HomeArticleEstablishment Pundits Go Nuts Over New Russian Hacking Conspiracy

Establishment Pundits Go Nuts Over New Russian Hacking Conspiracy

The New York Times reports that GRU operatives launched a successful “phishing attack” on the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of scandalous allegations about Joe Biden, and establishment pundits are falling all over themselves to tweet the hottest take on this exciting new Russia conspiracy.

The story itself fails the smell test on a number of fronts. It falsely claims that allegations of Biden’s corrupt dealings with Ukrainian officials as vice president have been “discredited”, and its only named source is a cybersecurity firm with foundational ties to the NSA and to Crowdstrike, which you may remember as the extremely shady Atlantic Council-tied company at the heart of the plot hole-riddled 2016 Russia hacking narrative (whose CEO is now a billionaire).

The article also of course lacks any hard evidence for its claims, and is of course completely silent on any details as to how the security firm knows that the alleged hackers were both (A) Russian and (B) tied to the Russian government. This is par for course with mass media news reporting on anything negative about Russia, where all journalistic standards have gone out the window and nobody suffers any professional consequences for even the most egregious misreporting on that nation.

And, naturally, liberal pundits are guzzling it down like Mike Pompeo left alone at the table with the gravy boat.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a man trying to run with an erection, but FYI it’s the most ridiculous-looking thing you can possibly ever witness. And the mad scramble of conservative Democrats to say something viral about this new angle on an entirely exhausted theme puts one in the mind of a whole platoon of men running completely tumescent at full sprint.

“I hope my fellow editors will think hard — really hard, a lot harder than they did in 2016 — before publishing any material hacked by the Russians,” tweeted editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast Noah Shachtman in response to the NYT report.

It is very revealing that the head of a major mainstream publication believes news outlets should sit on a story exposing the corruption of a leading presidential candidate–no matter how newsworthy–if it’s believed to have come from “the Russians”. How many major stories are being spiked for no other reason than a loyalty to the US government’s geopolitical agendas against noncompliant nations, exactly?

Yet sentiments identical to Shachtman’s are currently being bleated by like-minded pundits throughout the Twitterverse right now.

“Me and Oliver Darcy took at look at this a year ago… newsrooms hadn’t a lot to say about it. Not a lot of self-reflection, it seems,” tweeted CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan in response to Shachtman’s post. “Hackers could target the 2020 election. How will newsrooms respond if they release stolen data?”

“Russians working hard for President Trump’s reelection: mainstream media do not need to collaborate with the Russians again and breathlessly promote their non-newsworthy findings, as they did in 2016,” economist David Rothschild tweeted, without specifying his peculiar definition of “non-newsworthy”.

“Will the media run info from national security hacks as blockbuster stories like in 2016? That’s the million-dollar question,” tweeted Michigan Advance editor-in-chief Susan Demas.

A CNN reporter took it up even further, preemptively speculating based on literally nothing that any evidence of Biden’s corruption which emerges from the phishing campaign will have been “doctored” by Russia.

“Russia could leak Burisma emails, and slip in some doctored emails, to harm Biden later on, if he is the Democratic nominee,” tweeted CNN’s Marshall Cohen. “The 2016 playbook all over again.”

This insanity was seconded and then ratcheted up even further by MSNBC’s Malcolm Nance, whose main job seems to be to push the Overton window of Russia hysteria toward the craziest end of the spectrum.

“DNC 2.0,” Nance wrote. “To protect Trump the GRU will manufacture and insert Black propaganda, fake emails in a data base Burisma emails to implicate Biden and support Trump. They don’t care if you believe it … it’s all to get Trump to believe it. He’ll destroy America to win.”

MSNBC analyst and former Obama administration official Richard Stengel, who has openly stated that he endorses the US government propagandizing its citizens, seized on the opportunity offered by this lawless feeding frenzy to advance a completely baseless Russiagate theory, because why the hell not?

“‘Russia, if you’re listening, hack Burisma.’ GRU has done same thing to this Ukrainian firm that they did to DNC,” tweeted Stengel. “If Trump asked Zelensky on a public call to investigate the Bidens, what do you suppose he asked Putin on a private call? Vlad, do me a favor.”

“More evidence that Putin fears Biden and is actively trying to help Trump,” added the Obama administration’s Michael McFaul. “Not good. All who believe in American sovereignty should denounce, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

“I’ll say it now: I don’t care WHAT the emails say. If he’s the guy, he’s got my vote. PERIOD,” tweeted popular #Resistance pundit Brooklyn Dad Defiant in what could generously be described as a very odd confession.

There is at this time no legitimate reason to believe that the GRU was involved in any kind of cyberattack on Burisma, let alone that it found anything worth publishing. At the moment the only information we’ve gleaned from this incident is more insight into the fact that the news media environment of the most powerful nation on earth is deeply, profoundly unhealthy, and so are the individuals operating within it.

These are the people who shape the dominant narrative. These are the thought leaders, who really do lead the way a very large sector of the population thinks. We need to bring more consciousness to how wildly dysfunctional this is.

2020 has been wild already. And all signs indicate that it’s only going to get a whole lot crazier.


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Latest comments

  • whitney webb lays it all out again and again at mintpress, and of course “they” call her russia-bot. i take the label as the certificate for truth.

  • All nations hack into other nations e-mails and whatever they can get into, but beyond information gathering and analysis, they prefer to leave everything as is, because if useful, they will be back and they do not want to lose their source due to improved security. If the servers and e-mails are easy to get into, such as the DNC’s e-mails and the State Department’s e-mails on Hillary private server, all major states had copies, including our allies.
    As VIPS has developed on Consortiumnews, the wikileaks publication of the ongoing corruption in the DNC and with Hillary, were leaks not hacks. There was no REAL evidence released (just State/NSA spinoff New Knowledge pretending to be Russians, which brought them lots of contracts and won a Senate seat for the Democrats in Alabama. And of course self-loathing Russian billionaire Alperovitch and his government sponsored company Crowdstrike, which, along with the Atlantic Council and the German Marshall Fund, and GPS Fusion, has wedded the DNC to the CIA and other Intelligence Agencies.)
    The politicization of our Police State has extended to our diplomat corps who Hillary infamously directed to steal passwords, credit card numbers and other personal info from host government officials (the American hacking of Merkel’s phone was not some rare exception). Diplomatic immunity is negated by espionage. There had always been a wall between diplomats and spies (but maybe Hillary was a CIA wannabe? and that is somehow acceptable?)
    Just as smearing political candidates as racists, misogynists and now Russian assets, our society has raced lemming-like over the cliff with identity politic accusations. The DNC under Hillary has abandoned any principles they ever had, has abandoned the Poor and Working Class whose votes they take for granted, and seems to feel they are immune from their McCarthy-like machinations and blowback.
    There are people just as deranged on the Republican side and they will get even. It surely seems like parlor games to our politicians, but meanwhile REAL Americans suffer.

  • The Biden family’s connection to Burisma is nothing new. I mention it in the footnotes of an article on all the shenanigans leading up to the Ukraine coup, which I posted on my blog back in April 2015. John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz was also appointed to the board of Burisma for his share of the loot at the same time. https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/double-double-toil-and-trouble-the-cauldron-of-kiev/
    My source was none other than the Wall Street Journal edition of May 14 2014. There are Kremlin stooges everywhere you look. https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-son-kerry-family-friend-join-ukrainian-gas-producers-board-1400031749?tesla=y

  • So…these “Russian military spies” are so inept that they leave fingerprints all over their hack job? I’d much sooner believe that UMBRAGE used the Marble Framework to discredit any evidence of wrongdoing by an establishment Dem candidate. They must think that we’re as stupid as they are.

  • Sounds like the Krugman strategy for avoiding being busted for child porn.. Uuumm there are IPs you know, and they burrow and sit on your computer, and make you look bad.

  • “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a man trying to run with an erection, but FYI it’s the most ridiculous-looking thing you can possibly ever witness.”
    LMFAO! You crack me up Caitlin!

  • This seems like a strange moment to be writing about “the deep state” with the country entering a new phase of open and obvious aboveground chaos and instability. Just as we had gotten used to the fact that the president is, in effect, under congressional indictment, just as we had settled into a more or less stable stalemate over when (and if) the Senate will hold an impeachment trial, the president shook the snow globe again, by ordering the assassination of foreign military officials and threatening the destruction of Iran’s cultural sites. Nothing better than the promise of new war crimes to take the world’s attention away from a little thing like extorting a U.S. ally to help oneself get reelected. Read this entire article here:

  • How convenient that everything the Oligarchs don’t want you to hear can be dismissed as “russian hacking”.
    Same droppings, different decade. We were once told that the entire civil rights and equal rights movements were the result of Soviet subversion. Don’t listen to Dr. King, because he’s just a communist agitator.

    • they ran out of tricks. they are not known for imagination. they are known for delusion and illusion, though.

  • Thanks, as always, Caitlin (and Tim). I read the replies to that Brooklyn Dad Defiant tweet you included at the end of this piece. I wish they were just from Correct The Record bot spam trolls, but they’re not. In June 2019, my thoroughly indoctrinated, Barnard graduate, blue-no-matter-who sister used a solemn, authoritative tone to tell my young nephew (and everyone else within earshot): “The Russians are spreading disinformation about Joe Biden.” That’s what I call deplorable, if not downright child abuse. To make matters worse, she’s a school teacher. Never forget: in 2016, MSDNC shills claimed that Wikileaks was doctored, and the public had no right to true information. Hillary, Neera, and Rachel’s playbook is wearing thin.

  • I love the way you write, Caitlin, and more importantly, love what you’re saying, which is critically important for people to understand – thank you for being you!!!

  • The most alarming story in the world is that the “watchdog” press has been thoroughly co-opted by the Establishment. With no real skeptical “watch dogs” challenging the approved meme it’s doubtful any positive and real change can ever occur. This piece deals with the “Russians” allegedly doing something nefarious, but the same reality is prevalent in every story – Epstein, Assad gassed his own people, etc. And the most toxic effects are found in all the important stories that are simply ignored, that are off limits to real investigation. Kudos to Caitlin for identifying “narrative control” as the common theme that runs through all of these “stories.”

    • The most important beat in journalism should be one that seeks to expose the malpractice and corruption that occurs in mainstream journalism every day. If perception is reality (and it is) then the “narrative” is everything. If the narrative is bogus, this needs to be revealed. In our “status quo,” no one in the mainstream press is willing to challenge false narratives. This is how the “status quo” remains the status quo. Of all the scary stories in our times, this one is the scariest.

    • when were the corporate media ever not coopted lapdogs????

  • It is apparent there are considerable and powerful forces that want us to go to war with Russia. I hope this is just a hysterical phase before another cold war and not a prelude to an actual conflict. A war with Iran however is inevitable.

    • The “national security card” is played over and over.
      In short, everything the U.S. government does is okay as long as the government says it’s for “national security.” The irony is that America is the most secure nation in the history of the world. So the “national security” argument is a lie or canard. I tried to illustrate how EVERY tenet of U.S. military and foreign policy is bogus in an essay that ZH published last year.


  • Pre-emptively building the rationale for Biden’s loss to Trump in November 2020?

  • “This travesty of justice (for Mr Assange) has been ignored by the entire spectrum of what passes for the left wing of the imperialist political establishment, including Jeremy Corbyn, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar and all those associated with the Labour Party in the UK and the Democratic Socialists of America faction of the Democratic Party in the US.
    Their silence is not an oversight, it is a class position. The affluent upper-middle class layers on whose behalf these politicians speak have tossed their decades-old anti-war placards in the garbage and enlisted as cheerleaders for US and British imperialism. Behind their sophistic arguments that “humanitarian” considerations justify US-led wars in Libya and Syria, the real motivations reside in their bulging stock portfolios, amplified by imperialist plunder.”

    And I forgot to quote the source of the article above:


    As Jesus told us, at His Second Coming the society will be very divided, violent and without faith. So His return is for sure very very near.

    • Good article. Thx.

      • Yes, recommended reading there.
        Of all the many “travesties of justice” occurring in our world, the persecution of Assange (with no serious blowback being directed to the persecutors) has to be at the top of this shameful list.

    • While agree with a lot of what I see on wsws, their approach is fallacy. The wsws saves their most withering fire to direct towards those who oppose the Oligarchs but who do it without the purity of the sacred Trotsky.
      If your goal is to sit in the corner with a couple of friends and disciples and complain about how impure everyone else is, then that’s a good strategy. If you goal is to change the world, at this point to save a world that is hurtling towards a cliff at high speed, then you need to make friends with lots of people. Those impure people who still oppose Oligarchs are the people you need to make alliances with, and maybe its for the good to learn that there are far, far better targets for your fire.

      • The SEP and WSWS do not “sit in a corner with a couple of friends”. The Socialist Equality Party is an international revolutionary socialist party and has thousands of members and even more supporters around the world. I am one of them and have been for 20 years. People like you are appeasers. There is no greater target than international capitalism for us. Save your pseudo-leftist comments for the Democratic Party who, no doubt, would consider you to be a “radical”.

    • Ah, now there’s an impressive prediction. Looking at the society of these (supposedly) evolved monkeys at any time in the last 2 millennium and predicting that they will be divided, violent and won’t be following orders as to what they are told to believe.
      Impressive that a seer could look out at the peaceful and cooperative world of mankind (before the seer was nailed to a cross) and predict violence and division in the future. Incredible!
      Here’s my radical belief…. Jesus wasn’t talking about some afterlife. He was trying to tell us that here in this world that if we continue our competitive strife then we will create hell on earth. But that if we cooperate and learn to love each other, then we can create paradise.

    • You were doing so well . . . until you got to ‘Jesus’.

      So obviously Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, etc. are all completely wrong, eluded and misguided. Dream on, Christian.

  • As it was in the days of Noah, we live in a violent society because we are in the return of the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Jesus.

    The bottomline is that behind all of that resides the same reasoning. We can say it is the same reasoning behind the detention of Mr Julian Assange:

    “This travesty of justice (for Mr Assange) has been ignored by the entire spectrum of what passes for the left wing of the imperialist political establishment, including Jeremy Corbyn, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar and all those associated with the Labour Party in the UK and the Democratic Socialists of America faction of the Democratic Party in the US.
    Their silence is not an oversight, it is a class position. The affluent upper-middle class layers on whose behalf these politicians speak have tossed their decades-old anti-war placards in the garbage and enlisted as cheerleaders for US and British imperialism. Behind their sophistic arguments that “humanitarian” considerations justify US-led wars in Libya and Syria, the real motivations reside in their bulging stock portfolios, amplified by imperialist plunder.”

    Too bad for ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’.

    I am totally fed up and I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus because I do have seen enough bullshit.

  • NYT’s is laying the ground work to cast doubt and taint any damaging information that surfaces from investigations, emails, or Trump into Biden and Burisma. This type of propaganda rests claims that facts are untrue which may actually be true but are difficult to prove.

  • http://www.johndayblog.com/2020/01/people-get-hurt.html
    In what states is it legal to “smoke Biden” these days?
    “He Needs To Stop”: Democrats Freaking Out After Sanders Says Trump Will Smoke Biden
    ​ ​According to those complaining, the 78-year-old Sanders will make it harder for Democrats to unify around a nominee after months of taking flack from their own side of the aisle – despite the fact that a Friday poll has him in the lead, and that his no-holds-barred approach may earn him the nomination.
    ​ ​”He needs to stop,” said one Democratic strategist who is unaffiliated with any candidates. “It’s not helpful and it actually hurts the party. It’s like he didn’t learn his lesson the last time. It’s incredibly short-sighted and terrible.”

    • So, real politics “hurts the party.” Pathetic.

    • I am perplexed by this continuing link of Trump and Russia. How in any way has Trump benefited Russia? However, as the Democrats did by promoting Trump’s candidacy as an easy win for Hillary, Trump should support Biden in 2020 because he would be cause a Trump landslide.

  • So, the MSM continue to undermine there own credibility. More fake news. I think the true intent is to have no one believe anything.

    • Well many of these types do not believe there is such a thing as truth so in Fact this is an essential element of their own psychology. So a base assumption for them is a Solipsism incomprehensible to others.

  • In the meanwhile, a friend of mine made this investigation and got censured by facebook:

    • I tired to post the link and facebook denied it. Thanks for posting the link here.

  • I have ” Russian secrets for sale ” to the highest bidder. The auction will only last for one hour so get your bids in right away. Hurry. Make your best offer, now. Russia, Russia, Russia!

    • If the Russian bots were so effective in winning elections, every political candidate would be hiring this group to serve as campaign consultants.
      Why is Bloomberg emptying his bank account when he could spend $150,000 (tip money for tonight’s meal) with the Russian consultants?

  • BlackBoxVoting(.)org > monopolists OWN Hart InterMatic, Electronic Systems & Software (ES&S) and Diebold, the electronic vote rigging machine companies that can instantly throw 15% of the votes. Rigged exit “polling” can be +/-15%, so only landslide victories can change results. Monopolists OWN both political parties, so only UNIPARTY puppets can run, or win.

    “Rice*A*Romney….that must have Zombie Treat” > FauxScienceSlayer(.)com

  • putin will invade brooklyn over his dead body, you betcha.

  • Thank you once again, Caitlin. These are such throughly insane times, I don’t know which to laugh or cry……thanks for intelligently revealing both. All the best to you.

  • That was a nice article; sort of like an old soap opera that used to run here in the US, ‘As the World Turns’, only instead of actors, it uses lab rats.

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