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In America, you can question or criticize your government and its claims, even if your views overlap with the views of foreign adversaries. The First Amendment, as they say, protects the assholes.
But some people could use a refresher course. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki accused Sen. Josh Hawley—who had questioned the administration’s insistence on leaving the door open for Ukraine to join NATO one day—of “parroting Russian talking points.” For this comment, Psaki was rewarded with a smattering of criticism, but plenty of press and social media amplification.
Hawley, a Missouri Republican who appeared to cheer on the Capitol insurrectionists last January 6, and then voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s election win, is easy enough to paint as anti-American. And Russia’s belligerent behavior toward Ukraine makes it easy enough to dismiss serious consideration of the Kremlin’s concerns about NATO expansion.
But Psaki didn’t stop there. On Thursday, she and State Department spokesman Ned Price both seemed to suggest that people who refuse to accept the administration’s claims as gospel are trusting America’s adversaries over their own government, as the Washington Post‘s Felcia Sonmez detailed.
“If you doubt the credibility of the US government…and want to, you know, find solace in information the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do.”
At a State Department briefing on Thursday, reporters pressed Price for evidence to support the claim that Russia plans to fake an attack on its own forces as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Price insisted that the need to protect intelligence sources and methods prevented his sharing of more details. Fair enough. But he also told the AP’s veteran diplomatic reporter Matt Lee: “If you doubt the credibility of the US government, of the British government, of…