Please note: This article is being written in late August for publication in early September. The longer than normal lead time is to accommodate my travel schedule. While the article is written as a prediction, it may in fact be commenting on something that already occurred. In any event I expect multiple leaks before Election Day and the advice contained within is applicable regardless of chronology.
It appears Wikileaks has aligned itself with the Putin regime in Russia and together they have and will continue to release purloined e-mails and other related information with the goals of embarrassing Hillary Clinton and thereby influencing Americans to vote for Putin’s preferred candidate, Donald Trump, in the upcoming American Presidential election.
This is nothing new; it is actually an old KGB tactic. Remember Vladimir Putin ran the KGB for the former USSR. The most devious part of their “leaks” program was to often “augment” the disseminated information with a falsehood or two that made it even more damning for their foe and friendly to the candidate they were backing. The inherent problem is that the receiver of the information doesn’t know what credible information is and what a fabrication is. Therefore the only intelligent thing to do is disregard the entire message. The problem is that runs contrary to human nature.
To further complicate the dilemma the news media gets into the mix. Obviously the right wing fringe media and Fox News will play up any anti-Clinton angle. Since most Americans basically disregard those “news sources” we will dispense with a further discussion of their impact other than to say it will help reinforce the Trump base. Fortunately the Trump’s base is insufficient for him to ride it to victory in November.
The real problem will be the objective media. Most media is for-profit and scandal sells. An e-mail about how Clinton loves her grandchildren will get no ink or air time. One that portrays her in a poor or questionable light makes headlines. That is simply the nature of the beast. Fires, arrests and car crashes dominate local news; cute little puppies are slow news day fillers before we go to the sports or weather reports.
From the standpoint of the campaign strategist the untrue leaks (and there will be more than one) are impossible to prepare for and almost impossible to believably refute. How do you prepare for fiction? How do you disprove a negative?
The individual voter is confronted with a dilemma. The best advice I can give is look for believability coupled with corroborating evidence. If the story sounds tailor made for the pages of The National Enquirer and the leak is the single source, take it with a grain of salt. Oh, the fun hasn’t started yet.
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