News Release

Is “Russiagate” the New Benghazi?

SOPHIA McCLENNEN, sophia.mcclennen at gmail.com, @mcclennen65
McClennen just wrote the piece “The Russia election investigation is important — but it’s not everything” for Salon, which states: “Remember when the right couldn’t stop obsessing over Benghazi? The attack on the U.S. embassy on September 11, 2012, led to a right-wing witch hunt aimed at blaming President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for misrepresenting the attacks to the U.S. public and for missing signs that could have prevented it. The critical thing to remember is that shortly after the attacks, right-wing media covered Benghazi in a constant loop. As Stephen Colbert parodied it for ‘The Colbert Report’ in late November 2013, it was ‘Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.’ Well guess what? The right’s Benghazi is now the left’s Russia. …

“Let’s start by agreeing that we should figure out the scope and extent of Russian involvement and the degree to which the Trump team was involved. The problem, though, is that the obsession with Russia is keeping us from paying attention to the various sources of information-meddling that have nothing to do with Russia. …

“The obsession with Russian propaganda isn’t just an entertaining way for the U.S. public to revive Cold War logics; in the end, it is a disaster for our democracy. One of the biggest flaws to propaganda hype is that it gives the left a pass from taking seriously the policy flaws in the Hillary Clinton campaign. ..

“Even worse, the Russia propaganda story allows the DNC to avoid dealing with the reality that the 2016 elections revealed the truth that the party is an oligarchy populated by insiders, corporate capitalists, cronies and superdelegates.”

McClennen is professor of international affairs and comparative literature at the Pennsylvania State University. She is co-author of Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights.