Stephen F. Cohen continuing his lonely campaign to stop the media from "Kremlin-Baiting President Trump”

Historians in the News
tags: Russia, Putin, Trump, Stephen F Cohen

Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at

Cohen regrets the subject of tonight’s discussion. He prefers to focus his decades of scholarly study and personal experience on loftier developments in Russia and issues in US-Russian relations. But the bipartisan, nearly full-political-spectrum tsunami of allegations that President Trump has been seditiously “compromised” by the Kremlin (Thomas Friedman, New York Times, February 15), with scarcely any non-partisan pushback at any influential political or media levels—and without any yet verified facts—is deeply alarming. Begun by the Clinton campaign in mid 2016, and exemplified now by the strident innuendos of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and equally unbalanced bookings at CNN and elsewhere, the practice is growing into a kind of latter-day McCarthyite red-baiting and hysteria. Such politically malignant practices are to be deplored anywhere they appear, without exception, whether on the part of conservatives or liberals or progressives. They are driven by political forces with various agendas: the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party that wants to maintain its grip on the party in its internal struggle ahead by insisting she did not lose the election but it was stolen by Russian President Putin for Trump; by enemies of Trump’s proposed détente with Russia, who want to discredit both him and Putin; by Republicans and Democrats outraged that Trump essentially ran and won without either party, thereby threatening the established two-party system, etc. Whatever the motivating factors, the ensuing slurring of Trump, which is already producing calls for his impeachment, poses grave threats to US and international security and to American democracy itself.

Cohen does not deny that one or more of the allegations against Trump may be true, as might be almost anything in modern-day political history. Instead, he insists that no verified facts have actually been presented for the allegations. And without facts, all of us—professors, politicians, doctors, journalists—are doomed to malpractice or worse. (Though Cohen welcomes an impartial and independent investigation to search for such facts, which would then be evaluated objectively, he doubts one is possible in the current political atmosphere.) ...

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