As soon as the tears began drying on the floor of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City in 2016 — the place where Hillary Clinton’s bacchanalian victory party on election night was to take place — the lachrymose and angry started to come up with who had stolen this election.
Because indeed it had been stolen — there was no doubt about that among the Hillaristas and the rest of the assorted left. The only question among the left was what malefactor took the electoral victory that was so rightly theirs and gave it to … you know, that thing. Supposed ballot irregularities were the first culprit, but several recounts did nothing to change the results. Then came “fake news,” but reporting seemed to confirm it would be of limited impact.
Then came foreign interference — most notably from the direction of the Kremlin — and it all fit together.
Since the perfidious Russians and their satellites became the focus of all efforts to delegitimize the Trump administration, anything conservative with foreign ties has come under intense scrutiny, particularly when it comes to social media.
That even includes us. The Western Journal has been asked by both Facebook and BuzzFeed why one of the administrators of our Facebook page is from overseas. (That administrator, incidentally, is myself; I’ve lived in America for most of my life but reside abroad at present for reasons too lengthy to discuss here.) I’m sure other conservative websites have received similar treatment.
This is all, apparently, in the name of ferreting out foreign interference in journalism. A noble cause, to be sure — unless, of course, the same questions can be asked of you.
Take ThinkProgress. Please. </henny_youngman> The left-leaning website seems to have a minor obsession with Russian collusion, although any sort of foreign interference seems to suit its fancy.
Some sample headlines: “Former FBI agent details how Trump and Russia team up to weaponize fake news,” “Meet the newest country behind fake Facebook accounts: America” and “Why do all these Daily Caller reporters keep appearing on Russian propaganda channels?“
So, given that ThinkProgress is an American politics website, all of its social media administrators are in America — right?
Yes, one of its administrators is from the United Arab Emirates. What does this mean in practical terms? Probably zilch. Could be an expat, could be a contractor — there are a panoply of possible reasons for it.
However, were I a headline writer for ThinkProgress, I could probably get away with: “Is a top liberal website spreading fake news from a repressive Middle Eastern regime?”
Sure, I’d have to say the answer to that question would probably be no, but who cares?
Or let’s take Wonkette, that wonderfully potty-mouthed left-wing commentary website last culturally relevant when you could post links to the commentary from its writers on your MySpace wall. It still has a following, I guess, but it also has some <cue spooky music> strange foreign ties.
Argentina? Serbia?* Is there a shadowy cabal of Eastern European/South American ultranationalists pumping vulgarity into our national polity? Almost certainly not! But that’s the thing about these stories — once you get going you only need to connect an entity with a country and you’re off to the races.
Or take a look at the Democratic Socialists of America webpage — or should I say the Democratic Socialists of Canada and the Ukraine?!
This one is a bit more suspect than the rest, considering that they’re an American political party and everything.
Still, given the fact that Americans can live abroad in this day and age, it might be nothing. However, the party’s Facebook page notes that they do “run ads related to politics or issues of national importance.”
Are those ads coming from the Ukraine? Could they be from … Russian-aligned rebels?! Of course not, but this claim is as evidence-free as the whole bag of Russian collusion stories and/or the DSA’s platform.
Now, does all this mean anything? As I said, probably not — but that still hasn’t stopped Facebook or BuzzFeed from questioning us about it. It’s a minor thing, granted, but given that some or most of these entities have complained about foreign meddling in the 2016 election and the role Facebook may have played, they don’t seem particularly circumspect about it themselves.
Nor should they be. There are plenty of good American workers who live abroad (I’m probably talking myself up a bit here) who can contribute to any organization remotely. However, that doesn’t have quite the tocsin of danger that foreign agents trying to inject propaganda into American discourse has.
* As of publication on Thursday, Wonkette no longer lists a manager in Serbia but has added one in Greece.
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