The Russians Used the Media to Influence an Election for the Left
The media wouldn’t know a Russian asset if it went out and voted for one.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin.
Before the UK election, Hillary Clinton took her book tour to the UK, where she joined the chorus of false claims accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative party of being Russian stooges. Christopher Steele, the British operative hired by her campaign to smear Trump as a Russian asset, had already paved the way with yet another report accusing Johnson of being cultivated by the Russians.
The media began falsely claiming that the Tories were covering up this damning report.
“I find it inexplicable that your government will not release a government report about Russian influence. Inexplicable and shameful,” Hillary Clinton huffed to the BBC. "Every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens.”
The BBC did not bother to inform its viewers that Hillary had been paying one of the report’s sources.
The Steele 2.0 report was obsessed with Russian influence on the Brexit referendum and the previous election. But then the Russians actually shaped Labour’s entire election strategy in this election.
And they used the media to do it.
With Jeremy Corbyn’s numbers tanking due to everything from his support for terrorists to his anti-Semitism and general unpleasantness, the leftist leader unveiled documents claiming to show evidence of a secret deal with the United States over Britain’s failing socialized medicine NHS.
“We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed," Corbyn whinged. “We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit.”
Corbyn was blatantly lying about the documents and what was in them. The false claims about an NHS sellout became the central thrust of Labour’s political campaign in the 2019 election.
But what was more interesting was where those documents had come from.
The documents had first appeared on Reddit. In early December, Reddit announced that in coordination with law enforcement and experts, the accounts behind the leak were taken down as part of a Russian disinformation campaign. The sources of these claims, Graphika and the Atlantic Council, were the same as the ones that had been used by the media as credible sources on previous Russian campaigns.
And it wasn’t Johnson and the Tories the Russians were trying to help, but Corbyn and Labour.
A Twitter account using the same name as the Reddit account had even tagged Corbyn in a link to the materials from the Russian disinformation campaign.
When Labour refused to state how they received the documents, the media just shrugged.
The repeated refusals of Labour figures associated with Corbyn to explain the source of the documents was as good as an admission that they had not obtained them from legitimate sources.
Asked in an interview where the documents came from, Corbyn insisted that it didn’t matter and then claimed that the documents leaked by the Russians showed “why the prime minister has refused to release the report on Russian interference in British politics.”
The Russian interference in British politics wasn’t in the report, it was in his own house.
The Russian campaign calculatedly tried to stir up animosity between the US and the UK in order to sabotage Brexit, prevent a trade deal between the US and the UK, and help Corbyn perform well enough to retain his leadership role in Labour. Why the Russians might have wanted those things is obvious.
A dysfunctional EU serves Moscow’s purposes better than an independent UK able to set its own defense and foreign policies. Frustrated leavers would become radicalized, making them useful targets for provocateurs with ties to Moscow. And Corbyn’s Momentum was part of a British Left that had longstanding ties to the Soviet Union whose old KGB operatives were now running Russia. And were eager to tap into the old networks of fellow travelers that had been cultivated in the Communist days.
The Russians hadn’t been cultivating Johnson. They had been cultivating Corbyn for a long time.
Last year, Ján Sarkocy, a Cold War Czech spy working in the UK under cover as a diplomat, had come forward to accuse Corbyn of being a paid informant who had supplied information to the enemy.
“He was our asset, he had been recruited. He was getting money from us,” Sarkocy said.
Documents substantiated contacts between Corbyn and Sarkocy. Corbyn's codename allegedly had been COB and had allegedly tipped off the Communists to actions by British intelligence.
Worse still, Sarkocy claimed that Corbyn had been recruited "under Russian supervision."
"All the information we received, not only from him but also from another, supporting source, was regarded in Moscow as first-rate,” Sarkocy claimed.
Unlike Steele, Sarkocy had been in a position to actually know what he was talking about. But the media hurriedly rushed to clear Corbyn of the charges even as they went on insisting that the secret Steele influenced report would prove that Johnson was a Russian asset. While the charges against Johnson were farfetched, like Bernie Sanders, Corbyn’s sympathy for the Soviet Union was no secret.
Corbyn had appeared at the 40th Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain to urge disarmament in the face of the Soviet Union. More recently, the alleged Marxist had claimed that “NATO was founded in order to promote a Cold War with the Soviet Union.” And, keeping the special relationship alive, he blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on American expansionism.
His roster includes Andrew Murray, a former member of the Communist Party, and his chief strategist, Seumas Milne, had mourned the fall of the Berlin Wall, and defended its leaders against claims of atrocities, arguing that, “Communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment.”
And the Communists had announced that they wouldn’t run candidates, but try to help Labour win.
After Corbyn’s extensive ties to Communists, allegations by a former spy that he was a paid informant, the Russians tried to help Corbyn with a disinformation campaign and leaked documents, and the media insisted that the Russians couldn’t have been trying to help Corbyn. And that Corbyn knew nothing.
The same media outlets smearing Trump and Johnson as Russian assets based on nothing, who had falsely claimed that Trump’s victory and Brexit were the work of the Russians based on deliberate misrepresentations about Russian ad campaigns, refused to make the obvious connections between an alleged former Russian asset, his circle of former Communists, and a Russian campaign to help them.
The media wouldn’t know an actual Russian asset if it went out and voted for one.
After years of entertaining us with scary stories about Russian election interference, when it actually happened, the outlets that had cried wolf, actually helped the Russians, and then tried to cover it up.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin, the Russian election interference was helping the same old Marxists that the old KGB men running Moscow had built longstanding relationships with.
In the UK, Russian election interference had been meant to aid Momentum’s Labour Party takeover. Meanwhile in the US, after the collapse of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and his clique of socialists has a real shot at taking over the Democrat Party. Whom did the leaked emails help in the 2016 election? It wasn’t Trump. Voters didn’t care about internal Democrat dirty laundry in the national election.
But Bernie and his people used the fallout to gain influence in the DNC. He now polls at number two.
The internal Democrat conflict between Clintonites and Sandernistas, different factions of the Left, was used to frame Trump and Republicans when the real beneficiaries were Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, her squad and the rest of the Corbynized inner circle of Berniestan.
The Sanders and Corbyn campaign share the same stable of activists. If the Russians were helping Corbyn, it’s a good bet that they were helping the socialist who honeymooned in the USSR.
How much support could Sanders expect from Moscow if he becomes the nominee?
The media can spot Russian election interference from a mile away when it isn’t there. It won’t touch actual Russian election interference even when it’s up to its eyeballs in the real thing.