Dear Britain: Please stop sending us your failed media celebrities.
Louise Mensch is a former chick-lit novelist, politician, and founding editor of the conservative website Heat Street. In recent months, she has also emerged as unofficial leader of the citizen-detective internet army investigating “Russia-gate,” the ever-evolving web of shady connections linking President Donald Trump and the Kremlin. To follow her hyperactive Twitter feed is to believe Mensch is perpetually on the cusp of exposing a massive conspiracy on the part of Russia, dating back decades, to make Donald Trump president of the United States.
So intricate and far-reaching is this scheme, according to Mensch, that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the assassination of right-wing internet provocateur Andrew Breitbart in 2012 – three years before Trump even announced his presidential campaign. This well-plotted murder allowed a then-little known documentary filmmaker (and Russian agent?) named Steve Bannon to take over the dead man’s eponymous right-wing media empire and pave the way for Trump’s Manchurian candidacy. Last month, The New York Times granted Mensch precious space on its op-ed page where she provided a list of supposed Russian collaborators for the House Intelligence Committee to subpoena. The Times published this piece well after Mensch had established herself as an unhinged conspiracy theorist. Since publishing her piece in America’s paper of record alleging a conspiracy so immense, Mensch has gone from fairly paranoid to full-blown McCarthyite. According to Buzzfeed News, Mensch “has accused at least 210 people and organizations of being under Russian government influence.”
Mensch is also British, a trait not incidental to her self-appointed role as vigilant protector of American democracy from its enemies, foreign and especially domestic. Her provenance is significant not least because she was a vociferous supporter of Brexit, which, by Mensch’s own Manichean logic, should make her Moscow’s mole given how blatantly Russian propaganda favored Britain’s leaving the European Union.
A more relevant aspect of Mensch’s nationality, pertains to the way in which her career has followed a trajectory not unlike that of many other media-hungry Brits who wash upon American shores. Having either failed in their native land or found it not big enough to contain their massive egos, these “chancers” (as they are known in British slang) invariably come to America where they find a ready audience among the sort of people who think an English accent automatically confers sophistication.