The 2016 election season continues to be quite the wild ride. No matter whether one is following events through the regular media and traditional outlets, or braving the wilds of social media feeds, each new day brings some shocking "revelation"which would have seemed utterly inconceivable the day before ... yet there it is in print.
The latest of these is the airing of the contents of a report which alleges that not only has US President-Elect Donald Trump been fairly actively in-cahoots with the Russians this entire time (again); but that this remarkable degree of hypothetical co-operation has been achieved in part via the Russian state-security agency producing blackmail materials of a sexual nature designed to ensure Trump's co-operation.
A month ago, we were all talking about "Fake News" and how it had the power to 'unfairly' swing election results by causing serious - yet hard to refute - political damage. It would be wise to recall what was said then, because this latest round of unproven allegations - incredibly flimsy statements which The Guardian referred to as "unverified and potentially unverifiable" - seem to fit pretty exactly into that category of "reporting".
At best, we are dealing with a breathless media (and any number of now-feeling-incredibly-smug/vindicated social media unprofessional commentators) taking note of something from a report that's now in official hands, and broadcasting it at loudspeaker-levels of both volume and distortion.
Because who doesn't love something exciting and sexually weird when it features a politician. It's certainly fairly ideal muck-raking material if you're employed to run what's known as "opposition research" by a rival political campaign. Which, of course, the author of this report was. He was also apparently an ex-MI6 operative . Although while the latter qualification is bandied about by those seeking to convince us of the allegation's authenticity, I'd respectfully suggest that the former vocation - that of paid-political professional hack-job executor - may potentially be rather more relevant when it comes to assessing the claim's credibility.
So why is it that my newsfeed's seemingly gone nuts reposting exaggerated recounts (and some rather hilarious hashtags and memes) attempting to put the boot in to Trump over this?
Well, the story appears to have acquired such vehemence across the sphere of human political communication because there are any number of people out there presently enjoying a sense of 'the shoe' being on the other foot. That is to say, last year they were annoyed at how Trump-amenable "fake news" stories were thought to have made a dent in Clinton's "guaranteed to win" status ... and feel it's now "fair" to descend down to the same level when the target's The Big Orange Opponent as a result.
Although other possibilities for the story's spread have also been advanced.
One narrative has anti-Trumpists still within the Republican Party popularizing the report and handing it on to various official bodies for the express purpose of tarnishing Trump. Perhaps as some sort of last-ditch attempt to prevent his now-impending Inauguration through the shadowy specter of "blackmail-liability". John McCain certainly appears to be a rather big player in this particular rodeo; and it's an almost-perfect mashup of both NeoCon and Conservative talking points (in specia: "Reds under the Bed", and the aforementioned bed being urinated upon as some sort of arguable sexual deviancy).
Another theory has those lovable scamps over on 4chan somehow managing to pass "Donald Trump erotic fanfiction" [eeuugh] off as credible material to the report's authors, who've since carried out their unwitting role in the 'prank' by feeding it into the international news media and intelligence world. In these days of "Pepe the Frog" apparently 'memeing' Trump into the White House, and various Breitbart personalities now becoming part of the new Trumpist political establishment, such a theory would certainly be in-keeping with the spirit of recent events. And certainly, it's no less plausible in some ways than the actual allegation being discussed.
Good grief. What a mess.
But this was far from the only report into the alleged Trump-Putin-FSB/GRU Bromance to make headlines this week. And some of the others are perhaps worth a look. If only, at least, to reconfirm one's suspicions that this whole big beatup on alleged Russian influence over Trump is .. well .. exactly that. A part of a long-running game of pinata between elements of the US Deep State who're pretty lukewarm on an improvement in US-Russian Relations taking turns to attempt to pillory the one man who might just make such a 'thaw' happen.
So in conclusion ... if we are being honest, it is too early for conclusions. More material may yet emerge from CNN's fact-checking to vindicate some of the seemingly wild rumours which have sprung up in the wake of this story. I doubt it, but in these modern times of the Current Year, anything is seemingly possible.
More likely, nothing substantial will come out from the shadows. And we'll be left - much as we were last month - with two bitterly divided rhetorically-armed camps flinging falsehoods at one another in the hopes that eventually something sticks.
But in any case, what has happened over the past few days is rather instructive for how a political party still reeling from seemingly-inexplicable [to themselves, at least] defeat behaves.
As I've said elsewhere:
> Democrats: "THIS FAKE NEWS EPIDEMIC COST US THE ELECTION AND HAS NO PLACE IN OUR POLITICS!"
> Also Democrats: "I just read that Trump's being blackmailed by Moscow with piss-fetish proof - it's all over Buzzfeed!"