There were so many false reports circulated by the dominant corporate wing of the U.S. media as part of the five-year-long Russiagate hysteria that in January, 2019, I compiled what I called “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” The only difficult part of that article was choosing which among the many dozens of retractions, corrections and still-uncorrected factual falsehoods merited inclusion in the worst-ten list. So stiff was the competition that I was forced to omit many huge media Russiagate humiliations, and thus, to be fair to those who missed the cut, had to append a large “Dishonorable Mention” category at the end.
That the entire Russiagate storyline itself was a fraud and a farce is conclusively demonstrated by one decisive fact that can never be memory-holed: namely, the impetus for the scandal and subsequent investigation was the conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign had secretly and criminally conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election, primarily hacking into the email inboxes of the DNC and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta. And a grand total of zero Americans were accused (let alone convicted) of participating in that animating conspiracy.
The New York Times’ May, 2017 announcement of Robert Mueller as special counsel stated explicitly that his task was “to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials” and specifically “investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.’”
The related secondary media-created conspiracy theory was that the Kremlin clandestinely controlled U.S. political institutions by virtue of sexual and financial blackmail held over President Trump, which they used to compel him to obediently obey their dictates. “I don’t know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially” was the dark innuendo which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her media allies most loved to spout. “Prestige news” outlets created their own Q-Anon-level series of art designed to implant in Americans’ minds a slew of McCarthyite imagery showing the Kremlin (or an iconic Moscow cathedral they mistook for the Kremlin) having fully infiltrated Washington’s key institutions.