At the time of the events, Linkedin and the general media were flooded with comments on what was only a hypothesis (Russia’s involvement in conditioning the outcome of the American elections), with the plethora of implications on armies of trolls remotely controlled to manipulate consciences etc. etc.. It was a fake, but the damage caused by that news is more than real.
I refer, in particular, to the embarrassing institutional declarations on the gravity of a non-existent fact, not at all mitigated by the inevitable “if confirmed, the news would be serious”.
Fortunately, international diplomacy is still sufficiently keen to avoid the consequences of the “social media frenzy” that has also infected the institutions and that pushes its representatives to speak too quickly.
From the communication perspective, however, the interesting aspect is that the news of Russiagate was not false, but was presented and received for what it was not: a certainty, instead of a hypothesis. And in the minds of journalists and readers, from likely it became true, and therefore certain.
Looking at Russiagate’s story from an academic point of view, one could provide many lectures on the role of journalism and professional information, on what it is, how to build and how to spread a piece of news and how, by now, the news of suspicion equals the confirmation of the conviction, without investigation, without trial, without rights.
Looking with what we could call the “cynical eye”, from another side, one perceives a different image, made up of disinterest in facts and a greedy search for “numbers” (clicks, like, share) and “fame”. Or more prosaically, of “return of investment” in advertising.
To put it short: who really cares if Russia manipulated the American elections?