Reality TV star Donald Trump prepared the ground for his candidacy with a payola arrangement at Breitbart.com, a website that specializes in right wing fake news and propaganda. Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon became Trump’s campaign CEO — and then chief White House strategist, a position from which he has become the most powerful player in the Trump administration.
So it’s not surprising that the Trump-Bannon White House seems more and more like Breitbart.
Kellyanne Conway touts nonexistent massacres; Sean Spicer vows to list terrorist attacks that never happened, but the press is supposedly covering up; Trump rumbles on about mythical noncitizen voters.
Given the clear deference Trump gives Russian president Vladimir Putin, it was inevitable that Russian fake news would end up becoming a topic of serious discussion in this White House. According to the Associated Press, “national security aides have sought information about Polish incursions in Belarus, an eyebrow-raising request because little evidence of such activities appears to exist.”
In fact, as Rachel Maddow reported last night, the ‘Polish aggression’ in Belarus is a fabrication of the Russian state propaganda organ Sputnik.
Also eyebrow raising: senior aides requesting info on Polish incursions into Belarus, which don't appear to exist https://t.co/XFlFubjm9I
— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) February 4, 2017
We should expect more of this.
Having hollowed out the senior bureaucracy that might resist the executive orders he drafts for Trump, Bannon is further marginalizing everyone with actual policy knowledge and replacing them with fantasies from the fringe.
The AP reports that “career officials and policy experts are being looked at with more suspicion and getting cut out of additional discussions.”
Those longtime policy hands fear their influence could be further marginalized by an in-house think tank Bannon is said to be working on. The project, known as the Strategic Initiatives Group, could focus on both foreign and domestic policy issues, potentially giving the president’s chief strategist even broader sway in the administration.
Bear in mind that Bannon is on the principals committee of the National Security Council — along with another infamous conspiracy nut, an arrangement which has Steve Benen very worried.
For years, Trump has demonstrated an affinity for bizarre conspiracy theories and a capacity to believe transparent nonsense for no particular reason. Michael Flynn, Trump’s principal source for information related to national security, is every bit as odd in his embrace of baseless, oftentimes ridiculous, ideas.
During his failed tenure at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn’s staff adopted the term “Flynn facts” for patently-untrue things that he maintained as truths, such as “when he asserted that three-quarters of all new cell phones were bought by Africans or, later, that Iran had killed more Americans than Al Qaeda,” according to Dana Priest at The New Yorker.
When he’s not busy tweeting conspiracy theories, Flynn apparently serves as the primary conduit of Russian propaganda into the Trump administration.
The Breitbart presidency has brought us “alternative facts” and an alternative history. Let’s not pretend to be surprised that Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn want to provide the president of the United States with alternative intelligence, or that it has a Russian flavor.
Here’s the video of Maddow’s report. Watch:Click here for reuse options!
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