It has become an unshakable article of faith on the Left that President-Elect Donald Trump asked Russia to hack computer systems in order to defeat his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.
Of course Russia hacks, the People’s Republic of China hacks, North Korea hacks, and every country that gathers intelligence hacks, with varying degrees of efficiency.
The Trump as pro-hacking myth is a case study in the power of cleverly placed propaganda to alter the course of events.
At what was billed as President Obama’s final press conference Friday, the outgoing president said he was confirming Russia tried to interfere in the Nov. 8 election.
“This happened at the highest levels of the Russian government,” Obama said.
But there has never been any evidence that Trump called upon Russia to hack anybody.
It simply never happened.
And this is not an arguable point.
It is not a close call.
Yet eyewitnesses say they saw and heard something that didn’t actually take place.
“I personally saw President-Elect Trump say, go ahead and hack Hillary Clinton,” liberal pundit Juan Williams said Thursday on “The Five” on Fox News Channel.
Williams seemed to be referring to a July 27 press conference in Doral, Florida, at which the mainstream media hallucinated then-Republican candidate Trump was inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to use cyberterrorism to help him win the White House.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a matter-of-fact tone that Trump asked Russia to use cyber warfare against Clinton.
“There’s ample evidence that was known long before the election and in most cases long before October about the Trump campaign and Russia — everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent,” Earnest said.
“It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded, based on whatever facts or sources he had available to him, that Russia was involved and their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign.”
“That’s why he was encouraging them to keep doing it,” Earnest said.
Where did these people come up with a dangerous, provable falsehood that is undermining both the American electoral system and the incoming administration?
Take a look at the video footage of Trump’s July 27 press conference.
[lz_third_party align=center includes=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGHWou0h1kk]
At the press conference, Trump, half-jokingly, urged the Russians to hand over those supposedly personal emails from Hillary’s accounts that had disappeared into the ether. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said.
He added sarcastically: “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Remember that Clinton admitted to grabbing some 66,000 emails and then returning about half of them which she claimed didn’t touch upon personal matters. She said those personal emails were deleted.
A few minutes later in the press conference, NBC reporter Katy Tur shouted a loaded question at Trump to introduce into the mainstream media ecosystem the Big Lie that Trump had personally invited Russia to interfere in U.S. elections.
“Do you have any qualms about asking a foreign government — Russia, China, anybody — to interfere, to hack into the system of anybody in this country?”
Trump was understandably dismissive of Tur’s question without specifically denying the premise underlying it — which was the false assertion that Trump asked a foreign government to engage in hacking.
Tur restated her question replacing the word “qualms” with “pause.”
“Hey, you know what gives me more pause, that a person in our government, crooked Hillary Clinton — here’s what gives me more pause,” Trump said.
“Be quiet, I know you want to, you know, save her. That a person in our government, Katy, would delete or get rid of 33,000 emails. That gives me a big problem. After she gets a subpoena. She gets subpoenaed, and she gets rid of 33,000 emails. That gives me a problem. Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see them.”
Trump reinforced his point on Twitter a few minutes later. He tweeted: “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted e-mails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”
[lz_third_party align=center includes=https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/758335147183788032]
In the meantime, The New York Times wrote on July 27: “Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, and encouraged them to publish whatever they may have stolen, essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.”
The New York Times and CNN then vigorously promoted the lie.
And so Katy Tur’s strategically placed Big Lie was carved into the Left’s narrative and repeated so many times that the mainstream media now treats it as indisputably true.
It is now regurgitated almost continuously by journalists, editorial writers, Democrats, Republicans, left-wingers, and even some conservatives who don’t know any better.
The Trump as pro-hacking myth is a case study in the power of cleverly placed propaganda to alter the course of events. This is what the Left and the mainstream media do every day.
So-called liberals and progressives use the power of narrative — of telling a story — in order to alter the public’s perception of reality. They take real facts and then they distort them or put a plausible spin on them until the truth is massaged to serve their interests.
In other words, they lie.
Yet not everyone who swears up and down that Trump asked Vladimir Putin to interfere in the recent U.S. elections is lying.
Lying requires dishonest intentions. A sincerely held belief cannot be a lie.
But it’s important to remember that this ugly lie began with one person and her name is Katy Tur.
Matthew Vadum is senior vice president at Capital Research Center, an investigative think tank in Washington, D.C.