This isn’t something a conservative or a person with an IQ above 1 did not already know but ‘American journalism has lost its bearings, and we are all paying the price. For the past four years, egged on by President Trump, mainstream news swiftly descended past the first circle of hell — subtle partisanship — and reached a far darker, hotter one: blatant favoritism, stories killed for purely partisan reasons and occasional propaganda masquerading as solid news.
Journalism’s decline mirrors that of other American institutions, but it has compounded the social damage. A thriving democracy depends on free and open debate and informed debate depends on trustworthy news. For most Americans, that trust has evaporated.
The Washington Post is exactly right when it says, ‘Democracy dies in darkness.’ It is ironic, then, that the Post is part of the problem, not the solution. It is the reliable mouthpiece for Washington’s entrenched establishment when the country is angrily debating how well that establishment has served them. The Washington Post, like the New York Times and other major news organizations, is not a neutral observer in that debate. It is a protagonist on a mission.
Before turning to the latest story killed by the mainstream media, consider their abysmal performance on the two biggest stories from 2016 to 2019. (In 2020, the biggest story was different. It was COVID-19 and the many facets of the pandemic.) During the first three years of the Trump presidency, however, the biggest stories were Donald Trump’s alleged collaboration with Russia to win the White House and the efforts of Barack Obama’s administration, led by the FBI and CIA, to spy on Trump’s campaign and then impede his transition to office and presidency.
America’s mainstream media didn’t just make a few mistakes on those stories. It didn’t just give them some partisan spin. It missed both stories completely. It got them utterly wrong, and it did so for years.
Failure #1: The media bought the Russia collusion story and retailed
Except for Fox News, all the major TV networks and national newspapers adopted the Russia collusion narrative and drove it forward. They relied almost entirely on leaked stories from anonymous sources, deeply opposed to Trump, mostly at the FBI and CIA, plus some Democrats on Capitol Hill. The main drivers were James Comey and Andrew McCabe at the FBI, John Brennan and James Clapper at the intelligence agencies and Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. They not only got a Special Counsel appointed but got him free rein. Robert Mueller’s prolonged investigation, managed by his deputy, Andrew Weissmann, hamstrung the presidency and helped the Democrats win the House in 2018.
All this time, Schiff was a media darling, repeating his claim that he had proof positive that Trump actively worked with the Kremlin. In fact, Schiff was sitting on secret testimony, given by all Obama’s top officials in national security and law enforcement. Under oath, all of them said they had no evidence of Trump working with Russia. Schiff knew that, of course, but he repeatedly told the press the opposite. Not surprisingly, he refused to release the testimony since it betrayed his lies. Schiff’s secrecy allowed the Obama-era officials to go on CNN and MSNBC and tell viewers Trump was a Russian asset who had worked with Putin to win the White House. When the deception was finally revealed, the media yawned.
When Special Counsel Mueller began work, his team had all this information, plus the FBI investigations that failed to find collaboration between Russia and the Trump campaign. Knowing that, he could have double-checked the work, done some additional interviews, and reassured the public with an interim report after a few months. The public deserved that, but Mueller and Weissmann chose to stay silent, hoping to trap Trump or his aides into making a false statement. This partisan team was determined to take down Trump and they kept at it for over two years. It all ended with a report that found no collusion and failed to indict any American for working with Russia on the presidential campaign. Nada. Bupkes.
There may not have been collusion between Trump and the Kremlin, but there surely was between the mainstream media, elected Democrats and anti-Trump activists within the FBI, Department of Justice and CIA. They worked together to delegitimize the President, bring down him and his administration and, failing that, to impede them from making policy. The press shared that goal, eagerly swallowed the ‘inside stories’, and readily granted anonymity to anyone who leaked damaging information. It was all for a good cause, they knew, but it hasn’t held up well.
This week, we learned, once again, how badly journalists misused the cover of anonymity to advance their agenda. It came when we finally learned who wrote the anonymous 2018 New York Times opinion piece saying key members of the administration were working actively against President Trump, whom they considered dangerous. Publishing an anonymous op-ed is extremely rare, but the Times explained the secrecy by saying it was essential to protect a high level official working inside the administration to undermine it. It was all very high-level, hush-hush stuff. Only after the author finally ‘outed’ himself did we learn he was actually a low- to mid-level official at the Department of Homeland Security. He wasn’t senior, like the New York Times said. He wasn’t someone who worked closely with the president or his White House team. They didn’t know him. He was a worker bee, not the Queen Bee. The Times knew the truth when it originally published the piece and it deliberately deceived its readers. It was all for a noble purpose, of course, to damage the President and beguile the readers who hate him.
The larger point here is that anti-Trump animus was so strong it overrode basic standards of journalistic integrity and judgment. That animus, coupled with disgruntled officials eager to destroy Trump, led to three years of dreadful reporting, spinning up flimsy tales of foreign contacts into an ominous-but-false suggestion of treason.’https://www.spectator.com.au/2020/10/the-american-media-is-failing-you/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WORL%20%2020201106%20%20AL&utm_content=WORL%20%2020201106%20%20AL+CID_9d4b076a5f4ee5f8dfeaee0fb26acb06&utm_source=CampaignMonitor_Australia&utm_term=The%20American%20media%20is%20failing%20you