The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, in an article Thursday, took a hammer to widespread reporting over the last week of Russia’s attempts to hack the election systems of 21 American states, the piece arguing for more skepticism on “the Russia story.”
Outlets like the USA Today, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, and the Associated Press went wild at the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that they, as Maddow put it, “knew at least by June that 21 states had been targeted by Russian hackers during the election … targeting their election infrastructure.”
In Greenwald’s words, “So what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was false.”
Greenwald goes on to describe the precipitous narrative collapse this entire story suffered Wednesday, as DHS was forced to equivocate and then backtrack on the dubious claim. The election authorities of California and Wisconsin hit back hard at the allegation they had been infiltrated by Russian cyber attacks.
With no evidence to support the original claims, DHS retracted them. In Wisconsin’s case, a Russian hacking attempt of the state’s election infrastructure became a “scan” of a state agency totally unrelated to the election. Like Russia stories before it, the 21 vulnerable state election authorities slide down the memory hole.
Greenwald works to establish the pattern of these stories, picked up with abandon by a news media and #resistance movement so eager for “Russia” content. He points to CNN’s demonstrably fake reporting of ten-day White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s profiting from a Russian-government tied investment fund that led to the resignation of three CNN employees. He brings up the Washington Post’s equally fake story about Russia’s hacking of the American electrical grid that he previously worked to debunk.
Greenwald begins to tear into the Russia hoax after overzealous report, writing:
Or the time that the Post had to publish a massive editor’s note after its reporters made claims about Russian infiltration of the internet and spreading of “Fake News” based on an anonymous group’s McCarthyite blacklist that counted sites like the Drudge Report and various left-wing outlets as Kremlin agents?
Or that time when Slate claimed that Trump had created a secret server with a Russian bank, all based on evidence that every other media outlet which looked at it were too embarrassed to get near? Or the time the Guardian was forced to retract its report by Ben Jacobs – which went viral – that casually asserted that WikiLeaks has a long relationship with the Kremlin? Or the time that Fortune retracted suggestions that RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN’s network? And then there’s the huge market that was created – led by leading Democrats – that blindly ingested every conspiratorial, unhinged claim about Russia churned out by an army of crazed conspiracists such as Louise Mensch and Claude “TrueFactsStated” Taylor?
“None of this means that every Russia claim is false,” Greenwald concludes, as he takes his colleagues in the media to task for their overeagerness to jump at every tidbit of “Russia” information that supports the great Russian hacking narrative, “but what it does demonstrate is that an incredibly reckless, anything-goes climate prevails when it comes to claims about Russia.”
Read Greenwald’s entire piece here.