Trump and Putin: Legitimate Concerns or Anti-Russia Propaganda?

Trump's connections to Russia are a key factor in the election, according to the corporate media. However, most coverage of the issue suggests that this is less about attacking Trump and more about painting Russia as the enemy.


Credit – Salon

The mainstream media has focused extensive attention on Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, particularly to Russian president Vladimir Putin, all the while failing to cover recent leaks exposing the corruption of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Though Donald Trump has many, many flaws, the connections between Trump and Russia have been raised by mainstream media as one of the major reasons not to vote for him. After Trump stated an interest in potentially working with Russia to defeat ISIS and that he would prefer friendly relations with the nation as opposed to the alternative, many media outlets decided what was termed Trump’s “man-crush” on Putin – all because Trump did not condemn the Russian government.

CNN, the New Yorker, the New York Times, Time magazine, New York magazine and Salon all ran stories referencing this alleged “man-crush” or “bromance.” In New York magazine’s article, Trump said he could alienate voters by “his expressed reluctance to defend potential victims of Russian aggression” as well as Russia’s “apparent interest” in Trump winning the election though both Trump and Russia’s government have officially denied these claims and no direct evidence has been presented for either claim.


Credit – ABC News

A recent segment by ABC News reporter Brian Ross also revived concerns about Trump and Russia after Ross’ report accused Trump of lying about having “zero” connections to Russia and that he had no investments in the country. Ross claimed in the segment that Trump had pandered to Russian business interests for years by traveling to Russia and other Eastern European countries with his children – all of whom have Eastern European heritage. Though this may be true, no Russian companies or individuals are named in the report and the only evidence shown for this claim are pictures and videos of Trump and his children in other countries. Ross interviewed Sergei Millian, a Belarus native who chairs the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, about Trump’s ties to Russian businesses.

Millian said that Trump had made hundreds of million of dollars by selling Russians condos in south Florida as well as by bringing the Miss Universe pageant he owns to Moscow in 2013. Later on in the segment, Ross accused Trump of allowing an unidentified man said to be linked to the Russian mafia into the VIP section of the Moscow-hosted Miss Universe pageant. This accusation, however, did not appear in the print edition of the story and the man remains unidentified.

Trump had previously said that he had no close relationships with the Russian government but admitted that he sells real estate to Russian clients. This is well known as Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., said that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” during a 2008 real estate conference. However, Trump has never built any projects in Russia, though he attempted to negotiate projects in the Republic of Georgia and Azerbaijan, which are nearby. Even though neither country is actually Russia, Ross points out that they are the former Soviet States, which apparently means they might as well be Russia despite the Soviet Union’s collapse decades ago. However, nowhere does Ross mention Trump’s ties to the Russian government or to Putin, which had previously been the source of the initial outcry. Though it is known that Trump has been involved in shady business dealings, the billionaire’s misdeeds were not the focus of Brain Ross’ segment. Instead, Trump was being accused of doing business with people from Russia, which Ross’ segment suggested that this alone was worthy of condemnation.

This narrative plays nicely into the hands of the Clinton campaign as Hillary Clinton has repeatedly blamed Russia for hacking the DNC and other sensitive emails that have shaken up the presidential race. Combining her anti-Russian stance with her attacks on her opponents is a “win-win” for Hillary. It should come as no surprise, then, that George Stephanopoulos, who hosts the ABC morning news program where Ross’ report aired, has donated over $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, which he failed to disclose, and was once a strategist for Bill Clinton. Brian Ross himself is controversial as he previously erroneously linked Colorado theater shooter James Holmes to the Tea Party with no evidence and falsely reported that Iraq was responsible for US Anthrax attacks in 2001. Given the massive collusion taking place between the mainstream media and the Clinton campaign, it is essential to ask whether these are attacks were intended to bring down Trump or if they represent an escalation of anti-Russian sentiment with other goals in mind.

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