Ten Miles Square

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July 22, 2014 8:39 AM Tangled-Web Department

By Mark Kleiman

Julia Ioffe, reporting on the insane theories about the Maylasian jetliner peddled on Russian TV and in Russian newspapers, points reports that Vladimir Putin is now caught in a trap of his own making.

Russian mass media is now dominated by an extreme-nationalist lunatic fringe, built up by Putin and his cronies but no longer under their detailed control. And the alternative reality presented there influences not only mass public opinion but also elite opinion, since to stay in touch people with real decisions to make have to pay attention to the prolefeed. If Putin wanted to act responsibly, he’d be swimming against the tide. Yes, it’s his tide, in the sense that he made it, but Ioffe - quoting a Karl Rove/Mark Penn figure named Gleb Pavlovsky, who fell out with Putin after helping to engineer his last election - suggests that he cannot control it in detail.

It’s a scary picture.

What’s scarier is that, if you change the names, it applies to the relationships among the plutocrats, the GOP apparatchiki, and the world of the Murdochized press, the Koch-driven think-tanks, and Red Blogistan.

Orwell was right: there are historical moments when insisting that 2+ 2 = 4 is a radical political act.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.

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