Conspiracy? Trump Repeating Falsely Attributed Quote from Russian Media.

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Mick West

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In the recent Wikileaks dump of DNC emails there was one from Clinton Advisor Sidney Blumenthal which was simply a cut-and-paste forward of a Newsweek article by Kurt Eichenwald.


From:sidney.blumenthal@gmail.com To: undisclosed-recipients: Date: 2015-10-21 19:16 Subject: The truth...

http://www.newsweek.com/benghazi-bi...-one-americas-worst-political-outrages-385853

1. Key Section. Then whole article below...

NEWSWEEK Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages BY KURT EICHENWALD <http://www.newsweek.com/authors/kurt-eichenwald-0>
10/21/15 AT 4:18 PM .... *Secrets, Lies and Sidney Blumenthal* Trey Gowdy was demanding answers: What is the definition of unsolicited? At a hearing in June, the Benghazi committee‘s questioning of Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime associate of Hillary Clinton, had dragged on for hours. Republicans had yet to ask him a single question about the attack or
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This email was then blatantly misrepresent by the Russian news outlet Sputnik as if it was written Blumenthal himself. They later took this down, but it still shows up in Google:
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And here's an archived version of the Google cache:
http://archive.is/k8znT (also attached)
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With full text here:
[bunk]
22:23 10.10.2016Get short URL
0600
In a major revelation from the second batch of WikiLeaks emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta it was learned that Hillary's top confidante Sidney Blumenthal believed that the investigation into Benghazi was legitimate because it was "preventable" and the result of State Department negligence.

In an email titled "The Truth" from Hillary's top confidante Sidney Blumenthal, the adviser writing to undisclosed recipients said that "one important point that has been universally acknowledged by nine previous reports about Benghazi: The attack was almost certainly preventable" in what may turn out to be the big October surprise from the WikiLeaks released of emails hacked from the account of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta.

"Clinton was in charge of the State Department, and it failed to protect U.S. personnel at an American consulate in Libya. If the GOP wants to raise that as a talking point against her, it is legitimate," said Blumenthal putting to rest the Democratic Party talking point that the investigation into Clinton's management of the State Department at the time of the attack was nothing more than a partisan witch hunt.

Blumenthal went on to assail Republicans for failing to adequately research the Benghazi reports in making their case against Clinton on what he saw as a major vulnerability for her candidacy and claims to effective leadership. "Despite all the work that has already been done investigating the attacks, the Benghazi committee has demonstrated that its members either have not read the reports or do not care about the conclusions they reached."

The adviser went further in mocking the House Republican investigation saying, "Its members ask questions of witnesses that have already been answered-again and again. In fact, some of the questions that Republicans say have yet to be addressed have answers that are so well known they already appear on the Wikipedia page about the Benghazi attacks, sourced to the previous government reports."
Ultimately, it was the Clinton confidante's position that Hillary largely dodged a bullet due to the feckless and ineffective research by the House Special Committee on Benghazi to force the truth to light and to be diligent enough to examine the record that was provided by congressional researchers for their use.

Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the Benghazi Committee for 11 hours and often references her ability to stand up to questioning as a sign of her toughness.
[/bunk]

Now this could just be spun as a mistake on the Sputnik's part, one that they quickly corrected (although without any public retraction). But then the fake story was very quickly repeated by Donald Trump, as Kurt Eichenwald (the actual author) describes:
http://www.newsweek.com/vladimir-pu...-clinton-donald-trump-benghazi-sputnik-508635

At a rally in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump spoke while holding a document in his hand. He told the assembled crowd that it was an email from Blumenthal, whom he called “sleazy Sidney.”

“This just came out a little while ago,’’ Trump said. “I have to tell you this.” And then he read the words from my article.

“He’s now admitting they could have done something about Benghazi,’’ Trump said, dropping the document to the floor. “This just came out a little while ago.”

The crowd booed and chanted, “Lock her up!”

This is not funny. It is terrifying. The Russians engage in a sloppy disinformation effort and, before the day is out, the Republican nominee for president is standing on a stage reciting the manufactured story as truth. How did this happen? Who in the Trump campaign was feeding him falsehoods straight from the Kremlin? (The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.)
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I don't have much to add to the mainstream coverage of this story, however it's interesting from a meta view of conspiracy theories. Something happened here. We don't know exactly who did what or why, but obviously there are multiple theories. Just incompetence? Russian propaganda gone wrong? Direct links from the Trump campaign to the Russians? Trump just not caring about the veracity of something so long as it's written down somewhere and fits his narrative?

What's the timeline here?

The Sputnik story html gives the date as 2016-10-10T22:23:12Z, the "Z" meaning Zulu of GMT. That's 6PM EDT

Trump's Rally in Wilkes-Barre was on 2016-10-10 at 6PM EDT.

So if the time on the article is correct, the Sputnik article (which appeared almost nowhere else in full on the Internet indexed by Google until I posted it here) was published almost directly before Trump talked about it.

While Sputnik took the story down, it escaped to at least one news regurgitation site, and once it's out, it's hard to stop. It looks legitimate to the casual reader, so will likely just continue to be reposted, even with the significant media coverage of the fake story.
 

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deirdre

Senior Member.
Trump just not caring about the veracity of something so long as it's written down somewhere and fits his narrative?
I think it's this. He knows his voters won't look up anything he says because they don't care if he is lying.
Assessing the truthfulness of the 2016 candidates’ campaign statements, PolitiFact recently calculated that only 2 percent of the claims made by Trump are true, 7 percent are mostly true, 15 percent are half true, 15 percent are mostly false, 42 percent are false, and 18 percent are “pants on fire.” Adding up the last three numbers (from mostly false to flagrantly so), Trump scores 75 percent. The corresponding figures for Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, respectively, are 66, 32, 31, and 29 percent. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/
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Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
That has been a hallmark of his campaign thus far.

Did you see the FRONTLINE story on his and Hillary's history? He has never cared about the truth - only what will promote his interests. Of course, that might just describe Hillary as well.
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
I think it's this. He knows his voters won't look up anything he says because they don't care if he is lying.

And they will repost it from this day forward, as if it were gospel. It will become part of the mythology.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
And they will repost it from this day forward, as if it were gospel. It will become part of the mythology.
Yeah... I think we are looking at some sort of permanent schism where two schools of thought diverge, never to meet again.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Yeah... I think we are looking at some sort of permanent schism where two schools of thought diverge, never to meet again.
Nah. The younger generation is raised to be more acclimated to all this recent "new age liberal over the top change". There really is nothing else they can come up with at this point. so things should 'normalize' well in a decade or two.
 

DougW

Member
A little off topic but I have already heard murmurings of CT that if Trump loses then the election is rigged etc.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
Nah. The younger generation is raised to be more acclimated to all this recent "new age liberal over the top change". There really is nothing else they can come up with at this point. so things should 'normalize' well in a decade or two.

I don't know how various CT will ever be killed off. They live forever on the internet.
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
Yep. Trump is the highest-profile person ever to use conspiracy theory to promote his own agenda.

Trump uses whatever truth is convenient and within reach. Specifics vary day-to-day. I'm amazed he gets away with the flip-flops he does, given how they affected Kerry's campaign.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
Trump uses whatever truth is convenient and within reach. Specifics vary day-to-day. I'm amazed he gets away with the flip-flops he does, given how they affected Kerry's campaign.

I think it's just that he is unabashed in his use of "spin" and doesn't care if only SOME (more intellectual?) people realize that he has flipped and is blatantly lying. He just says whatever he wants to be "true" in a given moment. It just doesn't matter to him as long as his narrative is (trying to be?) effective. This is not at all new for politicians. All that is new is how blatant Trump is about it.
 

Bfahome

Member
I'm amazed he gets away with the flip-flops he does, given how they affected Kerry's campaign.
He gets away with them because there are just too many for anyone to keep up with. Couple that with his constant denial of previous statements and you end up with the "biased liberal media" being the only ones attempting to call out his lies, and with such consistency and ineffectuality that the "rigged election" narrative is practically there already.
 

Strawman

Senior Member.

Not to godwin this, but Nazi antisemitism is the CT par excellence.
Stalin's later cleansings and adversity to doctors could also be considered CT (as Daniel Pipes does).

I do get your point, though, he's using it to explain failure in advance and to mobilize his followers. But even in that he's hardly alone. Just look at the recent election in Austria, for example, in which the right-wing FPÖ used quite the same line. There's more than one Trump these days.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
The OP reminds me of a personal anecdote.
I used to be a Baptist church member. The Pastor related a report he had read about, the details are not important. Being of a scientific bent I understood that I knew of several things that ran counter to this supposed report. Then the Pastor held up the paper he had read about this in, "World Weekly News".
Despite other obviously ridiculous stories on the same and adjacent pages, my Pastor cited this source.
Just one of the steps along my path of rejecting the church.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Trump just not caring about the veracity of something so long as it's written down somewhere and fits his narrative?
Have to consider his personal history. His business track record is a litany of unpaid bills, parked debt, and ponzi schemes that literally victimize only himself so that investors don't realize just how badly his finances are doing. When creditors figure it out, more lies in court set himself up as his own biggest creditor so he keeps nearly everything going through bankruptcy. When even that fails he tells the world he's selling his airline (when in fact the banks are foreclosing on the entire thing).

He uses his charitable foundation as a personal checkbook to pay the bills he deems worth paying. His own laywers refuse to meet with him without their own legal counsel present because he's such a liar that they need to retain outside lawyers to force him to at least not lie about what happens in those meetings. When all else fails, he slanders his opponents and floods them with vexatious litigation until they give up.


To him, words aren't truths or lies, they're simply tools. If a tool turns the nut he's tightening, it's a good tool. If it doesn't, it's a bad tool. And as soon as he puts a tool down, he forgets it - hence why he constantly uses arguments against his opponents (not just in this election) that are far more damning to himself than to them.

But he knows his way around libel and slander, since those are his favorite tools to silence opponents. He'll never say anything himself, he'll only repeat something. "Is the Pope Catholic? I don't know! I don't know, but I've heard lots of people ask it!"

His entire campaign and his previous failed ones don't even need to be argued, just the facts that he actually admits to establish what it is. He is not so much a pathological liar as he is bitterly indifferent to the concepts of truth and untruth.


There is something very reminiscent of conspiracy theories about Trump, though. He has habitually controls his environment to ensure he has no detractors. He's also habitually avoided associating with people richer than himself ditched actor and politician friends when he finds out they're richer than he is, even. He needs to have the upper hand and the best lawyers in every personal interaction, because so many of his personal interactions end up in court sooner or later.

And, like a conspiracy theorist, he's been god of this tiny bubble world for so long he's forgotten the rest of the world doesn't work the same way, or even exists for that matter.



tl;dr: Trump is every politician stereotype given flesh, Poe's law incarnate, and a reminder that actual politicians are actually not nearly as bad as we paint them.
 

DougW

Member
Just heard on the radio that Trump is calling for Clinton to be drug tested before the next debate because he is hinting she is using performance enhancing drugs and that the election is rigged.
Personally I think this is the most diabolical leadership race that has ever happened in the western democratic world.
The fact it is happening in arguable the most powerful nation on the planet............
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
Just heard on the radio that Trump is calling for Clinton to be drug tested before the next debate because he is hinting she is using performance enhancing drugs and that the election is rigged.
Personally I think this is the most diabolical leadership race that has ever happened in the western democratic world.
The fact it is happening in arguable the most powerful nation on the planet............

Trump is not a graceful loser.

I'm not actually sure he'll concede the election come the 8th. Losing is something that conflicts with his worldview too fundamentally.

Interesting times.
 
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