Et tu, Jack Shafer?
Who knows if it is fake or not. And eventually that question will mutate into “who cares?” In some ways, it already has. As Jack Shafer wrote at Politico, the day after Buzzfeed published the “secret” dossier:
And even if the dossier turns out to be pure bunk, there is a good bit of karma blasting back at Trump for inciting the Russians to hack and leak on Hillary, not to mention all the birther stuff. How does it feel to be the aggrieved party, Donald?
If one of the ranking “gatekeepers” doesn’t care, why should the rest of us. The dossier may now live forever in that condition where its truth or falsity don’t matter, whether or not they can be proved.
Perhaps the effort to confirm the details will go on. Maybe some hard digging will reveal that everything in the dossier is true and, still, the people who do not want to believe will assume that these findings are just one more con job by the same people who brought you the Tailwind story and the letters that exposed George W. Bush’s neglect of his National Guard duties.
On the other hand, perhaps the additional reporting will reveal that the whole thing was a con and fabricated by the Russians. They have a history of that sort of thing, after all, having brought off the most famous and enduring forgery in modern history.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a dark masterpiece that is still in circulation, more than a century after the Czar’s secret police crafted it and set it loose on the world. There were plenty people who believed that it was undeniable evidence the Jews had a plan for world domination and were on their way to accomplishing it.
Henry Ford paid to have 500,000 copies published.
He later recanted but many never did and still don’t. They continue to believe the Protocols are the real deal even if those with credentials that ought to make them credible have said in sworn testimony that they are a forgery and a fraud:
The Russians have a long tradition in the art of forgery. More than 60 years ago the Czarist intelligence service concocted and peddled a confection called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
That line comes from testimony at a Senate subcommittee in 1961. The witness was Richard Helms, who was Assistant Director of the CIA.
But, then, he would say that. Wouldn’t he?