Collusion Among Friends?

Election 2016

A few days ago, a hacker that goes by the silly name “Guccifer” (and Guccifer2) released a bunch of documents it supposedly hacked from the DNC. Now, a lot of people made a big deal out of whether or not these documents were real, but if you bother to look at them, who really cares? Even if they are real, they’re a big yawner. Gosh, the DNC supports Democratic candidates? Perish the thought! The only thing I found interesting in the entire document dump was the Trump opposition research, which was pretty amazing and incredibly damning to Trump.

Of course, the Bernie Stans are once again taking the cynical approach and looking at these documents – in particular one memo – and screaming “collusion.” They are crying that the DNC and Hillary worked together to rig the process in favor of Hillary. There’s just one problem with that – it’s ridiculous. First of all, Bernie and Hillary are on the same side, so “colluding” against whom, exactly? More on this in a minute.

They absurd notion is based on the concept that the DNC considered her the front-runner in May 2015. That’s pretty much the entire premise. A little over a year ago, the DNC talked about Hillary as if she was a frontrunner and was probably going to win the nomination, so in the cynical minds of the Bernie Stans, who increasingly remind me of the Tea Party people, that becomes evidence that they planned to hand her the nomination and kneecap anyone who tried to stop her.

Again, for the purposes of this column, we’re going to assume the memo is real, but the assumptions the Bernie Stans are making are based on fantasy.  While it’s true that the memo basically refers to Hillary as the nominee, it was written way back in May 2015, when she was ahead of everyone else by more than 40 points. I remember that time, and frankly, even most Bernie acolytes believed that he had no chance to do anything more than “influence the debate.” At the time he and Joe Biden were essentially tied for second, and both were only marginally ahead of Martin O’Malley.

This is not proof that the DNC treated Bernie Sanders unfairly. There seems to be this notion that the DNC is required to deal with every candidate exactly the same, which is ridiculous on its face. But let’s pretend that was the case. Even if this was a DNC memo, should they have wasted the money on research and development of contingency plans for Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb, as well? Why aren’t the Bernie Stans equally concerned that the DNC apparently (as far as we know, anyway) didn’t have similar strategies in place for those candidates? Because their cynicism has no basis in reality, that’s why.

Of course, there’s also the obvious FACT that this isn’t actually a DNC memo.

How many Bernie Stans have mentioned this in their diatribe against everything they don’t like?

See, the Guccifer documents, like most of the documents dumped by Edward Snowden, contain absolutely zero context. Look closely at the top of the memo.

guccifer memo

It’s not FROM the DNC, it’s TO the DNC. There is no indication who wrote it. There is no way to know why it was written. Perhaps it was a draft (possible, since the first paragraph is incomplete) and they drafted one that referred to each of the Democratic candidates, including Bernie. We can’t know that because faux “journalists” like “Guccifer” think that simply obtaining documents and disclosing them is the entire job of journalism.

Only the worst reporters will simply give you what they’ve obtained without doing the research necessary to verify its context. And no, I don’t mean simply its authenticity, I mean its entire context. Where did the document come from? Who produced it? What folder was it in when it was dumped? (You have to agree that having been in a folder entitled “DNC Memos” gives it a different context than if it was in “Recycle Bin,” for example.) Has anyone else at the DNC even seen it? Did they discard it, or did they adopt it officially? Are there other, similar documents that might apply to other candidates?

Skepticism is a liberal trait. If we don’t question the information we’re presented with, we’re no better than the average Trump voter. As was the case with the Snowden documents, we have to ask questions about information like this.

On the other hand, cynicism can’t be a liberal trait. Believing bullshit just because you want to is not acceptable if you want to be thought of as an intellectually honest person. Be better than the right wing.

The exercise of critical thinking in any situation is an all-too-infrequently applied process. The silliness you describe would have succumbed to CT in short order if the gullible and the hardliners had ever learned those skills.

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