Wasserman and the email link (and Russia!)

Oh, boy, I’m shocked, shocked that the institutional elites of the Democratic Party supported Hillary Clinton and not Bernie Sanders.  Yes, the DNC is supposed to be officially neutral, but of course people who spent years working with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as an institution are going to support her over somebody who is not even really a member of the Democratic Party.

But, I get it, Wasserman Schultz’s got to go so Democrats can put this in the rear-view mirror as fast as possible.  I did an interview on this today with questions as if it is actually some huge thing.  How many Democrats even know who the hell Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is?  Like her emails are going to affect the election.  This is not exactly Hillary Clinton’s emails saying, “how can we smear Bernie Sanders?!”  But, boy, does the media love conflict in the face of a convention (Ted Cruz, anybody).

Now, it hurts, because this is not what Democrats want to be talking about, but again, the idea that this actually matters in the big scope of the election is the conflict-driven media fantasy.

And, while we’re at it, the best evidence is that the Russian government is truly behind this because Putin truly wants Trump to be President.  That should sure as hell give people pause and be getting way more prominent coverage that the Democratic party disunity.  This Post article seemed like it almost had to feel bad that not just Clinton’s campaign, but actual cyber-security experts and Russia experts think the Russians are behind the email leak:

We’ve been looking at this very closely from both the technical and non-technical spheres,” said Rich Barger, chief information officer for ThreatConnect, a cyber intelligence software firm. “Based on our analysis, we strongly feel Guccifer 2 is linked to a Russian information operations campaign and is not the independent Romanian hacker that he claims to be.” …

The apparent link to Russian intelligence raises troubling implications for U.S. foreign relations and national security. Russia has not to date tried to interfere in U.S. elections, analysts say. But if this is a deliberate effort by the Kremlin to meddle, it is worrisome, they say.

Fiona Hill, a former Russia expert on the National Intelligence Council, said putting the emails out on WikiLeaks for the world to see is consistent with her view of the modus operandi of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence.

“They’re doing what they do best,” said Hill, now a Brookings senior fellow. “They would not be doing their jobs as intelligence officers if they were not trying to outsmart their main opponent and to have influence on their politics.”

But, Rid points out, “what we don’t know is whether this is a top-down order or not.”

Meanwhile, this CNN report is a classic case of the worst sort of journalism.  Clinton’s campaign manager lays out the case for the Russian’s being behind this (and it’s a compelling one) and then we get Trump’s campaign saying this is just laughable and Clinton will say anything to win.

Horrible!  Talk to some actual experts instead of just the most lazy, he said, she said.  Do we know the Russians are behind this.  Nope.  But do many uninvolved experts thing it is entirely plausible?  Indeed.  And that sure as hell matters.  Shame on any news organization that reports the story this way.  Now that I think about it, I’ll think I’ll save these two stories for my media class this coming semester.

Oh, and Trump and the Russians, Josh Marshall was all over it even before the leak:

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined withthis much solicitousness [emphases in original] of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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