How the Left Lost Its Mind
JUL 2, 2017
Last month, Democratic Senator Ed Markey delivered what seemed like an explosive bit of news during an interview with CNN: A grand jury had been impaneled in New York, he said, to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia.
The only problem: It wasn’t true.
… The story had no reliable sourcing, and not a single credible news outlet touched it—but it had been fervently championed by The Palmer Report, a liberal blog known for peddling conspiracy theories, and by anti-Trump Twitter crusaders like Louise Mensch. Soon enough, prominent people with blue checkmarks by their names were amplifying it with “Big if true”-type Tweets. And by May 11, the story had migrated from the bowels of the internet to the mouth of a United States senator.
The Trump era has given rise to a vast alternative left-wing media infrastructure that operates largely out of the view of casual news consumers, but commands a massive audience and growing influence in liberal America. There are polemical podcasters and partisan click farms; wild-eyed conspiracists and cynical fabulists. Some traffic heavily in rumor and wage campaigns of misinformation; others are merely aggregators and commentators … . … they form a media universe where partisan hysteria is too easily stoked, and fake news can travel at the speed of light.
People like Mensch, Claude Taylor, Andrea Chalupa, Eric Garland, and Leah McElrath feed their followers a steady diet of highly provocative speculation, rumor, and innuendo that makes it sound as if Trump’s presidency—and, really, the entire Republican Party—is perpetually on the verge of a spectacular meltdown.
… focus on the Russia scandal, weaving a narrative so sensationalistic and complex that it could pass for a Netflix political drama. … it is acceptable to allege that hundreds of American politicians, journalists, and government officials are actually secret Russian agents; … that the Kremlin has “kompromat” on everyone, and oh-by-the-way a presidency-ending sex tape is going to drop any day now.
IMO, this article is marred by ritualistic moral equivalency that lacks equivalency. That de rigueur content is likely to have the effect in Lib & Prog circles of dampening the effect of what is spot on in this article, that there is a large and possibly growing segment among political liberals who will believe virtually anything that confirms and conforms to their hysterical hatreds, regardless of how ludicrously implausible, and regardless of how many such reports are proven ridiculously wrong.