Jill Stein Is an Agent of Putin, Too



by Justin E. H. Smith

Putin is now plainly following the same tactic in US electoral politics that he has successfully promoted in Greece and elsewhere: supporting both far-right and left tendencies indiscriminately. He is happy with any new political order that disrupts the establishment, and would welcome either a Jill Stein or a Donald Trump presidency in the United States. He knows only one of these two has any real chance of winning, and also knows that a good way of bringing this about is to support them both.

Stein is a regular guest of the RT network. Formerly called Russia Today, this English-language TV channel has adopted the Kentucky Fried Chicken strategy, rebranding itself ‘KFC’ in order to conceal the negative connotations of at least one word lending a letter to its acronym. Now, to some extent every major media operation is a propaganda operation, and in agreeing to appear in the NY Times or on CNN, people of conscience and reason are making a serious compromise. But RT is a media outlet whose entire raison d’être is disinformation. It also regularly features the conspiracy theorist and Trump satellite Alex Jones, and the antisemite and homophobe Gearoid O Colmain, who has recently been upbraiding the Stalin Society of North America for abandoning the Stalin-era Soviet position on ‘homosexualism’ as a perversion to be corrected by scientific Marxist conversion therapy. It’s all good, for the RT network, and for Putin: however dirty and creepy, however massive the contradictions from one guest to the next, it all disrupts the stranglehold of liberal establishment discourse as dominated by American, and most Western European, media.

And RT is the media environment in which Jill Stein finds it possible to thrive. Pictures are now circulating of her seated at the same table as Putin at an RT gala dinner in Moscow last December. Nearby we also find a Trump advisor, Michael Flynn. It would of course be Kremlin-baiting and slanderous to simply point out that Jill Stein has been to Moscow. I’ve been to Moscow too and I hope to go back soon. (I would emphatically decline any opportunity to meet Putin at a staged spectacle, just as I would Trump). This is something much more serious than that: she is a core member of the media family of the Putin regime’s English-language propaganda arm.

There is, again, no sustained or clear message in the propaganda. Putin’s regime, unlike the Soviet Union, has no real ideology. The only message is intentional disruption of other messages, by means of whatever toxic ideas craven ideologues and unprincipled fools, hungry for media exposure of any sort, feel like throwing out there: anti-vaxxers, 9/11 truthers, birthers, hardline Stalinists, people who think Noam Chomsky is an Israeli agent, etc. It’s dirty as hell, it is soaked through with ideas and values that all of my American progressive friends would find abhorrent if confronted by them directly. And it seriously threatens the outcome of the US presidential elections.

I know many, many people agree that the establishment does need to be brought down, and so are sympathetic to any force that seems to be working toward that. But it is extremely naive to think that it would be possible to achieve any progressive goals at all in a new political landscape that Putin has helped to bring about. The hope for accomplishing progressive goals would come to a screeching halt, as all political effort of those who resist collaborationism would turn to overthrowing the tyranny, and short of that to minimizing the suffering under it.

Putin wants Trump to be president of the United States. Putin also thinks Jill Stein is alright.

Piece crossposted with