A conspiracy theory is born: US comedian calls Ocasio-Cortez ‘a Russian tool’
Representative-elect Ocasio-Cortez is a rising star of progressive politics, whose way to national prominence began after she defeated veteran congressman Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary. She runs on a progressive platform and wants similarly-minded people to get elected the same way she did – by challenging centrist Democrats and thus shifting the entire party to the left.
According to Kirkman, this is all a secret ploy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wants to divide the Democratic Party and “take over America.” On Sunday, she shared her suspicions about the politician with her 260,000 Twitter followers in a long thread that has since gone viral.
I’m not saying anything about HER or she’s some kind of Russian agent. I’m saying notice the online hysteria and conversation arising around her. How excited Putin must be that a Dem wants to primary Dems. And he sends in his online trolls to split the party that just got in.— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) November 18, 2018
Navigating through the narrative is somewhat tricky, so here is the short version. Ocasio-Cortez says Democrats should focus on issues relevant to voters rather than Trump-bashing and Robert Mueller’s probe. And she also wants to challenge fellow Democrats through primaries. Kirkman thinks otherwise, but when she speaks out she gets criticized by what she believes to be Russian bots.
That’s the thing with social media Active Measures. They aren’t obvious!!! Except to people who have been living it, studying it, and often times were targets of bots and trolls.— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) November 18, 2018
Which means Putin defends Ocasio-Cortez and she and her supporters are just gullible tools of the ‘Russian Active Measures’ (yes, they have to be capitalized, because apparently lowercased active measures are not scary enough, for Kirkman). She knows all about active measures. She once was a “radicalized” fan of Bernie Sanders, thought Green Party’s Jill Stein “was legit” and believed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be a hero. Apparently they all turned out to be Putin’s tools, because now she knows better.
So much gaslighting. “You want to destroy the environment and don’t want healthcare!” Actually those are my two big issues. That’s why Russia investigations are #1 priority. To get our democracy back.— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) November 19, 2018
And now a disenchanted and politically mature Kirkman is really sad when she is called a centrist. And she is “trying to be a voice for reasonable people who know from decades of activism and basic understanding of government that it’s INSANE to campaign against your party saying they care too much about the takeover of America by Putin.”
Hopefully, this was all some kind of audition for MSNBC’s extended Russiagate coverage, because if that rant went from the bottom of Kirkman’s heart, it’s really disturbing. Although the comedian’s rhetoric hardly stands out among what comes from centrist Democrats nowadays. All too many of them would rather blame Russia for Trump’s win and brand anyone challenging their preferred status quo Putin’s tools, “useful idiots” and other insulting names than make a shift.
What if Kirkman's 800-tweet conspiracy that AOC is a tool in an elaborate Russian conspiracy is itself a reverse Russian conspiracy. I'm not saying she's some kind of Russian agent, but how excited Putin must be that neoliberal celebs think he's omnipotenthttps://t.co/3HnfGWGSgN— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 19, 2018
I think it's important to recall that the groundbreaking investigation by @JenKirkman into AOC and her relationship to Kremlin active measures that has caused Kirkman to trend on Twitter didn't begin this week but began with this vital 2017 tweet that history will remember: https://t.co/XZFXlxQ7RW— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 19, 2018
Whether Putin cares about Democrats’ online conversation or not, I think a far safer bet is that GOPers are very excited to see Dems normalize paranoia & elitism to such an extent that those who (successfully) challenge the (failed) party establishment are eyed as Russian dupes: https://t.co/lfVGrH7Xos— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 19, 2018
Why that is happening is another matter. One can blame ideological rigidity, inability to self-reflect or banal fear of losing corporate donor money over endorsing a policy that the public wants and the corporations hate. Good luck wishing for the Russia probe to get you a national healthcare system, Jen.