As I have said many times, the 'Russia collusion' story has always been fake, it started with the Clinton campaign and the DNC and has been perpetuated by the media for over a year now.
But just because it is fake does not mean it hasn't had impact. In fact the impact has been exactly what the Democrats intended.
Through the literally tens of thousands of news reports claiming collusion between the Trump administration and the Russians, the American public has been deceived. Further, some of the American public will continue to believe these stories no matter what revelations come in the future.
This is the nature of propaganda, it is a matter of frequency and credibility (similar to marketing, by the way). The NY Times, the Washington Post and CNN have been considered to be of the highest integrity, unimpeachably truthful. Between these three outlets, reporting almost every day about the 'Russia probe' this means at least a couple of thousand direct and impactful articles, plus news outlets around the country parroting these same reports, and politicians quoting these articles for the next news cycle.
I've seen as many as 8 anti-Trump articles on the Washington Post home page, if you count the 6 daily editorials. No one expects pro-Trump articles from the Post, in fact it is one of the most liberal news sources in the country. But the Russia probe was never a real story (I'll re-cap this below).
The effect has been dramatic. The rank and file liberals have hammered this issue, furthering the polarization of America. For the most part people believe what they are told. We especially believe lies that we want to believe anyway.
Even conservatives have believed this story. Despite our reservations with the starkly liberal perspective, we have respected the reach and reputation of these three sources over their history. Up until this point, we would never have suspected deliberate and sustained deception.
If you are a student of propaganda (like I am), you may note that propaganda in the Soviet Union stopped working because it was proven to be unreliable. It turned out that Voice of America and Radio Free Europe reported accurately, the good the bad and the ugly. Pravda always took the government line, custom designed to make the Soviet government look good, in charge, in the right. VOA reporting described the West with all of its warts, shocking and unheard of in a very sheltered Soviet Union. And there are likely others to come.
Unfortunately for the Soviets, this had a snowball effect. Voice of America and Radio Free Europe can be given credit as a major factor in the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and the eventual fall of the Soviet Union.
As for the WaPost, NY Times and CNN, the short term effects are likely not very impactful. Their perceived integrity is perhaps enough to carry them a while. But the Russia probe is not the only false reporting they have done. We have a great deal of fake news surrounding climate change. We have the DNC scandal being blamed on the Russians, when it was a freshly murdered Seth Rich.
As it stands not, conservative outlets, like Fox News, Breitbart and Newsmax, are more balanced in their political reporting. How long will it take for city and regional newspapers to start being suspicious of WaPost, NY Times and CNN, and to take their lead from perhaps these sources?
I remember reading Orwell's 1984 and thinking how horrible it would be to live in a society where lines of obvious propaganda were taken as truth. I remember thinking how stupid and limited those people are that they can't see what is obvious.
Oh my, are Americans really this stupid?
Author's note: Just so you know, the Russia collusion story emerged during the presidential campaign over a year ago. Since that time, every person in a position to know has said there is no evidence that Donald Trump has colluded with Russians, nor that he has been influenced in any way.
It has been claimed that intelligence agencies have reported a link between Hillary's emails released by Wiki-Leaks, and the Russians. Many problems with this. First, why hasn't the group or even the agency that wrote this report been identified? Whatever the classification, some politician with access would have released it by now if it were really rock solid.
I saw a supposed outline of this report. It said a group in Europe associated with Russian intelligence had left a "digital fingerprint" in the Hillary email server. If you suppose this is accurate, why were the other questions not asked? Like "who else does this group work with besides the Russians?" If you had valuable information of interest to many intelligence agencies, would you sell to just one? Or would you approach the Chinese and the French and the Germans and anyone else you could reach to maximize your payday?
The second question is "who else has acquired, through sale or theft, the tools from this group?" Could some other group have used the tools and presented the same digital fingerprint? NSA's tools were stolen, perhaps this group's tools were stolen as well.
It has been a year, folks, with no evidence. Comey's testimony essentially put this to bed. Mueller won't find anything because there is nothing to find, every stone has been turned.
I'm not saying the Russians haven't been meddling, it is in their nature. But their impact was negligible, they never intended to influence anything. Secrecy, low profile, minimizing risk, and avoiding massively public operations where they would certainly be caught, is also their nature. Its just not their style.