CONSPIRACY NUTS

CONSPIRACY NUTS

If you happen to be normal, healthy, well-adjusted human beings with better things to do on your weekends than futz about with the trivialities of politics and, worse yet, political media, then A.) we envy you; and B.) you missed an “exciting” kerfuffle yesterday.  It turns out that everyone in conservative media wants the same thing.  Jonah Goldberg, formerly of National Review Online, and Stephen Hayes, formerly of the Weekly Standard, are the brain trust behind The Dispatch, an anti-populist, NeverTrump media operation dedicated to being anti-populist and NeverTrump…we guess.  Yesterday, both men resigned from their roles as Fox News contributors.  They want out and away from Fox.  Interestingly, their erstwhile conservative friends on social media also want them out and away from Fox.  And since everyone wants the same thing, they all decided to fight about it on Twitter.

Now, if it seems strange to you that a bunch of people who all want the same thing would waste their weekends fighting about how they all want the same thing, then you probably don’t spend much time on Twitter and probably don’t pay too much attention to the inner-workings of the media wing of the conservative movement.  Fighting – viciously, maliciously, angrily, and childishly – about how everyone wants the same thing is what Twitter is for and is also a nice precis of conservative media history, especially since 2015-16.  “’I don’t want to work at Fox any longer.’  ‘Oh, yeah?  Well, screw off, Lumpy!  I don’t want you to work at Fox News any longer!  How do you like that?’”  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Good stuff.

To be perfectly blunt, none of this matters one whit to us.  We haven’t paid much attention to Goldberg since he left National Review, and we never paid much attention to Hayes.  If they want to leave Fox News or join Fox News or buy MSNBC or whatever, it’s all fine with us.  We’d likely never notice, which, we suppose, is why they made a big production about leaving – so that we (collectively) would notice.

What’s interesting to us is WHY Goldberg and Hayes left Fox.  And lucky for us, they were kind enough to write and to talk to NPR about their reasons.  The following is from the latter:

In separate interviews with NPR, Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg pointed to a breaking point earlier this month: network star Tucker Carlson's three-part series on the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol that relied on fabrications and conspiracy theories to exonerate the Trump supporters who participated in the attack.

"It's basically saying that the Biden regime is coming after half the country and this is the War on Terror 2.0," Goldberg tells NPR. "It traffics in all manner of innuendo and conspiracy theories that I think legitimately could lead to violence. That for me, and for Steve, was the last straw."

Now, to be clear, we haven’t seen Carlson’s series, titled Patriot Purge, and we can’t really comment on its contents.  What we can comment on, however, is the idea that Fox News opinion journalists, like Carlson, traffic in “conspiracy theories.”  We’re not sure if Goldberg and Hayes have noticed, but lately, a lot of crazy, unhinged, completely batty conspiracy theories have shown to be not crazy, not unhinged, and not completely batty.  And that’s especially true of “conspiracies” trafficked in by Carlson.

Once upon a time, for example, it was outrageous conspiracy-mongering to suggest that the entire Steele Dossier/Russian collusion story was 100% fabricated by Donald Trump’s enemies.  How could that possibly be, the alleged mongers were repeatedly asked.  Manafort was convicted for Russia-gate crimes.  And so was Michael Flynn…and a handful of others.  It COULDN’T possibly be a hoax. And yet

Does anyone still believe the story that Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to win the 2016 presidential election? If so, special counsel John Durham’s indictment of Igor Danchenko should put their minds at rest.

The 39-page document is rich with detail on the origins, use and abuse of the Russian collusion story as a means to undermine the 2016 Trump campaign.

Danchenko is identified as the person who collected information “that ultimately formed the core of the allegations” in the infamous dossier by Christopher Steele. Danchenko was indicted on lying to the FBI in 2017 about who he was working with and where his information came from.

The indictment exposes former Hillary Clinton aide Charles Dolan, identified only as “PR Executive-1,” as an important Danchenko source. Dolan allegedly fed Danchenko information he claimed he had obtained when he “had a drink with a GOP friend,” but later admitted he had fabricated the story. The indictment also shows that PR Executive-1 was an important source for reporting by The Washington Post and the Times of London when the Steele dossier scandal broke in January 2017.

The Danchenko indictment is particularly telling in detailing how the fake story was inserted into the political ecosystem, starting with Dolan and perhaps others. Danchenko allegedly fed the falsehoods to Steele, a British former intelligence operative hired by Fusion GPS to conduct the research.

More recently, it was not merely conspiracy-mongering, but RACIST, white supremacist conspiracy-mongering to suggest that the COVID-19 virus came from anything other than a group of backward people eating bats and pangolins.  And yet…

The theory that coronavirus started in a Wuhan laboratory has been supported by recently leaked documents.

The leaked documents add more weight to the theory that the deadly pathogen leaked from Wuhan’s Institute of Virology. Campaigners say Wuhan scientists were studying viral samples of high-risk bat species living in Laos. This has drawn a link between a pathogen that is a close relative to COVID-19 that was found in Laos and the research performed at the Wuhan laboratory.

The documents suggest that in September scientists discovered a viral strain called Banal-52 in Laos.

This coronavirus strain shares 96.8 percent of its genome with COVID-19.

Now questions surround how a bat-borne virus from Laos could have ended up sparking an outbreak in Wuhan, which is more than 1,000 miles away.

Leaked emails between scientific research foundation EcoHealth Alliance and US government funders show viral samples were being actively collected from bats in Laos.

These samples were then taken back to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for study.

The emails between EcoHealth Alliance and the US government funders suggest that viral DNA from “bats and other high-risk species” were sent to Wuhan between June 2017 to May 2019.

As for the completely absurd idea that the FBI might be involved in a false flag operation, please recall the following, about the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer:

The government has documented at least 12 confidential informants who assisted the sprawling investigation. The trove of evidence they helped gather provides an unprecedented view into American extremism, laying out in often stunning detail the ways that anti-government groups network with each other and, in some cases, discuss violent actions.

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

A longtime government informant from Wisconsin, for example, helped organize a series of meetings around the country where many of the alleged plotters first met one another and the earliest notions of a plan took root, some of those people say. The Wisconsin informant even paid for some hotel rooms and food as an incentive to get people to come.

The Iraq War vet, for his part, became so deeply enmeshed in a Michigan militant group that he rose to become its second-in-command, encouraging members to collaborate with other potential suspects and paying for their transportation to meetings. He prodded the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping plot to advance his plan, then baited the trap that led to the arrest.

This account is based on an analysis of court filings, transcripts, exhibits, audio recordings, and other documents, as well as interviews with more than two dozen people with direct knowledge of the case, including several who were present at meetings and training sessions where prosecutors say the plot was hatched….

Our point here isn’t to say that Goldberg and Hayes are wrong for leaving Fox or that Carlson is right that the January 6th riots were egged on and encouraged by the feds.  Rather, our point is that anyone who claims that they know with 100% certainty that all of this is wild conspiracy-mongering simply hasn’t been paying attention.  “Conspiracy mongering” ain’t what it used to be.  And, indeed, there is rich irony that the charge of conspiracy-mongering comes from Goldberg, of all people, whose mother encouraged Linda Tripp to record her conversations with Monic Lewinsky, thereby turning that incident of “vast right-wing conspiracy” mongering into the impeachment of the 42nd President of the United States.

Neither the federal government nor the media who report on it, all of whom thoroughly detest the American people and conservatives specifically, is trustworthy.  And they’ve demonstrated that over and over (and over…).  While there is no question that some of the conservative media’s claims about the government and about the election, for example, were demonstrably false, there is almost no charge made against the government or the press that should be dismissed out of hand.  They’ve earned our contempt and our scrutiny.

To be clear, we have no idea what did or did not happen on and before January 6th.  It may, in fact, be nutty to suggest that the FBI had a role in stirring up the events of the day.  But we don’t KNOW that.  And we sure as heck aren’t going to be the ones who say that.  After writing a long, detailed account of Chinese wet markets, the risks inherent within, and the dangers of the butchering practices conducted, etc., we have no interest whatsoever in sticking our necks out to reinforce the government-encouraged MSM storyline again.

Of course, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes are under no obligation to take our word for anything.  They’re Big Boys.  They can do what they want.  More power to them.

But then, nor are we under any obligation to accept their interpretation of what is or is not a wild conspiracy.

We don’t have the foggiest idea.

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