I used to listen to Thom Hartman in my studio. I loved listening to his astute, well-articulated arguments as I struggled with canvas and paint. I especially enjoyed the lunch with Bernie hour. But I was later dismayed to learn that Thom’s program was funded by the Russian Government—or shall we say—oligarchs?
Through the election until now, I’ve been struck by the propaganda, mendacity and maddening projection, whereby paid trolls exploit gullible viewers and draw them toward extreme positions on both the left and right.
Opposite this approach is the “friend argument,” as when 45–under Bannon’s council–tries to combat his sexist, homophobic image by nominating Gorsuch who, because he has a gay friend, seems sympathetic to LGTBQ community.
Breitbart uses Milo Yiannopoulos similarly. But rather than appease moderate, gay Republicans with a dog bone, Yiannapoulos’s appeals to young radicals who can be persuaded by his gaudily ambiguous persona to embrace Steve Bannon’s racist agenda.
I am trolled mercilessly on RT threads when I bring up Thom’s questionable relationship with Putin’s main propaganda arm. The only articulate response I get are the familiar, tedious attacks against the DNC and strenuous denials of Putin/45 collusion. This concerns me greatly since I still agree with most of Thom’s arguments. But since Putin would not do anything counter to his authoritarian agenda, there must be some payoff for his toleration of Thom’s views. Putin is a master manipulator who plays plays our differences, as well as our accord, against one another. He is the Russian Iago.
The trade-off is that while Putin provides a platform for Thom’s well-reasoned rhetoric, Thom delivers an audience of educated hipsters and die-hard Berners to RT; where they see programs like Redacted tonight, that try to mould said, hipster opinions along 3rd party and alt-right lines. And Putin comes off as open-minded to boot. This is one way that well-meaning progressives are being played by Putin.
This is not meant to cast aspersions on Thom Hartman, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, or the good intentions of their supporters. But I think it’s a lapse of judgement on Thom’s part. The trade-off isn’t worth it.
RT trolls call me paranoid and irrelevant but why should Thom Hartman be above criticism?
Why would Putin invite a progressive, third party candidate like Jill Stein to attend the RT gala dinner alongside Michael Flynn? Trolls say it is because their authoritarian leader is open to contrary points of view. What a laugh.