Did an obscure internet writer somehow put Donald Trump in the White House?
That is what the Washington Post seems to be telling us. In their Christmas article “Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options,” three WaPo journalists make the case that a certain “Alice Donovan” — whose debut article was first published right here at VT — is a Kremlin troll who spearheaded the Russian takeover of America. Oddly enough, WaPo seems to have gotten that idea from the FBI.
“Alice Donovan” never appeared on audio or video. He/she/it never made a Youtube. But this person or entity did submit a few dozen articles to VT, Counterpunch, GlobalResearch, WeAreChange, and other alternative media sites. The articles reached a small audience, garnered little attention, and quickly faded into well-deserved obscurity. I must have scanned several of them — I read these websites regularly — but evidently found them eminently forgettable. Not only did I never invite “Alice Donovan” on my radio show, but for the life of me I cannot remember anything about any of these articles or their ostensible author. When the Managing Editor of VT informed us of the developing brouhaha, my reaction was: Alice who?
So if “Alice Donovan” isn’t the most obscure writer in the history of alternative journalism, he/she/it is definitely in the running for that dubious title.
THIS is the person who somehow threw America into the Russian camp?! WOW! I knew the alternative media was powerful, but I had no idea we were that powerful! Heck, if “Alice Donovan” runs America for the Kremlin, that would make me the new Commissar of a couple of solar systems, maybe even a galaxy, considering that my alternative media footprint is rather gargantuan compared to “Donovan”‘s.
But seriously, folks…do I have to come right out and say that the FBI/WaPo narrative is ludicrous? There are thousands of alt-media people (yes, real people) who are, each and every one of us, vastly more influential than “Donovan” ever even tried to be. If this is the best the Russians can do to influence US public opinion — invent a fake identity to pose as the world’s most obscure internet journalist — they are the most propagandistically-challenged nation on earth.
Some may say, along with Tertullian, credo quia absurdum: I believe it because it is absurd. Not me.
I don’t buy the legend of “Donovan” as a Kremlin troll. A more logical explanation would be that “Donovan” was invented by somebody who is working AGAINST the alternative media, planted among us so that FBI-WaPo could shame us and bolster their own budgets and reputations while calling for a crackdown on the internet’s most critical voices.
As always, the first question is: Who gains? Not VT, Counterpunch, GlobalResearch, WeAreChange, or any other alt-media sites. We are not exactly desperate for writers — least of all mediocre ones like “Donovan,” whose contribution to these sites’ readership and influence has been minuscule if not downright microscopic. Such stuff gets published if the editor who finds it in his or her inbox feels like being nice that day.
Nor have the Russians gained anything whatsoever. If they are paying someone to come up with “Donovan”‘s stuff, they are obviously wasting rubles that could be more strategically spent.
So who gains? The Washington Post, the FBI, and other forces looking to rein in alternative media, of course.
Is the name “Alice Donovan” a nod and a wink from the Alphabet Agencies? The name seems a chimerical combination of Alice in Wonderland and Wild Bill Donovan, legendary founder of the CIA. Have some of Wild Bill’s descendants gone down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass disguised as “Alice” in an effort to sow chaos and confusion while discrediting the alternative media and hyping anti-Russian paranoia?
If you have a better explanation of this bizarre affair, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what it is.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.
He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS, and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.
Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.