Robert Mueller's indictment of the Russians who interfered in our election is a milestone in an ongoing investigation. The charges focus on the Russians who used online social networking platforms to divide voters and disrupt the electoral process.
In testimony before Congress months ago, Facebook, Twitter, and Google acknowledged that they noticed the suspicious activities that the Russians were running but they did nothing to stop them. They vowed to do better in the future but it isn't in their interest to claim or accept any liability for the content posted by their users.
Almost immediately after Mueller released the indictment, Facebook's Advertising VP, Rob Goldman, tweeted his disagreement with it in a series of messages. Donald Trump followed with his own tweets quoting Goldman.
It's not a good look for Facebook to align itself with Trump and his toady Devin Nunes in the GOP effort to discredit Mueller. Goldman apologized.
“I wanted to apologize for having tweeted my own view about Russian interference without having it reviewed by anyone internally. The tweets were my own personal view and not Facebook’s. I conveyed my view poorly. The Special Counsel has far more information about what happened [than] I do—so seeming to contradict his statements was a serious mistake on my part."
Along comes Matt Taibbi to speak out about Goldman. Taibbi is no longer interested in condemning arrogant corporate executives who believe they can do no wrong.
He says," Goldman is the kind of person we should be encouraging to offer information."
But the wisdom he quotes from Goldman's tweets isn't useful. Goldman was covering his own hindquarters when he tweeted unwisely. Taibbi suggests that his points were valid anyway. Take these, for example:
"I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal," he wrote, noting that he had seen "all of the Russian ads."
"the majority of the ads came after the election"
Mueller's indictment doesn't say that the Russians' main goal was to sway the election. His language was careful to avoid statements that would be impossible to prove in a court of law. He said that foreign nationals are prohibited by law from campaigning for or against candidates in US elections. In the indictment, he also said, “ . . . the strategy included interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the stated goal of spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”
It's likely that the Russians expected a Clinton win like most people did and that they intended to further their efforts after the election by dividing the public and undermining our political system beyond repair. It worked in Ukraine.
Contradicting an argument that Mueller never made is a con job. Goldman and his wing man, Taibbi, embellish it with “proof.” The Russians couldn’t sway the election since, "the majority of the ads came after” it.
Talk about missing the point. In reality, we know from the events of the past year that the Russian effort is ongoing, and possibly permanent, until Trump takes action to stop it. Taibbi doesn't breathe a word of that. He has his own concerns.
Taibbi's story is about Goldman and it's also a story about him, as a journalist, too. He says that the price of standing with Russia skeptics is persecution and martyrdom.
Taibbi is masquerading as a sort of Saint Sebastian of Journalism. He shares his halo with a few other Russia skeptic journalists. All of them are White males with so much privilege that they see themselves as persecuted when anyone disagrees with their opinions.
Speaking for all journalists, Taibbi says, "It's our job to be skeptical."
Agreed, but where was the skepticism during the campaign? Was it evenly applied all around without bias? No.
He says that he and his pals "have been asked continually to accept major assumptions on faith" and that it's "an article of faith to trust that Mueller has something more than what he's shown."
Mueller's charges resulted in guilty pleas. Does Taibbi know about them? Did he read the charging documents for these individuals?
- Alex Van Der Zwaan
- Rick Gates
- Paul Manafort
- George Papadopoulos
- Michael Flynn
It doesn’t matter to Taibbi because he isn't interested in true facts. He left the plane of reality. "Skepticism of any kind has become verboten," he says. By 'verboten' does he mean printed and posted online by the establishment magazine, Rolling Stone?