The genius of the creation of FUD in this particular case is that cases of cover up for PC purposes did happen in some other European countries, e.g. in England (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale_child_sex_abuse_ring, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotherham_child_sexual_exploit...).
Crime scares? Oh no, American media certainly doesn't thrive on getting it's message across through that. And it doesn't thrive on the way the average reader can forget everything they read even a day beforehand. At least I don't recall it ever exploiting that...
I'm far past the liberal end of the spectrum and I'd put it this way - if the NYTimes is worried about Russia so easily discrediting American democracy, they could perhaps work on making it more credible rather than painting RT as the sinister manipulators effortlessly destroying everything - not that Putin is anything but a murderous dictator but I'd read the article as "Damn it, Vladamir, those minds were ours to manipulate"