An Ethics Hypothetical: If “The Nation” Is Right About The DNC Hacks, How Should Democrats And The Mainstream Media React?

And how will they react?

Yesterday, The Nation, the most Left of the Left’s major national publications, reported this:

  • There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
  • Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

“This narrative” has been a cornerstone of the effort, undemocratic and indefensible, to undermine the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency from the beginning. It was launched as a primary rationalization for Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss, James Comey and a sexist, racist, stupid electorate being the others. As the Nation writes,

“The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.”

The Nation’s report, essentially declaring that a major element in the “Russiagate” narrative, the DNC hacks, is fiction, that the intelligence agencies that declared it otherwise are wrong, and that Wikileaks, Russia, Putin and Donald Trump have been correct all along is noteworthy because the publication is no ally of the Republicans or Trump, but their declared intractable foes. This is an ideological publication, squarely in Bernie Sanders’ camp because it is run by Socialists like Bernie. But bias doesn’t necessarily make you stupid. The Nation has been around for a long time because while its analysis is colored by it view of humanity and the world, it has largely avoided the kind of dishonesty and distortion that are slowly destroying the credibility of CNN, Rolling Stone, the New York Times and others. The Nation has strived to maintain its integrity, not always succeeding, but obviously trying. Its staff believes that the truth supports its dedication to socialism, so it does not usually try to hide the truth—unlike the mainstream media reporters, for example, who apparently tried hard to make the troubling episode of Bill Clinton’s meeting with Loretta Lynch go away.

I have no idea if The Nation is right that the DNC hacks weren’t hacks at all, but insider leaks. Intuitively, this has always seemed to me to be a more plausible scenario. The DNC was cheating Bernie supporters, bolstering Clinton’ s lies about her server and enabling the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play schemes, while using almost laughably incompetent cyber-security measures. Surely not everyone in the Democratic National Committee was happy to assist in this unethical mess, hypnotized by Hillary, and proudly complicit. Leaks are easier than hacks. Occam’s Razor always suggested that the revelation of this damning evidence didn’t need the Russians. The recent developments involving former DNC chair Debby Wasserman Schultz has done nothing to make Occam look misguided.

Presumably we will find out the truth; I’m putting the Nation’s Ethics Hero award in escrow until we do.

My question is how the Democrats and “the resistance” will react if, in fact, Russia had nothing to do with the exposed DNC e-mails  Will they be able to muster the courage, character and integrity to admit that they were wrong? Will the apologize to the President? Will they accept responsibility and be accountable, even as the President tweets taunts and mockery? Will they learn anything? Will they start behaving like citizens of a democracy instead of anarchists and saboteurs?

Can you guess my answers?

33 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Science & Technology, Workplace

33 responses to “An Ethics Hypothetical: If “The Nation” Is Right About The DNC Hacks, How Should Democrats And The Mainstream Media React?

  1. Rick M.

    To answer the last paragraph – no.

    • Joe Fowler

      I’m afraid that you’re right, Rick. The comments on the source article are rife with denial and misinformation. Most of the deniers are focused on some of the technical aspects, and either actually don’t understand them or are deliberately attempting to confuse others: the difference between Mbps (mega BITS per second) and MBPS (mega BYTES per second) is easily confused; internet connection speed is not the same as upload speed, but who the hell knows that? One diligent commenter corrected others repeatedly, until he either dropped from exhaustion or realized that the facts are not welcome in that particular discussion. The readers of The Nation are not pleased with the article.

      • Rusty Rebar

        Yeah, that is not even the most compelling argument in the article, but they try to (incorrectly) bat that down and then just ignore all of the other stuff and pretend that they have debunked everything.

  2. This is actually more damning than I think I realized at first… Despite the whole “Russia hacked the election” rhetoric, I’ve always been able to say that no one in the know was genuinely suggesting that Russian operatives hacked a voting machine, instead, people were suggesting that Russian operatives hacked the DNC servers and published inconvenient truths for the public to see. Now… If as opposed to Russia being involved at all… If this was an inside job done by a disenfranchised DNC employee…. I mean… All this new Commie Fever we’ve been dealing with for the last quarter will really seem embarrassing in hindsight, won’t it?

    • Other Bill

      HT,if it was an inside job, etc. and there was no Russian involvement, The Resistance will just come up with another story. No apology, no correction. Just Plan B. Full steam ahead. They won’t miss a beat.

      • Junkmailfolder

        It’ll be something along the lines of “if it started a national conversation about something problematic, like foreign governments getting involved in our business, it’s a good thing!”

        Remember, we’ve always been at war with Eurasia!

  3. dragin_dragon

    Oh, and SUCH a surprise!!!! Thank you SO much. You have made my day!!

  4. There’s the ever popular well, if it didn’t happen it is something we can imagine happened so it’s the same as if it happened.

  5. “My question is how the Democrats and “the resistance” will react if, in fact, Russia had nothing to do with the exposed DNC e-mails?”

    Draft answer: “There is no suggestion that the content of the emails had any impact on the election. As our intelligence agencies unanimously reported, the Russians deployed an array of disinformation, including repetitive reports by RT television and a vast army of online ‘trolls’, endlessly spinning the false story that the emails contained information damaging to the Clinton campaign, as well as public statements by Vladimir Putin himself – all in order to elevate Trump to the American Presidency. Trump’s public statements during the campaign, combined with the recently proven secret contacts between the Trump campaign and high-ranking Russian officials, leave us deeply concerned that the 2016 election was procured against the will of the majority of American voters through the intrigues of our major international adversary.”

  6. “How Should Democrats And The Mainstream Media React?”

    With a glassy-eyin’ lock-steppin’ unquestionin’ full-throated exclamatory utterance, consisting of but two well-chosen words:

    FAKE NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Isaac

    Here’s an idea: They can just substitute “Russians” with “leaker.” As in, “we have to find out who the leaker was and what his or her connections are to Donald Trump. Also, we need to keep this Russian investigation going anyway for as long as possible just in case we find any other shady stuff that might be going on.”

    Then they can quietly shelve the Russia investigations and spend the next three years probing Trump about the leaks, and investigating everyone with any sort of relationship to both Donald Trump and the DNC. Instead of “Russia hacked the election” it can be “Trump surrogates infiltrated the DNC.” All sorts of new “revelations” can come up (and then also be quietly shelved when they turn out to be nothing) and by election year they can still say that the Trump administration has been “plagued by scandals and intrigue” throughout.

    And so you see, there is always still a path to victory.

  8. You said, “This narrative” has been a cornerstone of the effort, undemocratic and indefensible, to undermine the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency from the beginning.

    This has never been my cornerstone. I turned against Trump when he authorized (permitted… whatever) the USDA to go soft on animal abuse. It’s been downhill from there. The man is unfit to be President of the United States.

    I won’t bother to pull in Charlottesville, VA right now. I’m sure you will post about Friday night and whatever happens at today’s rally.

    • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

      I need info on the USDA issue. I care about this. Please advise.

    • I have to say, fatty, that making animal abuse a single issue crusade is bizarre, I wonder how many people who should have voted for Romney—Obama being demonstrably weak, dishonest and inept—and would have saved a hundred thousand lives or more by doing so boycotted Mitt because he mistreated his Irish Setter.

      The President who was probably our most animal friendly of all, US Grant, let Sheridan massacre the Native American tribes. Somehow I think the latter was a bit more important. The President who slaughtered the most animals was the father of environmentalism. It would be nice if life and its attendant trade-offs were simple. They aren’t.

      • fattymoon

        Not a single issue, Jack, but a dual pronged issue… add in his endorsement of human torture. Where I come from that’s a bad bad combo which indicates to me the man is morally and ethically bereft. Add to that the apparent rathole in Charlottesville yesterday and today, which, in great measure I attribute to Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign and continuing through his term office, indicates (again) the man is a divisive clown with little sense of decency.

        For the record, I was not at all offended or dismayed today by Trump’s comments on the events in Charlottesville. It takes two to tango… if the people against the alt-right had stayed quietly on the sidelines there likely would have been few disturbances. I speak from authority here. I attended a skinhead march and rally in Pulaski, Tennessee, birthplace of the Klan. The townspeople, who wanted nothing to do with the event, watched silently from the storefronts around the tow square. No counter protests. No clashes. No violence.

  9. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    Re the larger issue: A Democratic campaign leaker must have been on Trump’s payroll, right? It will still be viewed as Trump tampering — either internationally or through a paid hacker — with the election. They won’t give in, and will make new and sillier excuses to support what they simply must believe to be true. It’s become a pathology, and no conservative, honest, and rational exploration of the issue (“The Nation” or anyone else) will change attitudes and hopes and beliefs one bit.

  10. I emailed The Nation article to an Über-Lefty pal, he sent this back.

    http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/08/the-nation-article-about-the-dnc-hack-is-incoherent.html

    I reckon you’d expect Lefty to break out the big guns with something like this hitting the fan.

    Funniest thing, it lambastes Lawrence for writing it and excoriates The Nation for running it, but not much else.

    • Of course. The crime is breaking ranks.

    • Isaac

      From the nymag.com “debunking” this is the closest thing to an actual argument:

      “Most households don’t get internet speeds that high, but enterprise operations, like the DNC — or, uh, the FSB — would have access to a higher but certainly not unattainable speed like that.”

      And that is completely wrong. And also not attributed to any sort of authority…the author just says it. Every tech expert I’ve seen weigh in on this says unequivocally that 22MB per second is a speed that does not exist anywhere on the web. You can do it in one location, but not across the internet. And there’s only one internet, whether you’re the DNC or the Kremlin or a hacker.

      I am open to someone debunking the claims in the Nation article, but if a major media outlet is going to flat out lie in order to try to pull a “move along, nothing to see here” instead of going to an expert and actually, you know, investigating the claims…it’s just making the “inside job” position look that must stronger.

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