Some commentators liken the media obsession with “Russiagate” to a cult. As the obsessive coverage of the investigation increasingly diverges from reality, the moniker becomes ever more fitting. The media-political cult of Russiagate bears an uncanny similarity with the thought-control doctrines of authoritarian cults. The eight principles outlined by Robert Jay Lifton in his seminal studies of thought control are instructive here:

 

1. Milieu Control - limiting access to information and contact with outsiders (non-establishment media is smeared as fake news, Russian propaganda, even treasonous - we are discouraged from reading and watching it and told to discourage others from doing the same)

2. Mystical Manipulation - cultivating a sense of awe and and importance around the leader[s] (FBI/CIA/NSA information-gathering methods shrouded in official secrecy; fetishization of “classified” ratings and government reports even when information therein is not national-security sensitive)

3. Demand for Purity - requiring unreasonable levels of perfection (more apparent in “liberal” circles in general than in Russiagate specifically, but speech-police restrictions adopted out of fear of offending or triggering others fit in here)

4. Cult of Confession - guilt-induction, scapegoating, inculcating self-doubt (Sanders and Stein supporters painted as dupes of Russian propaganda responsible for election loss; suggestion that media “priest class” is required to interpret government and IC reports correctly - we are told not to trust our own reasoning when the official narrative doesn’t add up)

5. Sacred Science - appeal to a higher “scientific” authority - obscure processes which cannot be questioned (Hamilton 68 dashboard purporting to divine the aims of the Kremlin propaganda apparatus, CrowdStrike assessment used to “prove” Russian intelligence hacked the DNC)

6. Loading the Language - “buzzwords” used as thought-stopping techniques to shut down questioning (“fake news,” “collusion,” even terms like “liberal” are largely empty of meaning after a 2016 election which saw neocons cross the partisan divide en masse to support Clinton - ostensibly the favored candidate of “liberals” even as she was wholly a creature of the military-industrial complex)

7. Doctrine Over Person - the needs of the cult are placed above the needs of the individual (liberals were told to “put aside our differences” with neocons in the 2016 election and work together to elect Clinton - even though making common cause with warmongers goes against everything liberals supposedly stand for. Even now we’re supposed to trust the intelligence agencies that have lied to and abused us for their entire existence)

8. Dispensing of Existence - an “us vs. them” outlook resulting in dehumanization of outsiders as unworthy of life (dissident journalists are denounced as Russian agents - a.k.a. traitors, criminals unworthy of the protections of law. In Ukraine this has already resulted in a rise in violence against journalists)

 

The ultimate goal of the Russiagate narrative is silencing dissent. Just as an authoritarian cult will brook no divergence from the official doctrine, nor will the establishment media and its Russiagate acolytes tolerate alternative-media deviants questioning the official narrative. Welcome to 1984. All indicators point to the rollout of a Ukrainian-style “Ministry of Truth” which has as its ultimate aim the outsourcing of police-state violence to a heavily propagandized citizenry - the creation of an army of fanatical True Believers ready to stamp out anti-establishment voices. Facebook’s partnership with the pro-NATO Atlantic Council is just the beginning of an unprecedented crackdown on free speech in the name of controlling “Russian propaganda” and “fake news.” Dissenting voices are being marginalized, demonized, and criminalized. Liberals, convinced they're participating in a noble "Resistance" against an illegitimate president, have been duped into acting as the shock troops of their own oppression. Russiagate is more than the "new WMD" intended to pave the way for World War 3 - it is a full frontal assault on our freedom of speech. It is the responsibility of all journalists to speak up while we still can.