The harmful effects of the Russiagate psyop have been manifold, but surely one of the most troubling narrative management innovations is the growing usage of the term ‘Russian talking point.’ It is used to dismiss any information, no matter how factual, that contradicts official Washington dogma. This is a remarkable achievement of propaganda, the likes of which we haven’t seen in the modern era.
Recently, MSNBC’s Joy Reid was tasked with attacking Tulsi Gabbard. If it was a real news show, she would have brought up specific policies Tulsi supports and gave reasons for why they’re bad. But, instead, she went with this:”The way she talks about regime change wars is exactly the same way Russia talks about them. She uses this language that comes straight out of, kind of, the Kremlin.” Luckily, MSNBC’s YouTube viewership is more astute than they thought; as of this time, the video has 1.7 thousand dislikes and only 570 likes, but I worry that the liberal, over-60s sitting at home watching TV may be falling for it.
Let’s examine this ‘argument,’ as I will very generously call it. The crux of it is that mentioning America’s propensity to offensively invade countries with the aim of changing their regimes is a ‘Russian talking point.’
First, we must examine the veracity of the claim that the US takes it upon itself to change regimes: well, we have the successful toppings of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as well as the failed regime change effort in Syria. This is all just in the past 18 years and is not even mentioning the myriad of coups by proxy, such as the recent toppling of Bolivian president Evo Morales. So, I think it’s safe to say that regime change wars fit America’s M.O.
Next, let’s look at whether or not this is a ‘Russian Talking point.’ Obviously, the idea that an indisputable fact can be a ‘talking point’ attributed to a single country is absurd at face value, but we’ll look at whether or not the Russian government has put considerable effort into educated the world about this fact. ‘Russian propaganda’ is MSM code for anything that has ever been said on RT or Sputnik. This is a very wide net, as RT contributors run the spectrum from left to right, but, on average, the English versions of RT and Sputnik are considerably to the left of any major American news outlet. This is especially the case when taking the traditional stance that anti-interventionism is considered a leftist principle. Furthermore, most RT America contributors are American and have never been to Russia and don’t speak Russian. RT is used by the Kremlin as a form of soft power to erode trust in Western governments, but it seems to exert little editorial control over the everyday content. Probably because Americans better understand the nuances of American politics than Moscow Bureaucrats. It is true that RT platforms more Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders supporters than any other major news outlet, but perhaps that’s because these people aren’t allowed on American TV. Many commentators on RT, such as Chris Hedges and Jesse Ventura, formerly worked for American news outlets but were fired for opposing the Iraq War. As you would expect, these people are still opposed to regime change war, including in Syria. Once again, they are only on RT because such views are not allowed on American TV. Interestingly, there is not one single overt Trump supporter on RT, which is weird since we’re supposed to believe that Trump is Russian agent. Many great anti-Trump arguments are, by the MSM’s standards, also ‘Russian talking points,’ but they won’t mention that because it doesn’t fit the narrative.
The most disturbing result of the ‘Russian talking point’ propaganda is that now many people feel comfortable dismissing valid information without even taking a peek at it. Certain news sites, even those run by people with no connection to Russia, have been labeled ‘Russia propaganda’ just for disagreeing with US foreign policy. There is a website called propornot.com that has a list of almost every decent, independent investigative journalist site, and it dismisses them all as ‘Russian propaganda.’ Every mainstream news outlet is, of course, not listed as propaganda despite being caught in hundreds of verifiable lies. People who actually value truth can go through the list and find some great new sources of information. PropOrNot has been promoted in outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post.
If something were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be Russian propaganda, what should we do? According to many liberals, the answer is to treat it as if you are likely to contract a venereal disease if you come in contact with it. This is a result of targeted gaslighting: manipulating people by getting them to question their own mental ability. ‘Russian propaganda’ is not a magic trick that hijacks your brain. It’s just information that you can independently verify or debunk like any other information. For example, if a ‘Russian Propaganda’ site unloads a mountain of overwhelming evidence that there was no gas attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018, you don’t have to stick your head in the sand; you could actually try to dig up evidence that there WAS. (Although you would soon find out that there is none.)
Other facts that are called ‘Russian talking points’ include the White Helmets being terrorists, that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged, the US should have more than two parties, the US has a police brutality problem, pipelines tend to spill oil, Sanders would improve the lives of African Americans, Joe Biden is flamboyantly corrupt, and that the US-backed Ukrainian militias fighting in Donbass contain Neo-Nazi battalions. (This last example is fascinating. The quid pro quo that Trump used in the Ukrainegate scandal literally concerned aid for Neo-Nazis. Obama refused to give this aid because, you know, they’re Nazis. But the rabid Trump-deranged liberals who like to link Trump to white nationalists can’t mention his support for Neo-Nazis because it contradicts their Russiagate narrative.)
This has quite literally become a new Red Scare. The establishment needed a boogeyman, so they are hyping up a fledgling paper tiger with an economy the size of South Korea or Spain. Now they’ve got people questioning their lying eyes, scared to click on a link, see a meme or question a belief.