You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myDaytonDailyNews.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myDaytonDailyNews.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myDaytonDailyNews.com.

JUST IN:

8 quirky facts you might not know about Dayton’s suburbs

MSNBC conspiracy theory: What if Putin planned Syrian attack to aid Trump?


    A volley of U.S. tomahawk missiles had barely been launched into Syria before the Internet filled up with fact-free theories about the real reason for an international crisis. 

 

A popular one on the right-most fringes: The U.S. government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week — a "false flag" to trick President Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war. 

 

A slightly more convoluted strain on the left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump — distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike. 

 

That theory — evidence-free — was laid out on a small anti-Trump website shortly after the missile strike. 

 

But it went mainstream Friday night, when Lawrence O'Donnell advanced similar speculation on his MSNBC show, "The Last Word." 

 

"Wouldn't it be nice," O'Donnell asked a nodding, smiling Rachel Maddow, "if it was just completely, totally, absolutely impossible to suspect that Vladimir Putin orchestrated what happened in Syria this week — so that his friend in the White House could have a big night with missiles and all the praises he's picked up over the past 24 hours?" 

 

The theory was impossible to rule out, O'Donnell said, because of the Trump campaign's ties to the Russian government. 

 

A few minutes later, the host elaborated on his theory under banner text: "Wag The Dog?" — recalling a similar conspiracy theory that President Bill Clinton launched missiles in 1998 to distract from his own scandal. 

 

"It changes the conventional wisdom about the dynamic between President Trump and Vladimir Putin," O'Donnell said. "President Trump has finally dared to do something Vladimir Putin doesn't like. It changes everything." 

 

O'Donnell didn't offer any evidence on his theory, promising only that "you won't hear ... proof that the scenario I've just outlined is impossible." 

 

What O'Donnell did hear, if he followed the reaction to his show, was derision from across the political spectrum. 

 

The clip spread quickly across right-leaning sites where a writer on Twitchy asked: "Honest question: MSNBC is OK with this crap?" 

 

The network declined to answer The Washington Post's questions about the segment, which Adam Johnson — a writer for the left-leaning magazine the Nation — called "a great weasel way to float bat s--- conspiracy theories." 

 

CNN reported Saturday morning that the United States is investigating whether Russia, which has long supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the atrocity-filled civil war, was complicit in the chemical attack in Idlib province last week. A Kremlin spokesman denied it to the network, as has Assad's regime. 

 

The attack last week caused civilians and children to choke, foam at the mouth and die in a cloud of poison, possibly sarin. 

 

Trump lamented seeing photos "of innocent children, innocent babies" killed in the strike, which he said made him reconsider his longtime stance against intervening in Syria's civil war. 

 

Early Friday, Trump ordered dozens of cruise missiles launched at a Syrian military airfield, marking the United States' first direct intervention in the six-year-old conflict. 

 

If, as O'Donnell theorized on MSNBC, Putin had planned all this to boost Trump's poll numbers, the Russian president didn't show it. 

 

Russia instead retaliated by pulling out of an agreement designed to prevent skirmishes with the United States in the airspace over Syria.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Middletown council wants more spending for public safety, jobs
Middletown council wants more spending for public safety, jobs

Middletown City Council members anonymously ranked 2018 spending priorities in 10 categories, then talked about them but made no changes to their private ratings. At a previous meeting, City Manager Doug Adkins asked each council member to rank 10 areas where they would prioritize spending in 2018 so that he could have a rough idea of where council...
Trump zigs, Tillerson zags, putting him at odds with White House
Trump zigs, Tillerson zags, putting him at odds with White House

When Rex W. Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, arrived in Washington five months ago to become the secretary of state, his boosters said he brought two valuable assets to a job that had usually gone to someone steeped in government and diplomacy: a long history managing a global company, and deep relationships from the Middle East...
Key Democrat agrees with Trump: Obama should have acted on hacks
Key Democrat agrees with Trump: Obama should have acted on hacks

Rep. Adam Schiff and President Donald Trump don't agree on much about Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, but they agree on this: former President Barack Obama should have done more to stop Moscow from intervening. Obama made a "very serious mistake" in not doing more about Russia's intervention in the presidential election campaign...
Trump's agenda: Approving private projects, including those of allies
Trump's agenda: Approving private projects, including those of allies

Just four days after he was inaugurated, President Donald Trump delivered a clear message that he would use his office to help industry friends and political allies. He signed a Jan. 24 executive order that assured completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which will transport oil fracked by various companies, including one owned by Oklahoma oilman...
Bloomberg’s next move: $200 million program for mayors
Bloomberg’s next move: $200 million program for mayors

Michael Bloomberg will throw his financial might into helping beleaguered American mayors, creating a $200 million philanthropic program aimed at backing inventive policies at the city level and giving mayors a stronger hand in national politics. Bloomberg intends to announce the initiative Monday in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami...
More Stories