CNN’s Russian Intelligentsia

Just have a minute to dash off something quickly, but Your Poor Correspondent‘s (YPC’s) wants to focus on Glenn Greenwald’s recent article, “The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer.” The article is based on reports released by both CNN and Buzzfeed that Russia had compiled a dossier on incoming president Donald Trump that featured all manner of sexual impropriety.

Even with YPC’s dilettante-level intelligence analysis capabilities, it was pretty clear that this dossier, a 35 page of very specious innuendo, had major problems. But that didn’t prevent CNN and Buzzfeed to run with it. They did, and it was discredited fairly quickly and had continued to be increasingly discredited over time.

And yet the report has been accepted by smart people who should otherwise know better, and I’m thinking particularly of economists and political economists. It seems that having a PhD makes one even more included to accept the idea that Trump, Comey, or the American public was influenced by Russia, when it is far more likely that the Clinton Foundation was judged as corrupt, Hillary Clinton was deemed unlikable, or the emails of her campaign manager, John Podesta, were seen as creepy.

But on the night the so-called “dossier”—if a bunch of obviously made up allegations can be called a “dossier”—I counted like five otherwise intelligent people who immediately believed the dossier, believed it with minor qualifications or misgivings, or found the dossier not credible but “thought it was funny” or “if it’s not true, it should be true.”

Much of this agreement by otherwise intelligent people is driven not only by selection bias, the idea of agreeing with evidence that conforms to one’s previously established ways of thinking, but the effect is magnified by the persistent leftward bias of journalists and academics as well as the power and pervasiveness of the mainstream media. The result is the groupthink of a dominant narrative in which the political establishment, which includes the intelligentsia of academics and journalists, are very invested. They are well compensated and, to use a Marxist phrase, control the “commanding heights” of political and economic power. Trump represents an “existential threat” to that power, and it will not be wrested from them without a fight.

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