Real News host and presenter Aaron Maté eviscerates Luke Harding on Russiagate collusion claims
The Russiagate saga has produced one of its most cathartic moments in the form of a devastating television interview of Guardian reporter and zealous Russiagate true believer Luke Harding by the relentlessly polite and soft spoken but openly skeptical Real News host and presenter Aaron Maté.
The purpose of the interview was to discuss Luke Harding’s latest book on Russiagate, which goes by the portentous title Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win.
As might be expected of such a book – and of such an author – it treats the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians as proved. During the interview Aaron Maté sought to explore the extent to which this is actually so, and repeatedly asks whether the “evidence” Luke Harding produces in his book really does show that the allegations of collusion have been “proved”.
The interview lasts for 25 minutes but deserves to be watched in full.
The most thorough account of it has been provided by the formidable independent blogger Caitlin Johnstone
The term Gish gallop, named after a Young Earth creationist who was notoriously fond of employing it, refers to a fallacious debate tactic in which a bunch of individually weak arguments are strung together in rapid-fire succession in order to create the illusion of a solid argument and overwhelm the opposition’s ability to refute them all in the time allotted. Throughout the discussion the Gish gallop appeared to be the only tool that Luke Harding brought to the table, firing out a deluge of feeble and unsubstantiated arguments only to be stopped over and over again by Maté who kept pointing out when Harding was making a false or fallacious claim……
That’s really all Harding brought to the debate. A bunch of individually weak arguments, the fact that he speaks Russian and has lived in Moscow, and the occasional straw man where he tries to imply that Maté is claiming that Vladimir Putin is an innocent girl scout. Meanwhile Maté just kept patiently dragging the debate back on track over and over again in the most polite obliteration of a man that I have ever witnessed.
The entire interview followed this basic script. Harding makes an unfounded claim, Maté holds him to the fact that it’s unfounded, Harding sputters a bit and tries to zoom things out and point to a bigger-picture analysis of broader trends to distract from the fact that he’d just made an individual claim that was baseless, then winds up implying that Maté is only skeptical of the claims because he hasn’t lived in Russia as Harding has.
Other persons who have spoken highly of Aaron Maté’s conduct of the interview and about the light it shines on the flimsy quality of the Russiagate collusion allegations are Glenn Greenwald
Here is the entire interview by Aaron Maté of Luke Harding as shown on YouTube
Whilst I have little to add to what others have said about this interview, I will make a few brief observations of my own
(1) One of Luke Harding’s tactics throughout the interview was to try to draw attention away from the actual evidence of collusion – of which as Aaron Maté repeatedly pointed out to him there is actually none – to the supposed criminality of Vladimir Putin’s regime and its supposed typical modus operandi.
Here Luke Harding repeatedly cited his own experiences in Russia and the things he says Vladimir Putin’s liberal political opponents and Russian human rights activists have told him about Putin’s regime.
This is to elevate innuendo about character to the level of evidence of a specific wrongdoing.
The flaws inherent in this approach ought to be obvious, but Luke Harding seems oblivious to them even though Aaron Maté repeatedly pointed them out to him.
(2) Luke Harding professed to be mystified why Donald Trump chose Paul Manafort to head his campaign shortly after Manafort ended his dealings with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Manafort is however a well known Republican political operative and a seasoned campaign professional. Here is how Wikipedia describes him