Russian asset Donald Trump is fully invested in Papa Joe Stalin’s dezinformatsiya (disinformation) black propaganda. He is turning America into George Orwell’s dystopian vision in 1984.
In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars no less — patriots who have served their country honorably in military service — Trump slammed the news media as “fake news” for not upholding his preferred interpretation of the success of his administration. The New York Times reports:
“Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” Mr. Trump said at the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as part of the crowd booed and hissed in the direction of the press corps.
“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” the president added.
Winston Smith in 1984 lamented:
The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right.
A spokeswoman for the V.F.W., which is nonpartisan, said in a statement after the event that organizers were “disappointed to hear some of our members boo the press.”
This is the pernicious power of black propaganda — even the minds of patriots can be confused and warped by a dangerous demagogue.
Another passage from 1984 is relevant:
And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’
This passage is relevant in light of this report from The Atlantic. The White House Transcript Is Missing the Most Explosive Part of the Trump–Putin Press Conference:
It was perhaps the most explosive exchange in an incendiary press conference: Russian President Vladimir Putin appearing to frankly admit to a motive for, and maybe even to the act of, meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, despite repeatedly denying Russian interference in American politics during the rest of his appearance with Donald Trump in Finland on Monday.
But the exchange doesn’t appear in full in the White House’s live-stream or transcript of the press conference, and it’s missing entirely from the Kremlin’s transcript of the event. The White House did not immediately provide an explanation for the discrepancy.
If you watch the video of the news conference provided by the Russian government, or by news outlets such as PBS and the Associated Press, you will hear the Reuters reporter Jeff Mason ask a bombshell of a question: “President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?”
Putin then responds with a bombshell of an answer, according to the English translation of his remarks that was broadcast during the press conference: “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”
* * *
But if you watch the White House live-stream of the press conference or look at the transcript published by the White House, the first half of Mason’s question is not there. Without it, the meaning of the exchange is substantially different.
Compare this transcript, of what actually happened, to the White House’s version. Here is the record of what took place, starting with the last part of Putin’s comments before Mason’s questions. Putin is describing his willingness to assist with Robert Mueller’s probe (bolding is mine):
Vladimir Putin: That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
Jeff Mason: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
Putin: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.
And here’s the key section from the White House transcript, which makes it seem as though Putin is still talking about the Mueller probe:
PRESIDENT PUTIN: That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
Q: And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.
Another strange wrinkle comes from the Russian government’s English-language transcript of the press conference. In contrast to its footage of the press conference, which features what really happened, the transcript does not include any piece of that key exchange.
* * *
The varying accounts of the same remarks highlight the profound confusion that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have generated in the past 24 hours. The discrepancies in the accounts of what was said also underscore the extent to which the Trump presidency has challenged a common understanding of reality. Even if the omission was accidental, it appears suspicious at a moment marked by the president’s repeated claims that legitimate news reports are “fake.”
In other words, both the Kremlin and the Trump White House have jointly edited out Vladimir Putin’s public admission that he ordered his government to interfere in the 2016 election and that he supported Donald Trump. Together they are attempting to rewrite history with their own version of reality.
This was Winston Smith’s job in 1984:
“This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, soundtracks, cartoons, photographs—to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.”
“‘Who controls the past’, ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'”
Donald Trump took this a final step further with his penchant for psychological projection onto his political opponents. Without evidence, Trump claims Russia ‘will be pushing very hard for the Democrats’ in 2018 midterms:
President Trump claimed Tuesday, without evidence, that the Kremlin will support Democrats in the November midterm election, debuting a new line on Russian interference as the uproar over his shifting stances on the issue enters its second week.
Trump made the claim in a late-morning tweet eight days after he held a joint news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who acknowledged there that he had wanted Trump to win in 2016.
This is exactly the opposite of the truth: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign and that the effort was specifically aimed at helping Trump win.
On July 16 in Helsinki, Putin said he had wanted Trump in the White House because he thought it would benefit U.S.-Russia relations.
“Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal,” Putin said when asked whether he had wanted Trump to win.
Trump is an authoritarian leader of a political party that has long tended towards authoritarianism. This is a dangerous combination if these authoritarian impulses are unleashed and go unchecked.
As George Orwell warned:
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. . . . Power is not a means; it is an end . . . not power over things, but over men. . . . In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. . . . There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. . . . Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”
Finally, as George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.“