That didn't take long
It took less than 48 hours for the US mainstream media to go from blaming President Donald Trump for a series of suspicious packages sent to leading Democrats and CNN to blaming - who else? - Russia.
US authorities are still hunting for the person or persons responsible for ten or so packages containing what appeared to be pipe bombs - none of which have actually exploded - that were sent to CNN and prominent Democrats over the past two days.
For much of Thursday night’s Meet the Press Daily show on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd and his guests followed the narrative adopted by most media outlets, blaming what they described as Trump’s incendiary rhetoric against the press. Then Todd went there.
“I have this fear that it could be some Russian operation,” Todd told his guests, explaining his reasoning as, “It is dividing us.”
Todd is not the first Trump foe to point the finger at Russia, of course - but until Thursday evening, such accusations have been a province of anonymous #Resistance activists on Twitter.
It’s somewhat surprising that it was Todd, rather than his colleague Rachel Maddow, who went down the Russiagate conspiracy rabbit hole, considering that Maddow’s show has pretty much been in the deepest reaches of it over the past two years. Coincidentally or not, Maddow is the only show on MSNBC or CNN that comes even close to Fox News in primetime ratings.
This obsession with Russia goes back to the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton’s campaign sought to discredit her rival for the White House, Donald Trump, by claiming he had “ties with the Kremlin” - based, as it turned out, on a frivolous dossier compiled by a British spy. After Trump won, Clinton accused him of “collusion” with Russia. The accusation spread like wildfire among the disaffected Democrats and remains a talking point to this day, despite no evidence ever being provided for it.