Home / General / <i>The Nation</i> Really Should Stop Publishing the Conspiracy Theories of Open Propagandists

The Nation Really Should Stop Publishing the Conspiracy Theories of Open Propagandists


In the tread about Patrick Lawrence’s DNC hack trooferism, a commenter pointed us to this rather remarkable P-Law artifact from the period in which Salon was willing to publish any lunacy that came down the pike as long it was anti-Clinton:

Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections — on behalf of Donald Trump, no less?

Is this a joke? Are you kidding? Is nothing beneath your dignity? Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? My answers to these, in order: yes, but the kind one cannot laugh at; no, we’re not kidding; no, we will do anything, and yes, we have no regard whatsoever for Americans so long as we can connive them out of their votes every four years.

Clowns. Subversives. Do you know who you remind me of? I will tell you: Nixon, in his famously red-baiting campaign — a disgusting episode — against the right-thinking Helen Gahagan Douglas during his first run for the Senate, in 1950. Your political tricks are as transparent and anti-democratic as his, it is perfectly fair to say.

Is nothing beneath your dignity indeed. Before we get to the punchline, how exactly did the DNC hacks show that the DNC fixed the primary process?

Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction.

So the DNC RIGGED the primary by…having some random nobodies float dumb ideas in emails that nobody with any power seems to have even given a moment’s consideration to executing. Well, I’m convinced! It also seems obvious that the only way an insurgency campaign can succeed is if it has the full ex ante support of the entire party establishment.

Anyway, once we return to Russian interference in the election the standards of evidence change markedly:

Is that what disturbs you, Robby? Interesting. Unsubstantiated hocus-pocus, not the implications of these events for the integrity of Democratic nominations and the American political process? The latter is the more pressing topic, Robby. You are far too long on anonymous experts for my taste, Robby. And what kind of expert, now that I think of it, is able to report to you as to the intentions of Russian hackers — assuming for a sec that this concocted narrative has substance?

Making lemonade out of a lemon, the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave).

Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise.

Ye gods, it would take the wisdom of Solomon to determine what’s worse, the content or the prose. Indeed, there is a seamless marriage of form and content here — P-Law is a true artist in his own way.

The key takeaway here for longly experienced paying-attention people is that Lawrence is completely open about being nothing but a propagandist. He’s not engaged in good faith skepticism about the hack, and at this point he wasn’t even pretending to be. He literally declared as the scandal was breaking that the Russians simply could not have been involved in any ratfucking of the 2016 elections and nothing could ever convince him otherwise. The Nation can keep publishing Lawrence’s baseless conspiracy theories and Putin/Trump apologia, it can retain its credibility, but not both.

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