Rachel Maddow: “Beware of Mr. Banana”

Rachel Maddow might be the Left’s “queen of conspiracy theories.” She spent over two years pumping every possible angle of the Russia-Trump collusion conspiracy until it blew up in her face with the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and his subsequent testimony before Congress. I would imagine that she was ALMOST as devastated that Mueller exonerated the President of Russia collusion as she was on the night that the President defeated her “best pal” Hillary Clinton back in 2016. Remember her glum, hang-dog look back then? It was glorious.

In order to find out what she is saying about impeachment these days, I reported on the opening monologue of her Friday night show in two parts here and here.

As I let the DVR run while finishing up Part II, I was amazed, then amused, and finally aghast at her latest conspiracy theory to which she segued. Amazingly, she is still stuck on Russia, but this time it’s even more bizarre. Here is a bulletized summary of the high points of her theory/claim:

  • A Russian-backed internet company, TheSoul Publishing, that is operated out of Cyprus is now the third most-watched internet content provider on YouTube and Facebook, behind Disney and Warner Media.
  • She spent about five minutes providing examples of the clickbait content provided, including something called “Mr. Banana,” which included a 15-minute video on a falsified Russian history (e.g., Khrushchev sold Alaska to the US instead of the real history of “Seward’s Folly” in 1863).
  • She made fun of Mr. Banana while at the same time claiming that such easily identifiable propaganda was somehow sinister and a trend of Russian misinformation detrimental that would surely be detrimental to Americans.
  • Other click bait content examples were 5-Minute Crafts, 7-Second Riddles, and 5-Minute Magic. She showed an example of one of those short videos of cleaning a toilet bowl using a can of Pepsi-Cola. Apparently, there are hundreds of those little snippets available on a “Smart Banana” website.
  • Another of TheSoul Publishing’s websites called Bright Side has 44 million followers which she contrasted with the NY Times Facebook page followers at 16 million.
  • In the clickbait on the various websites, apparently the Russians have begun inserting “pro-Russian happy talk” and anti-American messages, e.g., that the US will “disappear” in 20 years.
  • She then made the leap that this online company is going to insidiously influence future American elections through its “huge online presence” in America.

You can watch that video segment here:

Before continuing with her elaboration on that last bullet (the conspiracy theory), a few comments are in order:

The deviations from real history in the video segments she presented were obviously absurd to anyone with a classical liberal education. (Is that still possible to obtain anymore?) She must fear that Americans are too stupid to distinguish absurdity from truth and will be easily persuaded by the nonsense she presented in that Mr. Banana video clip. Or maybe she is secretly happy about the dumbing down of Americans through the leftist-controlled public education system over the past couple of generations – which was intended to make it easier for the socialist overlords like herself and other Democrats to control the American population – but now she is growing concerned that the tables could be turned, and the Right could exploit those dumbed-down people with a different message.

I am also skeptical about her claims about “millions of followers” and the “huge online presence” of that Russian-run internet company for two reasons. First of all, leftists like Maddow have shouted for three years about “Russian bots” representing fake accounts on all social media platforms, all of which were supposedly aimed at “electing and supporting Donald Trump.” And now she blithely believes that TheSoul Publishing websites have tens of millions of subscribers in the US? Please. How many of those accounts are fake? Secondly, I would wager many of their real subscribers are foreigners and not Americans, too. Color me not convinced, Rachel.

Moving on to the meat of her conspiracy theory based on TheSoul Publishing, here is what she said next:

Maddow: … I mean, remember what we learned in the Russian social media operation in 2016 … to target our election in 2016 to benefit Trump. We learned it both in the criminal indictments against the Russian military intelligence officers who were charged by Robert Mueller, then in the Senate report reviewing how that Russian information operation worked against us. One of their key plays was that they would build up seemingly nonpolitical content. They have lots of different avatars, lots of different accounts on lots of different social media platforms … attracting US viewership, attracting likes, attracting followers … all doing stuff that didn’t seem to be overtly political … all just designed to get people clicking there … all just designed to get into people’s feeds. And then when it came time to turn those things operational for the purposes of American political impact, those seemingly nonpolitical channels started pushing out material that was designed to influence the election.

Me: She just can’t get off the Russia collusion conspiracy even though that was debunked by Mueller himself. She glosses over the facts presented by Mueller himself, as summarized by AG Barr in his first public statement about Mueller’s findings earlier this year:

While the Russians did attempt to undermine the 2016 through disinformation practices, the special counsel found no underlying evidence of collusion with Russia by anyone in the Trump campaign or any other American. The first effort by the Russians was via the “Internet Research Agency” with strong ties to the Russian gov’t to sow discord among American voters “through disinformation and social media operations.” The special counsel brought charges against several entities and Russian individuals for their roles in these schemes. Those charges are still pending and the defendants remain at large. But there was no evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign or any US person coordinated with this IRA operation.

The report also details efforts by Russian military officials associated with the GRU to hack into and steal information from individuals associated with the Democrat Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the purposes of eventually publicizing these documents. Charges were subsequently brought against several Russian military officers for their suspected roles in these illegal hacking operations. Those charges are still pending and the defendants remain at large. The special counsel found no evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign or any American conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in this hacking activity.

Note: no Americans were involved in the Russian social media operations. Furthermore, the GRU officers were not involved in the social media effort, either! They were hackers. Maddow tries to make the Russian social media operation appear to be far worse than it really was by conflating who was involved in it (while ignoring that the campaign changed no votes, as Mueller himself reported). Maddow and the Democrats continue to perpetuate the myth that a shoe-string Russian social media operation ($600K total spent!) and 6 Russian GRU officers somehow successfully stole the election from Hillary Clinton. They lie!

Maddow (continuing): And in order to have the maximum impact, you already have to have the maximum number of subscribers looking at your content before you become a political operation. With the election of 2020 now bearing down upon us – the Iowa caucuses are just six weeks away – I mean, how prepped are we, really? How prepped are the Democrat candidates and the Democrat Party for contending with potentially a major foreign-based social media operation that this time will be run under the auspices here of a federal government headed up by a president who was just impeached for inviting foreign intervention in the next election, and who has explicitly stated that he’s good with it.

Me: Another bald-faced Maddow lie. When has the President EVER explicitly said that he’s “good with” foreign intervention in the next election? Maddow was projecting onto President Trump what Hillary Clinton did in 2016: paid a foreigner through intermediaries to compile a fake dossier which included Russian-sourced information to interfere with the 2016 campaign! Remember that Democrats are ALWAYS guilty of what they accuse Republicans of doing.

Maddow (continuing): I mean, it’s one thing to not be ready because you didn’t see it coming – this time we definitely see it coming – the question is, how much is the US government going to be under the leadership of President Trump? And how well are the Democrats and the Democrat Party prepared to do their own work on this particularly if they’re not gonna get help from the Justice Department under William Barr and the intelligence agencies under President Trump?

Me: This is almost laughable! She’s projecting again. I guess she hasn’t read the Horowitz report which detailed massive FBI and DoJ FISA abuses in running a counter-intelligence operation the premise of which was that the Trump campaign was “colluding with Russia” – of which the Mueller report found no evidence after two years of investigation! It was Obama who used the US government against his political enemies, not President Trump. She further ascribes diabolical political motivations to AG Barr when we have all learned that Obama’s DoJ and FBI appointees were the real culprits in that regard. Maddow is projecting what Obama did on what President Trump might do in the future, without a shred of evidence backing up that claim, and she’s smearing AG Barr in the process.

Maddow then injected a short segment applauding Facebook for taking down 600 accounts supposedly affiliated with the pro-Trump independent media, Epoch Times, before continuing: So yeah, President Trump just got impeached for trying to use the power of the US government and the presidency as leverage to force another country to get into the 2020 US election on his side. I mean, whether or not he was just impeached for that, that’s gonna be the 2020 election. Can the Democrat candidates compete with each other, in terms of who’s gonna be the nominee, on the basis of who is best situated to combat this threat, and who has the best ideas about “how to do stuff?” And will any of them be able to count on help from US law enforcement and intelligence in a federal government that is run by Donald Trump – particularly after he’s just been impeached for this stuff?

Me: That’s her conspiracy conclusion after 10 minutes of buildup – that a Russian internet company is going to massively influence the 2020 US elections, and President Trump and AG Barr are going to look the other way if not actually enable that operation to swing the election in his favor. That’s insane! If anything, the Deep State (the federal bureaucracy) is still fighting against the President as the Ukrainian hoax, the FBI’s slow-rolling of fixes to the FISA process, and other actions would attest. The notion that the president can direct the FBI, DoJ and intel agencies to look the other way to ignore Russian meddling in 2020 is absolutely ridiculous. If he actually tried to do that, the Democrats would impeach him in a heartbeat.

Furthermore, the danger of which she warns us – Russian election meddling in 2020 via social media operations – is in fact exactly what Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others have been doing for years – but with different objectives aimed at suppressing conservatives and their content while propagating Democrat narratives and their political content, as described here, in a story about their impact on the 2018 election. For all practical purposes, Maddow’s conspiracy theory for 2020 is actually projecting the sins of Silicon Valley onto a Russian-run internet company.

Maddow is still stuck on Russia in concocting yet another wild conspiracy theory because that’s all the Democrats have at this point – trying to get water out of a dry well. Yet she and they conveniently ignore the tens of millions of dollars received by the Clintons from the Russians, as laundered through the Clinton Global Initiative. Doesn’t that qualify as actual bribery and foreign meddling, of which you, Rachel, and the Democrats blithely allege the President is guilty without a shred of evidence?

Obama and his minions “looked the other way” in 2016 while ACTUALLY perpetrating what she now predicts that President Trump will do in 2020. Thanks to the actual findings of the Mueller report, as well as ongoing independent media investigations into FISA abuse and foreign meddling, we are wise to the reality of what happened in 2016. Maddow’s conspiracy theory for 2020 will work out for her about as well as the Russian collusion one did – hopefully with an equally massive loss of viewership of her MSNBC program.

The end.