Russiagate Is Making Everyone Stupid

The Guardian recently published an amazingly deceitful hit piece on skeptics of the establishment Syria narrative who point to the piles of evidence that the so-called White Helmets are nothing other than a western-backed propaganda firm for the destabilization efforts in Syria.

The piece is simultaneously shocking in the brazen amount of dishonesty a mainstream publication can pack into one little article, and entirely unsurprising in the tactics it uses. It follows a pattern which will be exhaustingly familiar to anyone who engages in online debate against establishment narratives with any regularity: it paints anti-establishment speakers as “Russian propaganda” simply because they advance opinions that run counter to western establishment interests, and cites “experts” to counter those opinions who are considered experts solely because their opinions are endorsed by the mainstream establishment. The message is never attacked, only the messenger, and the attacks are imbued with legitimacy solely because they are pro-establishment.

Brian Gerrish of UK Column News does an excellent job of picking apart the empty and circular reasoning-based arguments in the article, as well as documenting the shady evasiveness displayed by everyone who was involved in its writing:

We saw the exact same tactic used in NPR’s recent hit job on Lee Camp’s Redacted Tonight, attacking the show as Russian propaganda solely on the basis that it is aired on RT America despite the fact that everyone involved in its production are Americans who happen to espouse anti-establishment viewpoints. To support their attack NPR brought in neoconservative empire loyalist Julia Ioffe, who last month published a deceitful article in The Atlantic using doctored quotes to make it appear as though WikiLeaks attempted to cover up loyalties to the Russian government in conversations with Donald Trump Jr. Ioffe’s “expertise” was used to legitimize the assertions that Redacted Tonight is Russian propaganda and its staff are “useful idiots” of the Kremlin.

You can read Lee Camp’s brutal beatdown of Ioffe and NPR’s obnoxious smear segment here.

This is becoming the norm. Yesterday while debating someone I cited concerns about Russiagate voiced by Stephen Cohen, who is arguably America’s foremost authority on US-Russian relations. The guy I was arguing with dismissed Cohen as a Kremlin stooge, citing a handful of articles written by establishment loyalists whose sole evidence that Cohen was a Kremlin stooge was that he sides with Russian interests on a number of issues.

Obviously unless there’s some concrete evidence that Cohen has been bought and owned by the Kremlin there is no basis on which to accuse him of conducting psyops for the Russian government, and the fact that he sides with the Russian government on some issues means nothing other than that his expertise led him to those conclusions. But this happens every time I cite anything said by Cohen or any other expert whose perspectives vary from those advanced by the CNN mainstream.

It goes like this every single time:

Me: I disagree with that mainstream narrative.
Establishment Loyalist: On what basis?
Me: The testimony of this expert [shares an anti-establishment article from an anti-establishment expert].
Establishment Loyalist: That expert is a Kremlin stooge!
Me: Why do you say that?
Establishment Loyalist: [shares a pro-establishment article attacking the expert.]
Me: That article doesn’t prove anything. It’s an attack editorial on an anti-establishment expert on the sole basis that they advance anti-establishment opinions. Let me ask you this: what sources would you accept arguments from?
Establishment Loyalist: Uhh, how about reputable outlets that aren’t in Putin’s pocket?? CNN, Washington Post, New York Times!
Me: Those outlets are virulently pro-establishment! Of course they’re not going to run anything questioning the establishment narrative on [whatever issue we’re debating]! Are you seriously saying you’ll only accept anti-establishment arguments if they come from pro-establishment outlets?
Establishment Loyalist: If they share Kremlin talking points, it disqualifies them. If you don’t oppose Putin on every issue, you’re either a paid troll or a useful idiot.
Me: Wow, so you’re just slamming the brakes on this entire conversation then, huh? If I don’t agree with the CNN narrative, I’m a paid troll. If I can prove to you that I’m not a paid troll, I’m a useful idiot. There’s no possible way to break through this barrier in dialogue then, is there?
Establishment Loyalist: How many rubles are you getting paid per hour?
Me: Gah!!!

The establishment propagandists have shut down all dialogue and critical thinking by successfully advancing the narrative that everything they say is true and everything that contradicts what they say is Russian propaganda. By instilling a fear in their audience of all things Russian, any words that aren’t stamped with the approval of the western establishment are instinctively labeled Russian propaganda and therefore reflexively recoiled from. Using tactics exemplified in the above smear pieces by The Guardian and NPR, thinking has been killed. People have been turned into drooling, flag-waving idiots.

A new paradigm has been created wherein anti-establishment narratives are rejected by rank-and-file Americans not because of flawed arguments or factual inaccuracy, but solely because they are anti-establishment. The empire has created an impenetrable self-enforcing echo chamber, a mental prison of which their audience is their own wardens and guards. From that point they can weave any ridiculous ideas they like into the consciousness of mainstream media consumers, and it will be unquestioningly swallowed as gospel.

And of course, it keeps the spotlight fixated on Russia, which keeps their own manipulations in the darkness. How hilarious is it that the first time the word “oligarch” was allowed into mainstream consciousness, it was being applied to Russians? Russiagate ensures that no matter what happens with Mueller, nothing about the US power establishment will ever have to change. The problem has been moved overseas to a distant icy potato patch they control all narratives about, which keeps Americans from paying attention to the Orwellian horrors being inflicted upon them by their own government. Keep them fixated on Russian oligarchs, and they’ll never notice that they’re living in a totalitarian oligarchy themselves.

The more we fixate on Russia, the more stupid we become. The more stupid we become, the easier we are to manipulate and control. The easier we are to manipulate and control, the more we can be exploited without resistance by the Orwellian oligarchy that is the US power establishment. The more we can be exploited, the more powerful they become. And that’s what this whole game is ultimately about.


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I write about the end of illusions.

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Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone

I write about the end of illusions.

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