Russiagate: A mountain of evidence
Thus spake Politifact
A mountain of evidence points to a single fact: Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election of 2016.
In both classified and public reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered actions to interfere with the election. Those actions included the cyber-theft of private data, the placement of propaganda against particular candidates, and an overall effort to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process.
Politifact: 2017 Lie of the Year: Russian election interference is a 'made-up story'
That's their opening paragraph and already they are off to a bad start.
Right from the beginning, the word evidence does not mean unsubstantiated rumors reported by anonymous sources. I suspect most of us here have been waiting for something that is externally verifiable and at least indicates some smoke. I haven't seen anything. Have you? Several intrepid writers have taken it upon themselves to compile the entire the list of claims and debunkings and it's a long and sordid tale.
Russiagate is like a mirage: from a distance it looks like something, but once you move in for a closer look, there’s nothing there. Nothing. Nothing solid, nothing substantial, nothing you can point at and say, “Here it is. This hard evidence justifies saturating the media waves with obsessive 24/7 coverage, escalating tensions with a nuclear superpower, stagnating political discourse in America and fanning the flames of a hysterical, xenophobic McCarthyist feeding frenzy.”
Caitlin Johnstone: The Big Fat Compendium Of Russiagate Debunkery
The folks here are not alone in questioning the lack of externally verifiable evidence. It was, in fact, the number one issue pointed out when Caitlin asked about it.
@caitoz An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof. - Marcello Truzzi Done! Thanks for playing!
@caitoz How many months has it been?
And the problems, of course, go much deeper than simply a lack of evidence... evidence which Politifact asserts there is a "mountain" of. There's also the questionable reliability of the sources. For instance, when the New York Times writes something like this:
In late 2016, top United States intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government directed a massive cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and putting Donald J. Trump in the White House.
This broad campaign included hacking and leaking Democratic emails, pushing false information on Russian media outlets, gaining access to state and local electoral boards, and using social media to disseminate misinformation.
New York Times: What is the Russia Story
it is important to remember that they have, quite literally, been reporting blatant war propaganda about Russia for a century. Yes, that's right. We are told we should believe people who have been lying on a topic for one hundred freakin' years.
Fake news on Russia is a Times tradition that can be traced back at least as far as the 1917 revolution. In a classic study of the paper’s coverage of Russia from February 1917 to March 1920, Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz found that “From the point of view of professional journalism the reporting of the Russian Revolution is nothing short of a disaster. On the essential questions the net effect was almost always misleading, and misleading news is worse than none at all…. They can fairly be charged with boundless credulity, and an untiring readiness to be gulled, and on many occasions with a downright lack of common sense.”
Popuplar Resistance: FAKE NEWS ON RUSSIA & OTHER ENEMIES: NEW YORK TIMES, 1917–2017
Reasonably speaking, when a group has been continuously lying about a topic for 100 years then at least asking to see some evidence seems prudent. Well, actually, simply ignoring them outright seems even more prudent but who knows? Maybe they are right this time?
Then, of course, we get to the US intelligence agencies have have told us that Russia hacked everything under the sun ranging from hacking the Vermont power grid, to various European elections including France and Germany (in both cases the domestic intelligence agencies denied the claims of their politicians and the NSA), and the list goes on and on... starting of course with Russia hacked the DNC.
So what we have here is politifact (and Snopes for that matter) pushing the statement that Russiagate is real based on "mountains of evidence" -- evidence which as we all know does not exist and was delivered by people who have repeatedly lied on this very topic... recently... and regularly.
I'll say the same thing to Politifact that I say to I say to all the other McCarthy-ites... show me your "mountain of evidence". In the mean time, all I see is a mountain of liars repeating the lies of the deep state.