Yesterday, in discussing the lack of evidence to support claims that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia, I quoted from an article by Glenn Greenwald. In that article, Greenwald called out fellow leftists who have been promoting the unsubstantiated collusion claim. He wrote:
The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies. . .that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence.
To whom was Greenwald referring? By following a link in Greenwald’s piece, we learn that Rachel Maddow is the main media figure he sees as personally benefiting from feeding the base unhinged conspiracies about collusion with Russia. No surprise there.
As for the “online charlatans,” Greenwald’s link takes us to this article in BuzzFeed.
Greenwald also calls out the Center for American Progress, which “released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a ‘Fifth Column’ in the U.S. that serves Russia. . . .” Here is the language I think Greenwald has in mind:
Putin is now trying to export his brand of leadership. He has formed an alliance with many European far-right political parties and their leaders, who have delivered consistent adherence to Russian interests even when it contradicts some of their past positions. This backing of Putin is hard to explain unless it is in exchange for Putin’s overt and covert support.
These far-right parties are capitalizing on economic and security crises in Europe to build popular support and now operate as a fifth column that is undermining the Western liberal order from within.
President Donald Trump’s unwavering support for Putin and his pursuit of policies that advance Russia’s goals show disturbing similarities to the European far right that are equally difficult to rationalize.
The evidence the report cites of Trump’s “unwavering support for Putin” consists of: (1) Trump’s statement that Putin “has very strong control over a country … he’s been a leader,” (2) Trump’s statement after the election that the hacking of Democrats could have been the work of non-Russians, and (3) Trump’s statement that he would like to have good relations with Russia.
The first statement is indisputable. The second statement hardly shows unwavering support for Putin, inasmuch as Trump has agreed that Russia interfered in the election.
The third statement isn’t Fifth Column stuff either. Trump has not advocated making concessions to Russia in order to bring about good relations, and he has said his relations with Putin may or may not turn out to be good.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that “Fifth Column” evidence will turn up one day. Until then, Greenwald is right to denounce the “increasingly unhinged, fact-free” conspiracy theories being spread online.
NOTE: This post has been modified from the original version.