As Democrats continue to spin the fake news narrative, because it’s simply impossible that Hillary (the candidate who lost both Wisconsin and Michigan to a Socialist in the Democratic primary) lost fair and square, Former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, penned an op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday that suggested registering RT and Sputnik as “foreign agents,” claiming that they “campaigned openly for one candidate, Donald Trump.”
In addition, we know that Russian-government-controlled “media” outlets such as RT and Sputnik campaigned openly for one candidate, Donald Trump. Sputnik even tweeted the hashtag #CrookedHillary. We have laws preventing foreign governments from contributing financial support to candidates. Should we have similar laws about in-kind support? Such regulation seems hard, in tension with our First Amendment, but shouldn’t our lawmakers wrestle with the issue? Should Sputnik and RT employees be accredited as journalists or as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? I don’t know. But we need to know.
Stories also have circulated about Russian and other foreign actors involved in the production of fake news, as well as collaboration between Russian (and other foreign) and American leaders and movements regarding common political agendas, that is, a new “Illiberal International” to replace the old Communist International. What was the full scope of these activities? Did any of these actions influence the election outcome? I don’t know, but we need to know.
Of course, we should probably just ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of America’s mainstream media also “campaigned openly for one candidate,” Hillary Clinton. We should also ignore McFaul’s inherent hypocrisy in suggesting that foreign media reports should be considered “in-kind” political contributions while blatantly ignoring $100’s of million of dollars of donations made by foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation over the past several years…donations that suddenly ceased when Hillary lost the presidency…but perhaps they just suddenly stopped caring about delivering AIDS medications to poor countries (see “Australia Cuts Clinton Foundation Donations To $0“).
Continuing his hypocritical rant, McFaul also calls for a “bipartisan” investigation of foreign involvement in the 2016 election? Out of curiosity, we wonder why McFaul didn’t bother to call for an independent investigation of Hillary after it became obvious that she ignored a federal subpoena and deleted 1,000s emails all while Bill Clinton was meeting privately with the Attorney General during an active investigation? We guess he saw no real problems there.
The Obama administration just announced that it plans to conduct an investigation of Russian cybertheft during the 2016 election.
That is a good start (although let’s hope this investigation started long before now!), but it is not enough. First, a serious investigation will take longer than one month; second, the authors of such a report must be bipartisan; third, the scope of such an inquiry must include other forms of interference beyond hacking; and fourth, the actions (and maybe non-actions) of the executive branch during the 2016 campaign must be part of the study.
The only way to generate comprehensive answers to these questions and many more concerning the integrity of our electoral system is for Congress to authorize and support a bipartisan investigation, staffed in part by academics and experts, so that we know better what happened and therefore can make important policy changes before the 2020 elections.
All Americans — Republican, Democrat and other — should want free and fair elections. We must diagnose the problem, including dispelling possible myths about the extent of the problem, before recommending prescriptions. Establishing this commission is an excellent bipartisan step toward preserving this most sacred American value.
Meanwhile, McFaul sent out the following tweet advertising his op-ed, admitting that he doesn’t “know the truth about foreign involvement in our elections.” But that’s not the point is it? The point is simply to raise doubts and suspicions…the mainstream media can do the rest.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) December 11, 2016
RT editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, responded to McFaul’s allegations saying they stem from a “personal grudge” from a man who has “
done a great lot to brew an anti-Russian hysteria.”
Commenting on McFaul’s Washington Post article, RT and Sputnik editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said his words may stem from a personal grudge against both media outlets, as they often criticize him in their publications.
“In my opinion, McFaul may simply hold a grudge against us. We often criticize him, and criticize him fairly, I have to add, because we know few people who, while being in a position to improve the relations between the two countries, have contributed so much to ruin these relations,” she said.
“And McFaul is exactly the person, who, while being an envoy to Russia, just as before and after it, has done a great lot to brew an anti-Russian hysteria. As you can see, he continues to do so.”
Simonyan described McFaul’s actions as “undiplomatic,” adding that he should understand that measures such as threatening Russian news outlets are always bi-directional, and if “something like that happens to our media in the US, similar measures may be applied in turn to American media working in [Russia].”
“It’s hard for me to predict whether US authorities will ever resort to these [measures], infringing on their own principles and their much advocated freedoms, the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.”
Of course, “to say you won’t accept the results of an election” is only a “direct threat to our democracy” if you’re a Republican…leftists are completely exempt from these unspoken rules.