Monday, June 20, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 and the Corporate Media's Credibility

If you googled Hillary Clinton over the weekend, you had a hard time finding mainstream stories about Guccifer 2.0 because they were all buried beneath layers of commentary on the birth of Clinton's newborn grandson Aidan.

That's not evidence of an elaborate plot to forge a media narrative; it's simply business as usual for our corporate news sources, which routinely privilege distractions over substance.

The limited coverage of the Guccifer 2.0 story appeared in news outlets such as Gawker and The Inquisitr and on fact-checking websites such as Snopes.

Guccifer 2.0 was barely mentioned (if at all) in more high-profile/mainstream publications, and the stories concerning the leak that did appear in such publications (e.g. Wired and The Wall Street Journal) focused far less on the content of what was made public than on arguments about culpability for the breach.

Here's a representative paragraph from the Wired article by Andy Greenberg:
But just as lurid as the leaked data has been the fingerpointing that came after. Earlier in the week, the security firm Crowdstrike, which the DNC brought in to remediate the breach, published a blog post claiming that a pair of hacker groups based in Russia and associated with the government’s intelligence apparatus carried out the intrusion. The post pointed to the specific malware and tactics linked with the Russian groups known as Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear. Both have a history of hacking high-value international intelligence targets.
Note that Greenberg can't vouch for the veracity of CrowdStrike's assertions; his purpose here is merely to summarize what their website claims. This tone of responsible skepticism is the most striking distinction between the way the Guccifer 2.0 leak is being handled in the mainstream press and the way it is being handled in more partisan outlets.

The notoriously right-wing New York Post, for example, ran this headline on the 16th: Leaked document shows DNC wanted Clinton from start. The purpose of that article isn't to establish the authenticity of the Guccifer 2.0 leak, but to presume its authenticity and spin a specific point as negatively as possible against the likely Democratic nominee.

We saw a similar slant taken by the The New York Observer (owned by Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and therefore presumably more sympathetic to Trump than Clinton). On the 17th, the Observer ran this piece by Michael Sainato: Guccifer 2.0 Leak Reveals How DNC Rigged Primaries for Clinton.

The Sainato article is especially noteworthy because of its final paragraph, which reads more like an excerpt from a Bernie Sanders speech than a piece of journalism concerning cybercrime:
The Democratic primaries exhibited a stark disregard for the values endemic to democracy, nearly solidifying an oligarchy in which corporations and wealthy donors use the government as a means to perpetuate their own agendas. These interests circumvented democracy to help Hillary Clinton out-raise Bernie Sanders by over $80 million from Super-PACs. These are the companies who offshore thousands of American jobs, who pushed for a Wall Street bailout when their greed and recklessness delivered our country into the worst recession since the Great Depression, and who have destabilized foreign regions around the world through unnecessary military intervention. Hillary Clinton represents an extension of disastrous policies, and her coronation by Establishment Democrats ensures corruption and dirty politics will continue as the status quo for years to come.
Although The Observer isn't backing Sanders, egging Sanders supporters on in their resistance to Clinton could definitely play to Trump's advantage, so it's not hard to see why this article ends on such a polemical note.

Just think how the title of Sainato's piece would have been edited before appearing in something like The New York Times: "Guccifer 2.0 Leak (If Genuine) Suggests Premature Partnership between DNC and Clinton."

But The New York Times didn't run any such headline because it wasn't interested in the Guccifer 2.0 story.

The Grey Lady's editors may, as many Sanders supporters suspect, have chosen to ignore this story because they think it would be too damaging to their darling candidate.

But what if they're ignoring the Guccifer 2.0 leak because they have good reason to believe it's a hoax?

This possibility keeps nagging me as I see prominent alternative media analysts (including Jordan Chariton and Jimmy Dore of TYT) arguing that the Guccifer 2.0 leak must be authentic simply because the DNC refuses to go on record denying its authenticity.

I love the zeal of Chariton and Dore, but I urge all Sanders supporters to proceed with extreme caution concerning anything on the Guccifer 2.0 website. So much of the leaked information is a matter of public record that we should be skeptical about anything that isn't already part of the public record--such as a letter that neatly confirms all the suspicions of outraged Sanders supporters being posted on a newly launched website by some unknown person/people claiming to have hacked the DNC.

C'mon guys--let's calm down.

Less than five years ago, CrowdStrike's president (Shawn Henry) used the notorious LulzSec/AntiSec hacker Sabu to deceive the world when both he (Henry) and his informant (Sabu) worked for the FBI. It is therefore entirely possible that Henry is using Guccifer 2.0 to deceive us in the same way.

Remember that CrowdStrike officially works for the DNC, not the public interest. The DNC has, under our noses, mounted a months-long disinformation campaign concerning Hillary Clinton. That disinformation campaign has largely failed because its primary vehicle (the corporate media) is widely distrusted by the American public.

Please consider the obvious ways in which the Guccifer 2.0 leak--if it proves to be a hoax--will simultaneously discredit all the alternative media sources that embraced it and restore credibility to the mainstream corporate news entities that ignored it.

Again, proceed with caution.

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