Dangers of Confusing Allegations with Facts

Guest commentary by Ron Forthofer.

On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks released about twenty thousand Democratic National Committee emails that demonstrated clear DNC bias against the Sanders campaign in the Democratic primaries. Although mostly ignored, the emails also showed a close relationship between mainstream media and the DNC.

Quickly diverting attention from the emails’ content, Clinton’s campaign manager reported some unnamed experts claimed that the emails came from Russian state actors and were released to help the Trump campaign. Allegedly Russia hacked both the DNC emails and thousands of John Podesta’s emails that revealed the problematic inner workings of the Clinton campaign.

Ever since then, the media has continued to push this alleged Russian hacking. This media blitz continued despite Dec. 12th and January 17th articles by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that strongly challenged the claim of Russian hacking. VIPS also stated the source of the emails was a leak by an insider. In addition, on January 4th, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, stated the Russian state was not the WikiLeaks source for the emails. Unfortunately, the media mostly ignored any sources that did not support its faith-based reporting.

Even some alternative and community media treated the allegations as fact. Although the Trump administration poses a frightening and serious risk to humankind, I question whether this threat justified the abandonment of professional standards. Trump, his administration and the Republican Party policies, particularly on health care and climate change, provide ample real evidence to the public about the risks his administration poses.

A side note — Netanyahu and Israel blatantly interfered in the 2012 US election, but there was little concern or outrage about that collusion, Why the difference?

There should be an independent investigation of the allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. However, even if an investigation were to show collusion, this would not excuse the lack of professionalism shown by too many in the media in their treatment of allegations as fact. It is also questionable whether or not evidence of collusion will be found or ever existed. Note that James Clapper, director of National Intelligence under Obama, Michael Morell, acting CIA Director in 2012-13, and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently admitted they had not seen any evidence of collusion so far.

This DNC approach is dangerous for Democrats as it prevents and delays a needed change of its support for neo-liberal economics that led to the election disaster. The approach also heightens animosity towards Russia among the US public, an animosity that could make the insane idea of a nuclear war with Russia acceptable.

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