After years of right-wing conspiracy [“Birther,” “Vince Foster,” “Seth Rich”] theories dogging legitimate conservatives, the left has now found its own purveyors of partisan fantasy. And just as legitimate conservative media, like the Weekly Standard and National Review have pushed back at right-wing nuttiness, legitimate liberal media, such as Vox and Daily Kos are trying to have liberalism retain some credibility.

The main left-wing conspiracy spreaders are John Schindler, Louise Mensch, and Claude Taylor. (Taylor looks a lot like Breitbart’s and Trump’s Steve Bannon.) The Daily Caller wrote about Mensch.

Louise Mensch is a former Conservative Member of Parliament in the UK who has become a popular figure in the Trump “resistance” because of her obsession with finding a connection between the president and Russia.

Mensch is by no means an objective source — emails released by WikiLeaks show her secretly offering unsolicited advice to the Clinton campaign on how to beat Trump, even going so far as to propose and draft a campaign ad for the campaign to use against the real estate mogul. At the time, Mensch was heading up Heat Street, a right-leaning new media website, although she has since taken, and then left, a different position at News Corp, Heat Street’s parent company.

Since leaving Heat Street, Mensch has turned to writing about her Trump-Russia theories on her blog, Patribotics.

That’s ironic, since Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is also the parent of the conservative Wall Street Journal and Fox News.

Mensch, who did not return TheDC’s interview request by press time, has shown a proclivity to blame — often without any evidence — almost any negative event in the world on Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence services. The jihadist bombing of a German soccer team’s bus? She blames Russia. The 2014 Ferguson riots that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement? Mensch blames Russia. Democrats failing to score a huge upset in the special election for Georgia’s 6th District? Mensch blames Russia. Low African-American turnout for Hillary Clinton? It wasn’t Hillary’s fault, Mensch says — it was Russia’s. The 15-year-old girl with whom serial pervert Anthony Weiner traded explicit messages? That was actually a Russian plot personally ordered by Putin, if you take Mensch’s word for it. The 2013 death of conservative media figure Andrew Breitbart? Mensch said she “absolutely” believes Putin was behind it.

Breitbart reports that, like all the conspiracy theorists, Mensch condemns the “mainstream media,” and of course, she hates Donald Trump.

Dear MSM,
Please for the love of God ask @Mike_Pence about General Flynn’s KGB ties and what he wants on Russian hacking.
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) December 23, 2016

I would decline to be introduced to @RealDonaldTrump because I’m afraid I don’t knowingly admit traitors to my acquaintance. #Putin
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) December 31, 2016

Keith Olbermann, who was too liberal even for MSNBC, got on board with Mensch.

Olbermann quoted a part of Mensch’s story that read, “Sources with links to the intelligence community say it is believed that Carter Page went to Moscow in early July carrying with him a pre-recorded tape of Donald Trump offering to change American policy to make it more favorable to Putin. In exchange, Page was authorized directly by Trump to request the help of the Russian government in hacking the election.”

Since then, many liberals have woken up to the fact that pushing “fake news” will only weaken their legitimate complaints, as noted by The Atlantic.

But a preponderance of fake information ultimately harms the political cause that absorbs it. It’s also bad strategy: Michael Walzer writes that the left’s task at this moment in history is “to help hold the center.” A polluted information environment does little to preserve the consensus reality that permits democracy to work. . .

It’s more wish-fulfillment stuff. “Trump About to be Arrested!” Well, yeah, when’s that gonna happen? . . .if you have that visceral a response to something, then it is written specifically to arouse that response so you’ll share it. Just say no.

Like the Weekly Standard and National Review, the more reliable liberal media are warning their readers about falling for fake news, just because it feels good–as noted in Vox, the left’s counterpart to Fox.

President Donald Trump is about to resign as a result of the Russia scandal. Bernie Sanders and Sean Hannity are Russian agents. The Russians have paid off House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz to the tune of $10 million, using Trump as a go-between. Paul Ryan is a traitor for refusing to investigate Trump’s Russia ties. Libertarian heroine Ayn Rand was a secret Russian agent charged with discrediting the American conservative movement.

These are all claims you can find made on a new and growing sector of the internet that functions as a fake news bubble for liberals, something I’ve dubbed the Russiasphere. The mirror image of Breitbart and InfoWars on the right, it focuses nearly exclusively on real and imagined connections between Trump and Russia. . .

There’s also a handful of websites, like Palmer Report, that seem devoted nearly exclusively to spreading bizarre assertions like the theory that Ryan and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell funneled Russian money to Trump — a story that spread widely among the site’s 70,000 Facebook fans. . .

“With a few exceptions, the MSM [mainstream media] hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory with Kremlingate. They were slow to ask obvious questions about Trump in 2016, and they’re playing catch-up now, not always accurately.”

Experts on political misinformation see things differently. They worry that the unfounded speculation and paranoia that infect the Russiasphere risk pushing liberals into the same black hole of conspiracy-mongering and fact-free insinuation that conservatives fell into during the Obama years.

The fear is that this pollutes the party itself, derailing and discrediting the legitimate investigation into Russia investigation. It also risks degrading the Democratic Party — helping elevate shameless hucksters who know nothing about policy but are willing to spread misinformation in the service of gaining power.

But why do so many people fall for fake news in the first place? The Atlantic has a theory.

I’ve always wondered why we slow down for car accidents. And the author of the book, [Gavin de Becker,] says, We always slow down for car accidents out of an ancient impulse, which is that humans want to learn. That’s why we developed these enormous brains. People always want to learn.

And I thought, you know what, that’s true. Even people who are sending around these stupid stories that are complete BS, they would latch onto actual news, not conspiracy theories, if there was more actual news out there. I think that people are going about the fake news issue the wrong way. Pinching off fake news isn’t the answer. The answer is flooding it with actual news.

Yeah, well, maybe. But I think people also slow down for car crashes because, despite themselves, they hope they’ll see a bloody, dead body. And the reason is so that they can later be the center of attention, when they describe it to their friends.

I think that’s at the heart of it. Look, even legitimate news sources quote the old saying, “if it bleeds, it leads,” meaning we really do want to hear about guts and gore. Who wants to read about a car crash in which everybody walked away without a scratch? Seriously, do so many people really watch Nascar hoping nothing happens?

Maybe the example we need is professional wrestling. Most people know it’s fake. But they still love to watch it, cheering on “the good guy,” as if it were real. We want to have “good guys,” and so, we create in our minds a fantasy that people who believe as we do are “good guys,” fighting the “good fight,” when we really know it’s all about power and profit and senseless confrontation.

33 COMMENTS

  1. Fake news is being used as propaganda.
    I just watched BLM and Harvard request segregation.
    I have seen white people bring attacked for the color of their skin.
    I have seen the “liberal” word become distorted to now a type of action to shut down freedom of speech.
    I hope they continue… Let them make a fool of themselves. It will hurt the upcoming election.

    • Fake news, by definition, IS propaganda. Trouble is, propaganda usually has a kernel of truth, which is then spun. These days, totally false stories are made up, such as the one claiming that Trump sent a tape recording to Moscow, telling them he’d do their bidding.

      Also, it’s scary that there’s now fake news coming from both sides–and many of us never even bother to check the opposite side of an argument.

      • I agree. A great example was the Russian dossier that was being spread around… I kept hearing Maxine and Speaker Nancy Pelosi talk about it in an. Indirect way.. it turned out to be propaganda. This are congress!!! They are leaders being manipulated and spreading it.

        • During the election, the rightwing said Pope Francis endorsed Trump, while the leftwing said that he excommunicated Trump. Both lies.

          • Exactly… I have a friend Republican, who is a Christian but not Catholic, keep asking me about the Pope. Ugh. He certainly is a different type of Pope we are used to. If my grandparents were still alive I would love to get a take on their reactions to him and his views. My father is a fan. I am guarded to rely on his views when they veer off topic of the Bible.
            It doesn’t keep me up at night. But it does peak my interest.

            • Those of us who are older don’t consider Francis “different.” He is in the mold of John XXIII. It’s only in very recent years that we’re “used to” popes like Benedict, the former member of the Hitler Youth.

            • That was beneath you.

              I was referring to his thoughts on climate change. Which is a newly developed theory that came from the previous global warming.

              We had always been taught to forgive, and treat each other with respect and understanding. We also were taught to ask forgiveness from our Lord and Savior for out sins.

              Even ISIS is new. The destruction of churches and beheading of priest and raping nuns… All new. We haven’t seen this type of actions in decades.

            • Check out Wikipedia. Here is an excerpt.
              Shame on you.
              Ratzinger’s family, especially his father, bitterly resented the Nazis, and his father’s opposition to Nazism resulted in demotions and harassment of the family.[12] Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth—as membership was required by law for all 14-year-old German boys after March 1939[13]—but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings, according to his brother.[14] In 1941, one of Ratzinger’s cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and murdered during the Action T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics.[15] In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer.[14] Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry.[16] As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family’s home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist, just as American troops established a headquarters in the Ratzinger household.[17] As a German soldier, he was interned in a prisoner of war camp, but released a few months later at the end of the war in May 1945.[17]

            • Shame for the truth? As I said, and you confirmed, Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth. I just didn’t include that he was in the Nazi infantry or anti-aircraft corps.

              His were dark days for the Holy See.

            • It was required by law… Forced upon him.
              He did not volunteer… Like George Soros did.

              Why did you add it to your comment? What was your purpose? I think it is that you WANT to smear him.

              That is shameful. However, I should thank you. I had never knew about his young life. I learned alot and now have a deeper respect for him. Thank you.

            • It was a fact. It was part of his makeup. And as pope, he acted like a stereotypical German authoritarian figure, not a shepherd of a flock. That was the point. I only brought it up to show the contrast.

              The current pope is about humility and compassion. BIG difference.

            • He did not. He tried to hold the position of the church high. Don’t forget they had serious problems that needed to be addressed at the time. Including priest that became child molesters. Things were being done that did not adhere to our Christian beliefs. It had to be addressed. He also was a traditionalist?. He followed the traditional way.

              But this Pope is different. He is strangely different. I do not know yet which direction he is leading the people. I’m not sure if his direction will truly be felt for a while. I also don’t understand why he has become a political figure.

              I think you are wrong to have said anything about his leadership. He did his job with Honor. Like a Shepard with his flock. This Pope is becoming more of a global leader and not trying to get people to heaven but push for world peace??? It’s not bad or wrong just different .

            • What is so wrong about Latin? How was that a “stereotypical German authoritarian figure”?
              Those are your words. Maybe you appreciate how this Pope is different? from the last. You may like how the Pope is becoming a leader, I would rather he be a servent to our religion. Either way if in the end we get closer to being a better Catholic, great.

            • I remember Pius XII. He was ok. John XXIII was the best pope of my lifetime. Not crazy about any of the popes between John and Francis. Just like I haven’t had much respect for any presidents after Harry, Ike, and Jack.

            • To bring a tangential discussion back, the last I heard of Lousie Mencsh in the UK was when she was on Twiiter criticising Pope Benedict/Ratzinger for abdicating. I had a go at her as she’d quit as an MP two years into her first 5 year term. I didn’t realise she’d gone over to the “dark side” of political conspiracy theorists. It’s no wonder UK media doesn’t seek her opinion on politics anymore.

    • You told me, over and over, to watch “Hillary’s America, just as if it were true, and then you talk about propaganda. You need to remove several beams from your eye before you comment upon the mote in your neighbor’s.

  2. I wonder if Louise Mensch can help me. Somebody stole my Coke from the company fridge. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was the Russians behind the theft. Perhaps Louise Mensch can get to the bottom of it??

    Does she wear tin foil hats to keep the government from stealing her brain waves? I wonder why all the nutjobs like this woman, Keith Olbermann, Al Franken and many more are liberals? ?

    With all this conspiracy nonsense, pretty soon the Democrats are going to be called the LOONIES!!!?

    • I kept asking Goethe to do a spread on the DNC chair. ?
      They have been embarrassing the party for a while. I laughed so hard when Hillary thru them under the bus..???

    • Louise Mensch is from England and is a journalist, novelist, blogger, and former British MP. Mensch was elected Conservative MP for Corby in the 2010 UK general election. Mensch resigned from Parliament in August 2012 to move to New York City with her new American husband.

      In 2014, she began working for News Corporation, and co-launched its Heat Street website in February 2016. Since leaving Heat Street in mid-December 2016, she has published primarily on her blog.
      It’s not that I agree with Mensch…just as I do not agree with your witless post but I am a strong believer that we all have the unalienable right to speak about our convictions.

      • You’re back? While I can see that you write in great detail about a subject, it is nothing you can’t get from WIKIPEDIA. In other words your attempt to impress me has fallen flat.?

        But you do have the right to post your PLAGIARISM any time you want to. Just don’t expect me to applaud you.?

        • Straight Shooter…Off base again. Believe me, I have no calling to impress you? Just urging you to improve your basic thinking pattern and hoping you will take the time to research the subject before answering.

          Don’t be so bold as to accuse anyone of plagiarism without offering when, where, and how. You are guilty of libel (look it up). My information did not come from Wikipedia but what if it did? It is considered a reliable source.

          • If someone is quoting a source, we prefer that they give a link, so that readers can check for themselves. But when it’s clear that someone is quoting a source, if a reader doubts it, he or she just needs to ask, “sez hoo?”

            There is no such thing as a “new” thought. It’s only “plagiarism” if it is claimed as never before presented.

            Everything in our heads has come from somewhere. What we see as a “new thought” is really just processing and presenting a variation of the old.

          • Are you sure that you aren’t trying to impress. Blowhards such as you live for the adulation. Adulation and being condescending are your life force.?

            As far as trying to deflect my comment about your PLAGIARISM by blaming me of libel, I am not at all surprised. Didn’t your heroine Billary attempt to do the same to President Trump during their debates. You’re simply following her strategy. Do you in fact have a strategy of your own, or are you content to mimic others??

  3. Personally i thought the birthier issue was silly. But some still won’t accept where Obama was born and that his mother was a US citizen.

    I read somewhere that at one time both parents were supposed to be US citizens. But those days are long gone.

    • This has been heavily discussed here. One interpretation–at the time the Constitution was written—was that “Natural Born Citizen” meant not only born on American soil, but also, as you say, both parents should be lifelong residents, so that “Americanism” would be deeply ingrained in the candidate.

      That more conservative interpretation would have banned Obama–as well as Cruz and Rubio.

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