Background Briefing: March 23, 2022


A Second Day of Sleaze and Slime From Republican Senators

We begin with the second day of sleaze and slime from Republican senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Mike Lee, Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn in the Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings and speak with Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the Law School at UC Berkeley who frequently argues cases before the highest courts, including the Supreme Court. His books include The Conservative Assault on the Constitution, The Case Against the Supreme Court, Free Speech on Campus and Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights. We discuss his article at the Los Angeles Times, “On the Slimy GOP Smears Against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.”


Putin’s Totally Orwellian State and the Bioweapons Lie Fox News Echoes

Then, as Putin creates a totally Orwellian police state in Russia brainwashing the populace via state media while Putin’s police check the phones of citizens in the streets to see if they are getting alternative news, we look into the Russian propaganda offensive pushing the lie that the Ukrainians have a secret Chemical and bioweapons labs financed by the Americans. This lie, which is echoed by Fox News, is a false flag President Biden fears could be a prelude to the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by the Russians. Joining us Robert Mackey, a Senior Writer at The Intercept who writes about national and international news through the prism of social media. Previously was a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, where he anchored the newspaper’s breaking news blog, The Lede, for five years, and wrote a news analysis column, Open Source, from 2014 to 2016. We discuss his latest articles at The Intercept, “How the War in Ukraine Is Being Covered (Up) on Russian TV” and “Russia Is Lying About Evidence of Bioweapons Labs in Ukraine, Russian Biologists Say.”


The Undermining of American Democracy by “Cheap Speech”

Then finally we investigate the era of “cheap speech” in which the American people are being fed reassuring lies on social media that are undermining democracy at home as political disinformation and delusional invective about stolen rigged elections have become the accepted truth of over 70% of Republicans. Joining us is Richard Hasen, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of a number of books including The Voting Wars, Plutocrats United, The Justice of Contradictions, and Election Meltdown and in 2020, he proposed a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to defend and expand voting rights. We discuss his latest book, just out, Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics―and How to Cure It.