In the wake of New York Magazine's profile of Glenn Greenwald, we spent much of yesterday dissecting Greenwald's nonsense about the supposed lack of evidence for Donald Trump's collusion with the Russian government. As Bob Cesca wrote, it is important not to let intellectual bullies like Greenwald scold you into not believing Putin's war against America isn't real.
Bullying tactics are prevalent in far left circles, and their effects, particularly on young people, are deeply troubling. College students of voting age who have little life experience tend to be drawn to militancy (I know, I was one of them), and their reactionary thinking combined with this militancy can be incredibly destructive. In the age of Donald Trump, Breitbart, and Fox News, clear thinking and evidence based discourse is more important than ever, and serious efforts must be made to prevent misinformation and conspiracy theories from taking off.
Take for example, the rantings of Caitlin Johnstone, a far left activist based in Australia with a large, rabid following of likeminded conspiracy theorists. Johnstone (who hilariously attempted to sue us a few months ago), dedicates herself full time to spreading false information to her followers, and is becoming more unhinged by the day. Here she was laying into The Young Turks for their recent hiring of Dan Rather to host a weekly news show:
Last August I made a note of the fact that The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur had retweeted a fan who said that he gets his news from Uygur and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, because “they report the REAL NEWS.” I said at the time that this was Cenk’s way of officially formalizing TYT’s position as MSNBC’s ugly little sister.
Once a relatively reliable outlet for anti-establishment progressive values, TYT has been growing more pro-establishment by the day, joining Rachel Maddow in the relentless promotion of the Russiagate psyop, with Uygur even going so far as to predict ten months ago that the scandal could have President Trump out of office within six months. Since that time no evidence of collusion has been produced and Trump has devolved into a more aggressive anti-Russia hawk than his predecessor, effectively invalidating the entire premise of the scandal.
There is more madness contained in these two paragraphs than an hour long Sean Hannity screed -- a monumental achievement for someone with supposedly "progressive" values. Because Uygur retweeted something someone said about liking The Young Turks and Rachel Maddow, The Young Turks are now corporate sellouts propagating "psyops" (whatever that means). I've had my issues with Cenk Uygur and The Young Turks in the past, but Johnstone's screeching is, well, completely insane. Her aggressive rhetoric is deliberately designed to divide people -- you are either with Johnstone and her band of militant loons, or a CIA stooge dedicated to starting a new Cold War/neoliberal plan to dominate the world etc etc.
Johnstone's dogmatic insistence that "no evidence of collusion has been produced" despite the massive amounts of evidence of collusion that has been produced is symptomatic of professional far left and far right propagandists. Johnstone believes that by virtue of her saying something, it must be true. Why? Because her world view is the only valid one and inconvenient facts must be ignored in order to create the greater truth. Trump could publicly confess to colluding with Vladimir Putin to rig the 2016 election, and Johnstone still wouldn't acknowledge it. In her mind, shadowy CIA figures, Jeff Bezos, Hillary Clinton and the "Deep State" are responsible for all the ills in the world and nothing will ever convince her otherwise.
Fellow far left nutjob HA Goodman is also still a highly active conspiracy theory troll, following the comically stupid Fox News script that an indictment of Hillary Clinton for some unprovable crime is still imminent:
His twitter page is filled with maniacal anti Clinton posts, conspiracies theories about FBI secret societies and deleted yoga emails (yes, seriously):
This type of thinking seeps into the mainstream via social media and creates doubt and confusion in a society already deeply fractured by the polarized media system. This is why Russia chose to interfere in the US election by spreading conspiracy theories on Facebook and funding its rabidly anti-US news organization, RT. Create enough chaos in people's minds and anything becomes possible. Donald Trump becomes possible.
The narrative being pushed by the far left is not completely without merit. Glenn Greenwald has spoken about the alienation of millions of Americans from the political system in America, and has written much about the insidious effect of big money in politics. The US has historically interfered with many elections abroad and is not an innocent party in the ongoing conflict with Russia. However, this does not mean you can ignore hard evidence that supports the very obvious conclusion that Russia illegally interfered with the US election in 2016 and likely colluded with the Trump campaign team to do so. You can be opposed to US interference with elections abroad and opposed to Russia's interference with the US election at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive, and anyone claiming otherwise is not being intellectually honest.
The far left in America do not seem interested in saving their democracy from Donald Trump. They would rather watch it burn to the ground and point fingers at centrist Democrats (or the "neoliberals") for not being sufficiently radical enough to stop it. Given the failure of the far left to organize, well, anything, it's hard to see what their plan would be to rebuild for the future. In times of crisis, history has repeatedly shown that fascist, radical elements of society tend to gain power and create terrifying governments with little respect for the law or civil society.
To leave the future of Western civilization in the hands of thinkers like Glenn Greenwald, Caitlin Johnstone and HA Goodman is a truly frightening prospect. Their incessant stream of bullshit has to be countered every step of the way no matter how militant they are and how devoted their fans are becoming. Donald Trump and his government is nothing less than a fascistic movement bent on wrecking the foundations of American democracy, and the more the fringe left injects its paranoid conspiracy theories into the national discourse, the more damage Trump and his goons get away with. Greenwald and co. are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts and no one with a rational mind should be persuaded otherwise.