MOSCOW — With hackers who leak emails, epithet-tossing trolls who flood comment sections and top diplomats who speak in locker-room talk, Russia has already played a prominent part in setting the seamy tone of these U.S. presidential elections. But in the final moments before the votes were counted, Kremlin-run commentators intent on showing Russians that elections in the venerable U.S. democracy were anything but democracy, kicked into full gear. Here's what we can conclude from Moscow's media machine onslaught about the U.S. election.
It's all one big sex scandal: As the vote approached, viewers on the state-run, 24-hour news channel were being treated to a segment headlined “Too many p‑‑‑ies.” As a raunchy slide guitar plays, pictures of Donald Trump flash across the screen accompanied by his various lewd comments, followed by nude pictures of his wife, Melania, followed by pictures of Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton and allegations of other sexual misconduct against him. It ends, predictably, with Trump's voice repeating his extremely lewd comments about women. The guitar fades.
It's totally rigged: “This has been the dirtiest campaign in the history of the United States,” Dmitry Kiselyov, a prominent news show host on state-run Rossiya-24, said on his show Sunday night. Repeating Trump's allegation that the fix is on, Kiselyov said, “It seems absurd, but Trump knows what he's talking about.” He described various schemes that he assured voters would take place: “Dead souls,” in which the names of the dead are used to vote; “The Carousel,” in which people are bused around to various polling places; and a rebellion by the members of the electoral college who should be voting for Trump but won't (that one has no name but it sounds cool anyway). The shenanigans that went on in Russia's first free elections in the 1990s are “child's play compared to what's happening in the United States,” Kiselyov concluded.
Anyway, the U.S. presidency is a sham: “Whichever candidate becomes president will not be the president of the entire country,” Kiselyov told his viewers. “Military industrial complex oligarchs” are the real policymakers, and the president is a puppet of “a special service caste who provide the White House with its information. Even if Trump tried to act on his campaign statements about pulling America back from its overseas military commitments, these dark forces would present him from doing it. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, will do the bidding of these dark forces, a reflection of the Kremlin's clear animus toward the Democrat.
Americans have no business telling other people how to run their elections: “Everything was so disgustingly putrid that when I hear that America is somehow still considered a democracy it makes me squeamish,” Kiselyov told his viewers. Russia's foreign ministry, reacting to the U.S. refusal to allow Russian election monitors to observe the vote separately from U.N.-recognized bodies, said that U.S. election observers would be banned.
Democracy is dead: See the tweet below from the editor in chief of state-owned R.T.
— Маргарита Симоньян (@M_Simonyan) November 8, 2016
Some Russians care, but a lot don't.
Russian state radio invites listeners to "Choose a US President" via text. 28% vote for Trump, 4% for Clinton. 68% don't care. #Election2016
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) November 8, 2016