Russian hacking denial has become, for a segment of American leftists, the equivalent of climate change denial: a shibboleth of membership in an enlightened subculture that claims special insight – insight derived from a strict adherence to ideological priors that grant the observer powers to see through the charade of the Mainstream Media. Unlike all those sheeple out there who don’t reflexively reject the entire topic, and just believe whatever CNN tells them.
Now, I agree that this leftist version is more respectable than its rightist counterpart. There actually were, for decades, repeated efforts to gin up conspiracy theories about the Russians for reasons of domestic and geo-politics. We liberals responded by building up a healthy pushback reflex against anything that reminds us of McCarthyism. In contrast, there has never actually been a conspiracy of earth science researchers to gin up an impending disaster in order to advance global socialism, or whatever the hell the wingnuts say the climate scientists are up to. So, congratulations, our denialism is better than theirs. The problem is, just as Exxon-Mobil and the Kochs have learned how to manipulate the innate skepticism of conservatives towards the media and environmentalism, so has the Russian government learned to play upon the skepticism of the American left about accusations of Russian skullduggery. While the motive for the denialism on the left may be more respectable, Russian hacking denial still leaves us in the position of sticking our fingers in our ears and ignoring a genuine threat.
Russian hacking denial is like a virally-induced immune disorder, with liberal skepticism of accusations towards Russia as the immune response. A system that is supposed to keep us healthy, keep us from being manipulated by government propaganda, has been hijacked by a foreign body to make us more easy to infect with government propaganda.
This will not do.