Dan Rather took some time out of his forced retirement to chat with Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show last Friday, and the subject–as it almost always does–turned to Donald J. Trump, and the unusual election of 2016 that sent him to the White House. Rather expressed concern over how allegations of Russian interference in the election have imperiled Trump’s presidency, and put the entire country in danger by undermining the public’s confidence in the electoral process:
RATHER: I would say the Trump presidency is in peril, and because it’s in peril, we are in some danger ourselves, because there’s a lot that needs to be done in the country. But you know, there’s so much talk about Trump and Comey, and who’s telling the truth, and who isn’t telling the truth, I think it’s really important for Americans to understand, the big question: How this all started and how it, the direction where it should go, is what did the Russians do?
RATHER: Because, here you have a situation, the Russians pulled off what I call a psychological Pearl Harbor. A surprise attack that was devastating to the confidence of our whole situation of elections, and therefore our whole system of government. It’s one of the great psychological warfare victories in the history of —
MADDOW: And it’s interesting because you can look at history, recent history, and see them do the same thing to small countries, and other countries in their geographic and ideological orbit, you know, former Soviet states, and small countries on their borders, so we can see them doing it. But it was a shock and a surprise to us because we thought hey, we think of ourselves as a country that’s protected by our oceans, but also we think of ourselves as the great power in the world, the sole surviving superpower in the world, someone who would never be susceptible to the kind of tactics that work against these smaller countries Russia’s been influencing –
RATHER: And I believe, if it was tried, it wouldn’t work against us, in our hubris, if you want to use that word, we were too confident, we were overconfident. ‘Listen, if the Russians ever tried that here, it would never work in America.’ Well, it worked to a devastating, if not catastrophic effect, and I call it a psychological Pearl Harbor.
It was a catastrophe, all right–but to Rather, Maddow and the rest of their media brethren, it had less to do with the Russkies and more to do with their chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, blowing an election that was supposed to be hers to lose. That’s because the media thought they had handed it to her on a silver platter. Donald Trump was the Republican she most wanted to face in the general election, as she thought he’d be the easiest to defeat–and so the media gave him a billion dollars worth of free publicity, hoping against all hope that he would get the nomination. That Trump was also great for ratings was just a sweet bonus.
But then a funny thing happened. The country didn’t play along with the media’s game and elected Trump anyway. Talk about a psychological Pearl Harbor!
Dan Rather’s disingenuousness goes even deeper than that, however. This is the same man, after all, who attempted to sway the 2004 election to John Kerry when he used fabricated memos to back up a phony story about George W. Bush going AWOL from his service in the Texas Air National Guard. For him to be going on about how the Russians undermined the sanctity of our elections by spreading fake news is a real knee slapper. Or perhaps he just thinks that’s the American media’s job. Sucks to be outsourced, doesn’t it, Dan?
As for Rachel Maddow, she’s also not taking her share of the responsibility when it comes to making this great and powerful nation more susceptible to the kind of tactics she and rather dished about in between thoughtful nods and furrowed brows. Did it ever occur to her that maybe the Russians didn’t even really care about who won the election, so long as they achieved their objective of a weakened president? Let’s assume for a moment that all the conspiracy theories are right, and that Pooty-Poot Putin really did phish John Podesta’s emails and then handed them over to Wikileaks to damage Hillary Clinton. Based on all projections, Putin still would have had no reason to believe that Trump would pull out a win–so it’s far more likely that he would have simply been trying to diminish Clinton’s ability to govern.
Also, if Maddow and Rather are so concerned about the dangers of undermining faith in the electoral system, why are they relentlessly hyping that the Russians tried to help Donald Trump–a story for which there is literally no evidence? They’ve already got half of the Democrat electorate thinking that Putin literally compromised voting machines to alter voting tallies, an outrageous falsehood that the media have been perpetuating through innuendo by saying that the Russians “hacked the election.” There’s a big difference between spreading propaganda in an attempt to influence the vote–which is something that the Russians certainly do–and actual hacking. And yet the media deliberately blur the distinction between the two, all because they want to weaken the Trump presidency.
So doesn’t that mean the media are, in effect, helping Putin?
Rather might want to give the matter some thought before he opens his yap again.