There Will Be a Trump Thing That’s Not a Real Thing

The false flag, the fake scandal, the weird double bluff – there is a set of things that live somewhere between conspiracy theory and the art of political ‘ratf_cking’ i.e. one faction messing with the heads of another political faction.

So far we haven’t yet had a case of something that looks hyper-plausible about Trump, with plausible evidence that’s so tempting that a media source jumps on it but…it turns out to be demonstrably false and everybody looks both foolish and crooked. Whether created by con-artists looking for money/attention, or created by over-eager Democrats hoping to find a shortcut to impeachment, or created by the likes of ‘Project Veritas‘ – the rightwing propaganda group infamous for their fake media ‘stings’, the source almost doesn’t matter. What matters is the creation of doubt.

Create a fake & easily discredited scandal and the perception of actual scandals becomes tarnished. As a tactic, it is risky because it necessitates creating a scandal about the person the process is designed to help. However, if that person is already mired in myriad scandals then the downsides to such a fake scandal become less.

Trump would seem to already well past the point where it would be worthwhile for some supporter to fabricate a fake scandal for the purpose of discrediting the media. I suppose the main barrier to such a scheme would be it being drowned out by so many other scandals.

Maybe I’m overthinking things. However, I’m mindful of how the ‘Killian Documents‘ proved so effective at undermining media investigations into George W Bush. Roger Stone, a man with many and murky links with Trump, has denied in the past any involvement in the Killian Documents:

“Those papers were potentially devastating to George Bush. You couldn’t put them out there assuming that they would be discredited. You couldn’t have assumed that this would rebound to Bush’s benefit. I believe in bank shots, but that one was too big a risk.” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/06/02/the-dirty-trickster

Stone has a point and I think the potential for such a scheme to backfire on George W Bush is a compelling argument that the Killian Documents were actually a Republican operation. But it is notable that Stone’s argument was not an ethical one or an argument about practicalities or feasibility. Instead, it was essentially an argument that applies to Bush but doesn’t apply to Trump.

I’m back to the same observation: embrace a healthy scepticism about things.

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