Did Fiona Hill perhaps overstate?

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2019

Being liberal means never having to ask:
Did Fiona Hill perhaps overstate one basic point during last week's impeachment hearings?

We'd be inclined to say that she possibly/probably did. That said, it's amazingly easy to state the basic facts about the disrupted issue.

More to the point, being liberal means never having to ask! While the others are being propagandized over on Fox, we liberals get things tribally "simplified" in all our own tribal outlets.

On what did Hill perhaps overstate? At issue is the now-sacred part of her opening statement in which Hill said this:
HILL (11/21/19): Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps, somehow for some reason, Ukraine did.

This is a fictional narrative
that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies confirmed in bipartisan congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.
Within the liberal and mainstream worlds, that is now sacred text. According to Hill, some Republicans on the committee "appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country" during Campaign 2016, and that Ukraine maybe did.

That's a "fictional narrative," Hill said. According to Hill, it's a bogus tale which was invented, and is being peddled, by the Russians themselves.

So spoke Hill, murkily basing her statement on "questions and statements I have heard." She was challenged about this matter by several Republican committee members. In our view, she surrendered a fair amount of ground as she responded to their complaints.

Last Saturday, we posted some of the things Hill said in response to these challenges. In our view, Hill was so far out over her skis that she did something that's nearly impossible—she created a situation in which Devin Nunes was able to make a perfectly accurate statement:
"Needless to say, it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time."
In response to Hill's assessment, Nunes made that accurate statement. He claimed that, while the Russians "meddled," some Ukrainian officials meddled too.

In the face of Nunes' pushback, we'd have to say that Hill backpedaled to a fair extent. To review the sorts of things we mean, see Saturday's report.

Luckily, it's easy to report the basic state of the facts in this matter. Almost everyone seems to agree that it was the Russians who hacked (stole) the DNC emails and arranged for them to be published. Over on the Senate side, Senator Kennedy even agreed with that assessment, speaking to Chris Cuomo last night.

Nunes seemed to say that Republican committee members don't disagree with that assessment. Beyond that, though, he said that some Ukrainian officials "meddled" in other ways.

Hill didn't exactly disagree with Nunes' complaint about the Ukrainian officials. Importantly, she stressed the idea that the "top-down" Russian interference was much more extensive than anything any Ukrainian did.

These basic facts are easy to state—unless you're living at a time of tribal war. In that unfortunate circumstance, the warring tribes will pick and choose from last Thursday's discussion in ways designed to simplify the story in tribally pleasing ways.

Tomorrow, we'll show you how last Thursday's interactions are being sifted for liberal audiences. Conservatives get propagandized on Fox—but our own tribe's most important sachems are routinely embarrassing too.

This is basic "human" nature, top anthropologists repeatedly tell us, speaking to us from the future. Our species runs on tribal true belief, these credentialed experts say, and on the sanding of basic facts to create pleasing tribal narratives.

We're living in "fictitious times," these despondent scholars glumly say. Michael Moore used the formulation first, though he, as humans will generally do, was mainly discussing the "fictional narratives" pimped by those he opposes.

At times of tribal war, warring tribes create dumbly simplified warring tales. According to experts, this ancient human impulse lies at the heart of the problem we're all living with right now, today.

This problem isn't easy to solve. Dissembling makes it worse and tends to serve those in power.

14 comments:

  1. "Within the liberal and mainstream worlds, that is now sacred text."

    Duh. To doubt the zombie creed (of the moment) is a thoughtcrime.

    You know it as well as I do, dear Bob, with is why you have to tip toe around your cult's goebbelsian drivel with pathetic "perhaps overstate?"

    Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many things can be true at the same time.

    1) It's true that it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time.

    2) It's true that investigations show Russia was engaging in election meddling in 2016.

    3) It's true that investigations show Republican claims of Ukraine meddling in our elections in 2016, are baseless.

    4) It's true Bob is working overtime to paint Republican treason as a "both sides" issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true that Bob is a Trumptard

      Delete
  3. The subject which Hill was addressing was whether Ukraine was actually responsible for the meddling which the intelligence professionals said was the work of Russia. This claim which Republicans were pushing was the "fictional narrative" which Hill was referring to. She did not claim that Ukraine did not attempt to influence the election or the general attitude toward Russia.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ' Conservatives get propagandized on Fox—but our own tribe's most important sachems are routinely embarrassing too.'

    You're right, your own tribe of Trumptards are embarrassing too, just not to TDH since you spend so much time defending them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Somerby’s posts on the impeachment hearings have been stunningly superficial, and his focus on Republican bunk lines up almost perfectly with the right-wing’s views, especially the part where he reduces Schiff’s chairmanship of the committee to grievance politics: How did Shifty Schiff make the Others “feel” today?

    ReplyDelete
  6. It’s like something out of 1984.

    Fiona Hill “perhaps overstated one basic point”, but she at the same time was also “so far out over her skis.”

    What Ukraine did wasn’t actually election interference, but maybe “they” “meddled” in our election, (meaning an op-Ed by some Ukrainian official), which morphs into “interference” (“Russian interference was much more extensive than anything any Ukrainian did.”), hence both nations can be said to have “interfered”. Got it? Voila.

    Somerby is the Devin Nunes of bloggers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Hill might have overstated the idea that there were some Republicans who thought that Russia did not meddle. Because apparently there aren't.

      But this is not the same as saying that SHE said they were all wrong about Ukraine, which is how it's being played off by the MSNBC crowd. They may be, but I think this is Bob's point here.

      Delete
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