There’s no harm in vaulting a non-existent restaurant to #1 in all of London on Trip Adviser.

But it shows just how easily people can be duped.

With that in mind . . . whom are you going to believe — the New York Times or Vladimir Putin?

. . . Analysts say that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has played a principal role in the spread of false information as part of his wider effort to discredit the West and destroy his enemies from within.

. . . As a young man, Mr. Putin served in the K.G.B., the Soviet Union’s main intelligence agency, from 1975 to 1991. He worked in foreign intelligence, which required its officers to spend a quarter of their time conceiving and implementing plans for sowing disinformation. What Mr. Putin accomplished is unclear. But public accounts show that he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and that his 16-year tenure coincided with a major K.G.B. operation to deflect attention from Moscow’s secret arsenal of biological weapons, which it built in contravention of a treaty signed with the United States in 1972.

The K.G.B. campaign — which cast the deadly virus that causes AIDS as a racial weapon developed by the American military to kill black citizens — was wildly successful. By 1987, fake news stories had run in 25 languages and 80 countries, undermining American diplomacy, especially in Africa. After the Cold War, in 1992, the Russians admitted that the alarms were fraudulent.

As Russia’s president and prime minister, Mr. Putin has embraced and expanded the playbook, linking any natural outbreak to American duplicity. Attacking the American health system, and faith in it, became a hallmark of his rule. . . .

It’s an”infodemic.”

We know who Trump believes.  (Or pretends to.  Is that worse?)

Either way, Putin’s winning.

And you really need to read the whole story, because it just builds and builds.

For example:

. . . Within Russia, Mr. Putin has been a staunch proponent of vaccines. . . . At a televised meeting with doctors in St. Petersburg, in 2018, he scolded Russian parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids: “They endanger the lives of their own children.”

. . . At the same time, Mr. Putin has worked hard to encourage Americans to see vaccinations as dangerous and federal health officials as malevolent. . . .

We’re under attack.  We’ve been under attack.  We have a commander-in-chief who is either oblivious or complicit.



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