Mother Jones recently announced it’s “redoubling our Russia reporting”—in What passes for “Russia reporting” at Mother Jones is mostly just glorified InfoWars paranoia for progressive marks — a cataract of xenophobic conspiracy theories about inscrutable Russian barbarians hellbent on subverting our way of life, spreading chaos, destroying freedom & democracy & tolerance wherever they once flourished, because they hate us, because we’re free.
What was liberal and progressive, such as Mother Jones and not to be outdone, the Nation, have become parodies of themselves. George W Bush and the Neocons were war criminals, they coerced disinformation from American Intelligence agencies to bring us into unceasing wars. They squandered every penny we have and borrowed deep into our future. Is ‘progressive’ some odd conflation for debt and war and deceptions used to preserve an inverted corporate totalitarian system? Once they warned us about the deep state, today they are its proxies. Now, George W. Bush is an adorable former President swaying to gospel music, having (staged) difficulties putting on a poncho, thank goodness the cameras were all pointed to him for those precious moments! The neocons are now the wise old white men, they are TV pundits and write OpEds for the Nation and Mother Jones and whatever other progressive media outlets they have sunken into.
And here we are, in 2017 with a public frenzied with every panicked and wholly incoherent utterance. The so-called “Russia reporting” of the last year has taken journalistic malpractice to unimagined depths — whether it’s from Mother Jones or MSNBC, or the Washington Post or Resistance hero Louise Mensch.
But of all the liberal media, Mother Jones should be most ashamed for fueling the moral panic about Russian “disinformation”. It wasn’t too long ago that the Reagan Right attacked Mother Jones for spreading “Kremlin disinformation” and subverting America. There were threats and leaks to the media about a possible Senate investigation into Mother Jones serving as a Kremlin disinformation dupe, a threat that hung over the magazine throughout the early Reagan years. A new Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism (SST for short) was set up in 1981 to investigate Kremlin “disinformation” and “active measures” in America, and the American “dupes” who helped Moscow subvert our way of life. That subcommittee was created to harass and repress leftist anti-imperial dissent in America, using “terrorism” as the main threat, and “disinformation” as terrorism’s fellow traveller. The way the SST committee put it, “terrorism” and “Kremlin disinformation” were one and the same, a meta-conspiracy run out of Moscow to weaken America.
And Mother Jones was one of the first American media outlets in the SST committee’s sites.
Adam Hochschild, the founding editor of Mother Jones responded publicly to the threats coming out of the Senate in the early Reagan years. In a New York Times op-ed published in late 1981, “Dis-(Mis-?)Information”, Hochschild wrote about a Republican Senate mailer sent out to 290 radio stations that accused Mother Jones of being Kremlin disinformation dupes. The mailer, on Senate letterhead, featured a tape recording of an interview between the chairman of the SST subcommittee, Sen. Jeremiah Denton of Alabama, and a committee witness— a “disinformation expert” named Arnaud de Borchgrave, author of a bestselling spy novel called “The Spike” — about a fictional Kremlin plot to subvert the West with disinformation, and thereby rule the world.
Here’s how Hochschild described the Republican Senate mailer in his NYTimes piece:
“In it, the writer Arnaud de Borchgrave accuses Mother Jones, the Village Voice, the Soho News, the Progressive magazine of serving as disseminators of K.G.B. ‘disinformation’ – the planting of false or misleading items in news media.“Mr. de Borchgrave provided no specific examples of facts or articles. But, then, the trouble with the K.G.B. is that you don’t know what disinformation it is feeding you because you don’t know who its myriad agents are. So the only safe thing is to distrust any author or magazine too critical of the United States. Because anyone who is against, say, the MX or the B-1 bomber could be working for the Russians.”
Here, the Mother Jones founder describes the menacing logic of pursuing the “Kremlin disinformation” conspiracy: any American critical of US military power, police power, corporate power, overseas power . . . anyone critical of anything that powerful Americans do, is a Kremlin disinformation dupe whether they know it or not. That leaves only the appointed accusers to decide who is and who isn’t a Kremlin agent.
Hochschild called this panic over Kremlin disinformation another “Red Scare”, warning,
“[T]o accuse critical American journalists of serving as its unwitting dupes makes as little sense as Russians accusing rebellious Poles of being unwitting agents of American imperialism. When Mr. de Borchgrave accuses skeptical journalists of being unwitting purveyors of disinformation, the accusation is more slippery, less easy to definitively disprove, and less subject to libel law than if he were to accuse them of being conscious Communist agents.
“…Although if you believe the K.G.B. is successfully infiltrating America’s news media, then anything must seem possible.”
It’s a damn shame today’s editorial staff at Mother Jones aren’t aware of their own magazine’s history.
Then again, who am I fooling? Mother Jones wouldn’t care if you shoved their faces in their own recent history — they’re way too donor-deep invested in pushing this “active measures” conspiracy. Trump has been a goldmine of donor cash for anyone willing to carry the #Resistance water.
This is quite literally the case with Mother Jones, which has been a little coy about the deal it cut to “redouble” its “Russia reporting.” That deal involves partnering with a straight-up Red-baiting, Cold War-mongering website project called “PutinTrump” featuring a scary Soviet hammer and sickle in case the Cold War mongering wasn’t clear enough — with no mind to history and the fact that Russia is a neoliberal dystopia with a flat 13% income tax rate hailed as a “miracle” by the Heritage Foundation.
PutinTrump was a project set up last fall by tech plutocrat Rob Glaser, CEO and founder of RealNetworks, to scare voters into believing that voting for Trump is treason.
Mother Jones’ editor Clara Jeffery is denouncing WikiLeaks — yesterday’s journalism stars, today’s traitors — as “Russia[’s]…willing dupes and propagandists” while Mother Jones magazine turned itself into a mouthpiece for America’s spies peddling the same warmed-over conspiracy theories that once targeted Mother Jones.