Matt Taibbi: Mass Hysteria Over Putin Is Embarrassing
'Rolling Stone' writer is disturbed by the craziness he sees in media, politics
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2017 11:56 AM CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow on April 4, 2017.   (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone thinks there should be an independent investigation into President Trump's ties to Russia. But until that inquiry or any other turns up actual evidence of collusion into the 2016 election, he also thinks people need to calm down. Because what's unfolding right now, he writes, is nothing short of "conspiratorial mass hysteria." Reporters seem "paralyzed" by the story, afraid of challenging it in case it ends up being true. "Nobody wants to be the one claiming the emperor has no clothes the day His Highness walks out naked." Taibbi, for instance, says he has written some "very tame" stories on the matter, suggesting that the media wait for the aforementioned evidence before going crazy—only to be accused of being on Putin's payroll.

"One way we recognize a mass hysteria movement is that everyone who doesn't believe is accused of being in on the plot," writes Taibbi. "This has been going on virtually unrestrained in both political and media circles in recent weeks." He finds it remarkable that British conspiracist Louise Mensch is a "suddenly legitimate" source in the eyes of the New York Times and others, this the same woman who insists that Putin murdered Andrew Breitbart. He also calls out politicians such as Democratic Sen. Mark Warner for being fixated on the idea of Russian infiltration to nearly comic extremes. (Warner was brushing up on his Tolstoy and Nabokov.) The evidence of Russian collusion may be thin, "but on the mass hysteria front, we already have evidence enough to fill a dozen books," writes Taibbi. "And if it doesn't freak you out, it probably should." Click for the full piece.

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