Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
As I write this, hearings have begun in Washington D.C. regarding who hacked into whose (ruling class) computers in the U.S. and then, just before our elections, published hard-copy e-mail evidence of crimes and misdemeanors found in the documents.*
Not to say that illegal hacking is okay and should not be addressed. Cyber “fire walls” are as critical to the safety and well-being of a nation as are any other kind of protective walls.
But an aspect of these particular hearings–and the news of them generated by most of the news media–prompts me to write today.
The hearings, including their many angles and counter-angles, presented with expertly crafted rhetorical skills and backed up with undertones of justifiable outrage and moral indignation over who would DO such a thing, have already begun to shift most of the public’s focus onto the “messenger” and further and further away from the “messages,” i.e., the crimes and misdemeanors revealed in the e-mails themselves.
And we must fight to keep both issues in our sights.
Whether or not it was Russia or China or Shadow Government Operatives, or a middle-schooler in Mom’s basement who hacked into what can arguably be thought of as state’s evidence against members of the state and their entourages, the evidence, the OTHER news, still stands.
When will we get equal-time hearings on some of that?
What is happening so far reminds me of the old con game called “bait and switch,” i.e., trying to convince someone that this or that (product, topic, etc.) is the real thing to purchase or pay attention to, while the real product, or the topic of more importance, is something else.
But I truly hope I am wrong and equal time will soon be given the CONTENT of the hacked e-mails, aka hard evidence re: crimes and misdemeanors, regardless of who published it or who blew the whistle on the perpetrators.
But if we are to get back to the more important news, here, i.e., the crimes, we somehow have to overcome the temptation crafted by some to “bait and switch” our attention away.
It will be challenging, though, because the “bait” is big and scary.
Russia is still, in the minds of many, the Big Bad Bear of the North; in the minds of many, the so-called Cold War hasn’t entirely blown away, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Russia has been a fearful a player on the world’s stage, no doubt.
But what about young constituents who do not yet have such an awareness, or others with a short attention span, or still others who are just not very interested in (or don’t have much time for) politics and world events?
And there’s also the mind-numbing effect of the spin and rhetorical word salad that makes people just want the headlines…the rest becoming too confusing (some of the confusion engineered on purpose to make people, well, just want the headlines. Hmmmmm, ah, “Russian Hacking” ought to do it)…
For these groups, I believe it can be argued that consciousness has been raised anew, in part, by certain actions of the current administration to encourage the same old fears by: establishing new sanctions against Russia, ordering their VIPs out of the U.S., and deploying American troops near Russia’s border.
All that has to mean something bad and scary about Russia, no? many will conclude, paying extra close attention, now, to the “news” of the “messenger” of the hacked e-mails presented by people we are trained to trust (government officials and nice-looking and sounding and well-educated “news” people).
The stage has already been set on many levels to fear-monger many hearers about the “who” aspect of these hearings on “Russian Hacking” so that the content of what was hacked into and published will be diminished. Maybe even forgotten. Ya think?
But I think there are more and more of us, now, who will not forget.
The Bear of the North may still be ferocious, but the Giant in THIS part of the world is now awake.
* The reader may wish to search for himself or herself: https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/