential election rituals, into which billions of unregulated dollars are poured? Most Normies seem to be actively disdainful of presidential election melodrama and the attention/resources these rituals consume, rather than worshipful of their “sacredness.”)
In his remarks, Biden also introduced what is possibly an even vaguer term than “interference” or “influence” to describe this horrifyingly ever-present threat: Russia, he alleged, was guilty of “engagement in our elections.” And again, this “engagement” was said to consist of Russian Government-backed websites publishing posts about issues related to the 2020 US presidential election.
So now we have an official “national emergency” declared vis-a-vis Russia’s conduct in orchestrating website posts, which has in turn been lumped into another “emergency” that apparently encompasses the ongoing escalation of conflict in Eastern Ukraine — a geopolitical domain Joe Biden has always taken a keen interest in. And this is largely being received not as an ominous development in US relations with a nuclear-armed power, but instead as a cheerful sign that the US has returned to asserting its rightful global dominance.
One neat trick of this whole rhetorical framework is that foreign “interference,” “influence,” and “engagement” will obviously never be completely curtailed, especially if these things consist of internet postings. Therefore, the framework authorizes a perpetual war-like footing against Russia (or whatever country is next in the line of sight) which is especially convenient if you are interested in waging a New Cold War to garner whatever benefits (political, military, economic) you calculate comes with doing so. The rationale for keeping this ridiculous tit-for-tat going in perpetuity is clear — but don’t expect much clarity on that score from the US media, which always takes delight in blaming scary foreign entities for partaking in the exact same Democracy Undermining behavior that it’s guilty of itself.
Only people affected by partisan cretinism, and sadly that’s most people around, pay so much attention to the things filthy scum such as Trump or Biden say rather than to what terrorist Ziocorporate globalism, which isn’t centred in the US only, does on a global scale.
Does the US Zioterrorist media report that Russian PM Mishustin was simulating cyberwarfare scenarios with Klaus Schwab and the WEF lot, whom Biden sees as gurus on “climate change”, “social justice”, “human rights” and, more importantly in this post-plandemic adjustment of the New World Order, the “fusion of people’s physical and digital identities”? Certainly not.
Then again, if people believed a Ziocorporate puppet like Trumpet who did nothing against terrorist Ziocorporate globalism, besides acknowledging it exists as the so-called “deep state”, is an “anti-deep state” champion, getting distracted by Biden’s bullshit will be even easier.
Putin and Xi’s terrorist Ziocorporate globalist partners will find little resistance from Russia and China as long as their Russian and Chinese brands of corporatism can keep doing business with the Western Zioterrorists after the “4th industrial revolution”.
Shy, you toot a good toot, but people get bored of the same message being forced down their throats, whether on the guardian, or here.
Just enjoy that you understand, perhaps, a little more than us – and also that we agree with you mostly.
Just discuss the small picture, and enjoy ranting about the big picture when someone asks – or you will burn out! ;)
Thanks for the concern, but if discussing fake dichotomies like “Putin vs the West” or “Biden vs Russia” won’t burn you out, I won’t be either. On the contrary, the resulting cognitive dissonance used to defend partisan idiocy is gold.
I’m sorta with you – I agree Putin doesn’t acknowledge the holohoax for example, but then there is the fact that Russia has no revisionist history to speak of, and that he is, still, a boomer, so who knows. (and maybe it just isn’t a smart move for the media environment. I had a friend’s birthday two days ago, we talk politics a lot, and whilst I mostly stay silent, after a few drinks and some time I disputed the holocaust.. they know I’m a non-violent kinda guy, so they didn’t curse me or anything, but I did leave 5 minutes later, because they were just dumbfounded that I could possibly present the opposite point of view!)
The argument that he plays the long game is old, and it is getting tiring for most people – me too. At some point you gotta stand up. Let’s see Wednesday. He doesn’t directly need to speak out against the Zionists – just being frank to the US would be enough, since that is the puppet that the Zionists use as their enforcer.
Putin strikes me as a very careful strategist, perhaps too tame, perhaps too cautious, but certainly not a fool, nor someone bought. On that last part, we can debate, but I don’t see it. He is an appeaser, and that word is unpopular since the late 1930s – but what is he to do if he doesn’t want to crush skulls and walk over spines?
At some point you gotta stand up”, really? Why?
Sorry to be the one to tell you, but Putin is neither a dragon-slayer or a truth-teller. Putin is a defender of Russia and Russian interests in our world. It is this fact that will forever frustrate and disappoint commenters like you and shylockracy.
“Shylockracy” is another paid shill that comes here to smear Putin.
These projections of the USA/Israel onto Russia/China are ridiculous.
CIA paid shill.
If I’m not mistaken it was F. Nietzsche saying: when you look into the abyss you will find that it is the abyss to watch you. When an American looks carefully in the mirror he will only see BS. And yes the latest American elections have been a scam, but even the ones before and those even before, all were a scam, only those who earn by the electoral scam says the opposite.
Hey, the biden admin are trying to build fuaci into some kind of gun crime expert. He has been getting it badly wrong all his professional life. So why not go the whole hog and have Yellen as a cyber security expert? Worse things have happened, and are due to happen.
The whole sorry lot cannot believe they have pushed so far.
200 Jews in the senate/congress of the USA.
It’s һаrd to find eduсated pеople about this subјect, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks