Playing Americans for dupes | The Seattle Times

The Trump playbook leans on fake news, and assumes we’ll nod credulously and play along, writes Jonathan Martin.

Donald Trump’s expected pick for a top diplomatic job suggested that the U.S. intelligence community was wrong about the Russians hacking the election to help Trump. Instead, maybe it was a “false flag” operation, John Bolton said.

It’s a jaw-dropping claim. False flags are covert operations intended to obscure their source. But what was John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, really saying? That U.S. intelligence agencies planted evidence that pointed Putin’s way? Or, as Bolton claimed the next day, was it the Chinese making it look like the Russians, and our spy agencies played along for “political purposes.”

Maybe it’s more simple: Russia’s hack squad meddled in the election at Trump’s invitation. “We don’t know whether it’s Russian-inspired or a false flag,” Bolton said.

That’s the intoxicating thing about conspiracy theories — layers within layers, the tantalizing hope of deeper hidden truth lurking somewhere.

Get ready for a lot more fake news from the Trump team. Trump likes conspiracies. So do people he’s surrounding himself with. You can almost envision the White House bully pulpit being wrapped in a tinfoil coating.

Bolton’s head fake came straight out of the Trump playbook. Delegitimize an institution — in this case, his spy agencies — for political ends by raising the unproven specter of an “other.”

Ignore the scientists on climate change — it’s a Chinese hoax. President Obama is foreign born — a Hawaiian bureaucrat who authenticated his fake birth certificate died in a mysterious plane crash. Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK — he was hanging out with Lee Harvey Oswald.

Trump’s team includes former chairman Stephen Bannon. His website speculated the Orlando nightclub shooting was a false flag, maybe to drum up sympathy for the gay community and support for gun control.

Trump’s pick for national security adviser traffics in fake news about Clinton, and the pick’s son, a member of the Trump transition team, breathed life into the astonishing Hillary Clinton-child sex ring-Pizzagate conspiracy.

Most disturbing is Trump’s apparent affection for kooky conspiratorialist Alex Jones, who accused families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims of faking the attack in a false flag operation….

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