Question everything. This is where we are now. If Rachel Maddow can be believed—and it seems she does her homework—Russian cyber interference is so prevalent and devious and effective that we need to question everything. Every Facebook post, every Tweet, every email that doesn’t seem quite right.
The Republican talking points that have us doing double takes? Quite possibly sitting Senators and Congresspeople are taking their cues from Russian disinformation that’s flooding the internet and having actual effect on opinions and beliefs. Witness the lead-up to and aftermath of the 2016 and 2020 elections, or the more recent mind-blowing account of one Republican official who got up at a meeting and talked about the “fact” that elementary school children are dressing up as cats and dogs and coming to school and defecating in corners because their teacher wouldn’t give them a litter box. This person apparently never gave a thought to checking sources or stopping to think before unloading this pile of bullshit for the whole world to hear.
Whether or not this came from some internet think tank in Russia is unknown, but it’s this sort of drivel that is disseminated regularly and embraced, most often by Republicans who are hell-bent on making Democrats look silly and impotent.
The internet is Russia’s most effective weapon, in a way, and they know how to wield it. There’s a more than even chance that much of the outlandish, sensational proclamation and accusation—and much of the more rational sounding stuff—spewing from the mouths of Republicans is made up, not true, or at least exaggerated. All in the service of painting Democrats, or any enemies of the Kremlin and Putin (and the fossil fuel industry?), in the worst possible light.
Going forward, one might think that we’ll all be more wary of such deceit. Probably not, but couldn’t one dare to hope that if we’re aware that Russia’s intent is to get Americans to hate and distrust one another, we just wouldn’t let that happen?