trump soccer ball helsinki
© Kevin Lamarque / ReutersTrump-Putin summit in Helsinki, 16 Jul. 2018
Hackers, spy balls and whitewashing space travel: It's certainly been a varied week in the world of Russophobia. RT takes its regular look at the scare stories peppering the mainstream media over the last 7 days.

Russophobia in space

Russophobia went where no Russophobia has gone before this week. At an aerospace conference, moderator Todd Harrison pulled a question from the twilight zone and asked NASA's Jim Bridenstine "Are the Russians refusing to launch African American astronauts?"

Bridenstine said he's "never heard of that," and then former NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, who happens to be an African-American himself called it "absurd". Harrison himself will remain earthbound for the foreseeable future because Russia definitely doesn't send idiots to space.

Can you hack it?

Russian hackers claimed "hundreds of victims" last year by getting inside Utility Control rooms screamed the Washington Post.

"They could have caused blackouts" said federal officials. But "they" didn't.

"They could have thrown switches". But "they" didn't.

Of course the old Russian hacker ruse is nothing new. Last year the Washington Post had to backtrack on a report suggesting Russian hackers had got into Vermont utility stations, because guess what? 'They' hadn't.

Staying with Russian hacker news, Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill claimed Russians attempted to hack her Senate computer network, but hadn't. Are you seeing a pattern yet?

The Daily Beast called her "the first identified target of the Kremlin's 2018 election interference." Perhaps more specifically it should be the first person to claim to be a target, because using a bit of Russophobia never hurt any Senator's chances of re-election. Cynical, moi?

Putin spy ball story deflates

Bloomberg and CNN got excited after some eagle-eyed Russophobe noticed a World Cup soccer ball that Vladimir Putin gave to Donald Trump possibly contained a transmitter chip and started speculating that it could be a bug! Only it wasn't, it was a device Adidas uses to indoctrinate kids into buying their stuff by broadcasting straight to their phones. CNN sneakily buried the facts way down its story, so as not to ruin the headline too much.

"It is unclear whether the ball ... contained the advertised device - and even if it does, that doesn't mean it necessarily poses a security risk."

Well done CNN, you got there in the end!