The American media dilute the facts and fan conspiracy theories by spreading allegations that Russia interfered in the US presidential election, a senior state election official has said, adding the voting system is near-impossible to manipulate externally.
The media frenzy surrounding alleged “Russian meddling” in the 2016 US election suggests that reporters are often doctoring or neglecting hard facts for the sake of good storylines, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, argued in an opinion piece for USA Today.
“As reporters chase stories to feed the 24-hour news cycle, they dilute facts and develop false narratives about Russian hacking and potential vulnerabilities in the system,” he said. “The prevailing plot line is that states like Georgia can’t provide suitable security for elections.”
Kemp, who serves as the state’s chief election official in charge of voting procedures, said “non-partisan experts agree that manipulating a presidential election makes a good TV storyline but lacks real-world standing.”
He described the state voting systems as “diverse, highly scrutinized and not connected to the internet.” Consequently, any computer network attacks on voter registration do not affect the vote count. “The thing that matters most – your vote – is secure,” Kemp stressed.
His dissenting opinion was voiced days after activists from investigative outlet Project Veritas released hidden camera footage showing a CNN producer who admitted that the media corporation’s anti-Russian coverage has much to do with “incredible ratings.”
“It’s mostly bullsh*t right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof,” John Bonifield, a CNN producer, said in the video. Asked why CNN is obsessed with Russia-related stories, Bonifield responded, “Because it’s ratings.”
“Our CIA is doing sh*t all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments,” he said. “I think the president is probably right to say, like, ‘look, you are witch-hunting me,’” Bonifield said.
In his opinion piece, Kemp said “misinformation from the media or disgruntled partisans not only fuels conspiracy theorists but also erodes the first safeguard we have in our elections — the public’s trust.”
Inaccurate reporting is “a disservice to the American people” as it fails to respect the electoral system’s reliability, the senior official added.
“To be candid, the most plausible and potentially effective attack on our elections is not by hacking the vote — it is through the manipulation of the American media machine,” he continued. These “baseless attacks and inaccurate stories enhance voter apathy and erode our confidence in the cornerstone of our democracy,” Kemp concluded.
Ongoing accusations that Russia played a role in US President Donald Trump’s campaign have plagued his presidency, along with allegations that the hack on the Democratic National Committee which leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s staff was ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow has consistently dismissed the accusations as baseless. Earlier, speaking to renowned US filmmaker Oliver Stone, Putin said the US itself has a long record of interference in Russia’s domestic affairs.
“[They did it] in 2000, and in 2012, this always happened. But especially aggressively in 2012. I will not go into details,”Putin said, adding that all of the other post-Soviet countries have also been subject to US meddling. “They gathered opposition forces and financed them, went to opposition rallies,” the Russian leader said.
My apologies to PETA & ASPCA.
13 Jun 2017
CNN cut away from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday morning, seconds after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) raised concerns that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had hired a former Clinton Foundation attorney to assist with the probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Graham was questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was sitting in for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Democrats have long accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia, though no evidence has emerged. There is also speculation that Special Counsel Mueller will probe allegations of obstruction of justice against President Donald Trump.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that Mueller had hired attorneys for his investigative team who had donated to Hillary Clinton in the past, and one in particular who had represented the Clinton Foundation in its effort to block Freedom of Information Act requests for e-mails on Clinton’s private server.
Graham: Is giving political donations a reason to disqualify somebody for serving in the Special Counsel’s office?
Rosenstein: No, Senator, it is not a disqualification. It is not.
Graham: As a matter of fact, many states, the judges and prosecutors are actually elected. Donations are a part of that system, is that correct?
Rosenstein: Yes, that’s true.
Graham: Would it be a disqualification for somebody in the Special Counsel’s office who had represented Mrs. Clinton in the past to serve?
Rosenstein: You know, Senator, it would depend on facts and circumstances. As a general matter, I think the answer is no.
Graham: Isn’t that much closer to a conflict of interest?
Rosenstein: I don’t want to answer a hypothetical, Senator. Everybody needs to make a determination based on the facts and circumstances of the individual case.
Graham: How would you get it before the Special Counsel? What process could a member of the Senate use to inform the Special Counsel that you’d have a concern about hiring someone that represented Clinton?
Rosenstein: We have a process within the Department of Justice, Senator, so I would encourage you, if you have those concerns, to raise them with [former] Director Mueller or to raise them with me, and I’ll make sure —
Graham: So should I do it to you or to him?
Rosenstein: Well, you could do it to both.
Graham: Okay. That’s fair enough.
Rosenstein: And we have career —
Graham: And I don’t know if I’ll do that, but I’ve read some things that were — I don’t think donations are disqualifying at all, but if you represented the Clinton Foundation or Clinton herself, that would be disturbing to me, but I’ll take care of that.
CNN cut back to the studio shortly after that, while Graham was still questioning Rosenstein.
Earlier, Graham had asked Rosenstein whether there was “any reason, for cause, to fire Mr. Mueller.” Rosenstein had said he did not know of any reason.