‘US is allowed to meddle’: Democracy promotion is ‘US policy’, TV panel concludes
During a not-at-all predictable discussion on MSNBC’s ‘Deadline White House’, host Nicolle Wallace pressed her guests to weigh-in on former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s recent twitter accusation.
McFaul said that Fox News host Sean Hannity was using “American alleged interference in other countries’ elections” to deflect criticisms of alleged Russian attempts at “violating our sovereignty.” According to McFaul, Americans who are naive enough to think that decades of US foreign meddling should factor into hysterical discussions about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections have fallen victim to a “whataboutism argument Putin’s TV channels make.”
Caught @seanhannity at the gym tonight. Didn’t know he was taking about American alleged interference in other countries’ elections as an excuse for Russia violating our sovereignty. That’s exactly the whataboutism argument Putin’s tv channels make. Exactly.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) February 20, 2018
As if momentarily hypnotized by a KGB electromagnetic wave weapon, New York Times journalist Jim Rutenberg conceded that "there is some truth to the fact that the United States has engaged in election meddling over its history,” but then quickly came to his senses, clarifying that American meddling is usually nothing more than altruistic attempts to help democratic movements defeat evil foreign despots. “What Ambassador McFaul is onto is that it's not always the same thing,” Rutenberg said.
Not missing a beat, Wallace, who served as director of media affairs at the White House under George W. Bush before becoming a fancy television host, plunged head-first into US government talking points, as if magically transported back to 2003.
"That 'whataboutism' is what's coming to dominate the political discussion ... we're still trying to figure out what happened in 2016 but this is an information war that's happening now and we are nowhere in the game" - @jimrutenberg w/ @NicolleDWallacepic.twitter.com/6tjnj7RPFn— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) February 21, 2018
"Right. Sometimes it's standing up for the Iranian dissidents who are being hung from cranes for being gay. I mean, America's role in supporting democracy is a stated US policy."
Rutenberg eagerly agreed, then bemoaned that, while Hannity was broadcasting highly discourteous truths about US foreign policy, "the Russian behavior that we're talking about now is ongoing, it's probably iterating. We're coming into the mid-terms and we're still trying to find out what happened in 2016.”
Not everyone was swayed by MSNBC’s ‘expert panel,’ however.
“It’s nonsensical,” radio host Jon Gaunt told RT. “We need to ask the people of Libya: Are they happy with the involvement of the Americans?” He added that “America [is] much more guilty than Russia” of interfering in “other people’s interests.”
The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, an outspoken critic of US media echo chambers, took to the twitterverse to air his own grievances about the MSNBC segment.
"Oh my god. This is an actual, full discussion on MSNBC about how it's totally different when the US interferes in elections and other countries' politics because we only do it to help bolster democracy and fight despots. Did these people ever move beyond 4th grade US history? Nope," Greenwald tweeted.
Oh my god. This is an actual, full discussion on MSNBC about how it's totally different when the US interferes in elections and other countries' politics because we only do it to help bolster democracy & fight despots. Did these people ever move beyond 4th grade US history? Nope. https://t.co/30nDPu6l2s— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 21, 2018
According to the Los Angeles Times, the US has attempted to influence presidential elections in other countries at least 81 times between 1946 and 2000, but this figure does not include military coups and regime change efforts to remove democratically-elected foreign leaders that Washington did not like.
Of course, the US has exported incalculable tons of “democracy” since 2000. But, as McFaul stated in one of his many recent tweets, although the US "invaded Iraq, bombed Libya, intervened militarily and gave military assistance to Syrians," the term "meddling" was not the right word to describe those actions. So please be advised.
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