We’re inarguably in the midst of an information war, and — though the battle cry against Fake News comes loudest from the corporate press — it is the corporate media who claims the most egregious track record of publishing false information.
Although it would seem these corporate-owned presstitutes have forgotten entirely the storied muckraking roots of journalism, a far more likely explanation for these lies and falsehoods contends their coziness with politicians and government officials inserts specific bias — if not flagrant propaganda.
Recent Red Scaremongering plastered across mainstream media headlines has intimated The Nefarious Russians responsible for everything from hacking the election in favor of Donald Trump to hacking into the power grid of Vermont — yet none of these allegations have been unassailably proven.
Despite cooler heads prevailing after President Obama used these baseless claims to impose sanctions, expel 35 diplomats, and bar entry into two compounds owned by Russia, this brash spate of corporate Fake News constitutes a treacherous game of Russian roulette.
President Vladimir Putin — though refusing to volley diplomatic tit-for-tat after Obama’s aggressive moves — has expressed exasperation with the United States’ constant anti-Russia haranguing, and alluded to a proportional or decisive response.
Thus, corporate media must be held to strictest account and called out for feckless reporting — such as a recent lackadaisical blunder by CNN.
To discuss Obama’s diplomatically combative actions — based on, as the White House termed it, “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities” — CNN opted for canned, industry-standard footage, ostensibly depicting hacking on a computer screen.
But it wasn’t hacking. At all. And, expectedly, the Internet hastily slammed the preposterous gaffe.
As PC Gamer’s Shaun Prescott observes about Bethesda Game Studios’ creation:
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“It'd be pretty hard for the Russians to hack America using the computers in Fallout 4. For one, the computers in Fallout 4 are not connected to the internet: in Bethesda's alternative history, America never makes it that far into the future. Another obstacle stopping Russia from hacking America via the computers in Fallout 4 is that, no matter how you approach it, it'd simply be impossible.”
It isn’t as if there are many choices for mainstream media when it comes to accurately portraying hacking. As one reader on the original post to Reddit by Poofylicious on the comical blooper aptly noted, “If you want to talk about hacking on a major news network, your choices are either that or a scene from The Matrix.”
Remember, however, it isn’t as if Russian government actors couldn’t — or haven’t — penetrated U.S. systems. But the narrative pushed by the Obama administration — and the embarrassed campaign of Hillary Clinton — has not shown viable evidence or sufficient motive this was done.
Amusing though the flub of a wholly unrealistic depiction of hacking might seem, to the susceptible somnambulant masses — and those unfamiliar with what the practice actually entails — the image conflates technical garblety-gook with menacing know-how, and thus instills unjustifiable fear.
That The Russians hacked anything remains a hollow accusation — even with a disclaimer-bearing joint brief from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, reading more as cautionary advice for IT specialists, that merely speculated on the assertion.
Indeed, that threadbare report has since been examined by independent journalists and security researchers seeking tangible proof the Obama administration acted rightly in rolling out diplomatic sanctions and expulsions — but dual-agency information instead raised more questions. (A meticulously detailed investigation of that joint report, by David Spring, can be found here.)
For CNN to even briefly use stock footage from a video game to portray hacking by The Russians epitomizes the nature of the bloviated assertion, itself — it may appear threatening, but it amounts to so much fiction.
Until officials from the inexplicably massive U.S. Intelligence Community come forth by name to provide irrefutable evidence The Russians hacked the election, various Democratic Party emails, or the power grid of Vermont, farcical story will fictitious smear of which only Senator Joseph McCarthy would be proud.
UPDATE: After this footage began going viral, CNN, apparently embarrassed, pulled it. However, here it is below.