Adam Schiff: A Panel on The Russia ‘Virus’

A call for “Alamo Sanity,” triggered the use of inflammatory “Cruz” hashtags and images on social media, which then spread around the country and to other countries. Dianne Feinstein alluded to this sinister “Parkland…

Adam Schiff: A Panel on The Russia ‘Virus’

A call for “Alamo Sanity,” triggered the use of inflammatory “Cruz” hashtags and images on social media, which then spread around the country and to other countries.

Dianne Feinstein alluded to this sinister “Parkland Effect” while attending the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech, calling it an extension of Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric. Other studies have found that “fake news” can lead to increased anxiety and stress.

The whole phenomenon of “fake news” threatens our democracy and lives of Americans on every level. We can see this in sensationalized, vitriolic debates of very small issues and false claims that seem to flow more freely. Also troubling are new school laws in Oregon and Oregon State University requiring student identification cards to distinguish between those who are who they say they are and those who are looking to discriminate. Students at both schools have asked if this new law conflicts with First Amendment freedoms.

The media that perpetuates these lies and exaggerated reports disregard facts, breaking the trust of the American people.

There’s a dark conspiracy theory gaining strength in the United States that was popularized in right-wing news sites but has increasingly spread on the Internet. It’s the idea that the Russian government is doing everything in its power to swing the upcoming midterm elections in favor of Democrat candidates, and it’s spreading among suspicious American citizens. And the dissemination of this dark conspiracy theory comes directly from inside the Obama White House.

The Associated Press recently reported that the FBI agents who helped capture the culprits responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history were told by Obama administration officials that it was possible that the perpetrators were an inside job – that they were actually Obama-connected operatives.

U.S. attorney Philip H. Matasar, the official who took over the case, agreed with the agents and former officials to the contrary.

“The investigation was not about conspiracy with the Obama administration – which led at least one of our prosecutors to say it was ‘extremely unlikely’ that it involved inside-the-Beltway actors,” said Matasar.

The growth of the Russian “op conspiracy” is alarming. This false story was first suggested on social media by the right-wing American website World Net Daily and in right-wing talk radio programs before exploding online, especially through social media.

Some of the signs of their spreading include the use of prominent names and images, like the presidential Seal, as a scare tactic to sell the story. And during the month of September, conspiracy theory stories had been viewed by more than 1 million Americans on Facebook. More recent online reports have even found support from police and medical experts who say the theories are not only false but are dangerous and especially dangerous for schoolchildren.

The Kremlin has been a lightning rod for American concerns for decades. Just two weeks ago, a U.S. judge issued a nationwide injunction blocking the use of the “Lexus” meme, an Internet meme that connects President Donald Trump’s affinity for luxury vehicles with alleged Russian influence.

As former FBI Director James Comey so wonderfully put it: “The virus goes from virus to virus, infecting the American mind.” This time the virus could infect a major institution. But like so many people from the 1980s and 1990s, who failed to think critically in attempting to untangle the complexities of the time, we could easily get sucked into the same traffic jam where political rot and conspiracies infected us.

This was true in the 1988 presidential campaign, as well as during the early part of the Bush administration.

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) was a member of the House of Representatives when Republicans were attacking the validity of the investigation into the Iran-Contra Affair. And Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) was a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Both men are now in Congress and chairs committees focused on issues related to freedom, national security and civic engagement.

Co-authored by Lois Riess of the National Journal and Adam

Leave a Comment