GorT can’t believe that the following premise hasn’t been more prominent in the ongoing debate about Russian influence in the 2016 Presidential election:
The contents of the emails have not been denied or asserted as being false or manufactured.
Professor and NYT contributor, Zeynep Tufekci, posted a blog pleading, “Do not get played the way the US press got played, gullibly falling into the trap set for it.” She begged media in France and around the world not to report on the content of Macron’s stolen emails, but to “Report aggressively on the fact there is a disinformation campaign. Report it as part of reporting on how the hack is political sabotage.”
“The only effective deterrent left is in [the] hands of the press: Do not cover the substance of emails. At all. Refuse on principle to take part,” said Brookings fellow Susan Hennessey.
So if hacked or leaked emails show more concrete evidence of political corruption or criminal activity, these folks are advocating not to report on it? I don’t believe that the leaked DNC emails really tilted the balance of the election. I think the DNC and Clinton did that on their own. They alienated much of the country and she was, as others have stated, “already a damaged candidate.”
What is more shocking here is that these people are calling for the supposedly independent, objective free press should not report on factual information just because a non-US entity provided the access to the materials. This begs three questions:
- Why didn’t the American press uncover some of these issues during the campaign? The collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign? The various issues with Clinton’s speaking engagements, investments, and involvement with foreign interests?
- If the content is proven factual – and I strongly maintain this caveat – then is it not an issue that the American voter should know about? And if not, who and why makes that decision in the press corps?
- If leaked materials should be considered political propaganda that potentially favors a foreign power – should we not consider that effect with all leaked materials to include those found and released by opponents in the American campaigns? What if the Clinton’s camp’s release of negative material about Donald Trump favors some foreign power because they’d rather have Clinton as the president?
The first response to anyone complaining about the Russian or Wikileaks hacks of the DNC emails should be: are the contents of the email false? These emails shed some negative light on a campaign and a group of people that crave power and manipulate things to maintain their power.
And these folks clamoring for the free press to ignore factual information about our candidates need to be exposed and shown as biased agents that are no better for our democracy than foreign interference.