February 20, 2018
There's the media's usual treatment of conservatives -- guilty until proven innocent -- and then there's the Donald Trump treatment: guilty even after proven innocent. Unfortunately for this president, there's no winning under this toxic cloud of media bias. Barack Obama could do no wrong -- and Donald Trump can do no right. Even after a nine-month investigation proves he is.
Nothing seems to move the needle on the press's contempt -- not even Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 13 indictments in the Russia probe, which should prove what the president has said all along: there is no collusion! Under normal circumstances, the detailed charges should have gone a long way to softening the media's stance on what they claimed was a coordinated effort between the Trump campaign and foreign nationals to interfere in the 2016 election. "Russia started their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014," the president tweeted when Mueller's announcement came down, "long before I announced that I would run for president. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong -- no collusion!
But what should have been validation turned to indignation when outlets like the Associated Press and New York Times refused to accept Mueller's findings as fact. "Trump's claim of vindication appeared to be unsupported by the indictment and premature," reporters said, "as Mueller's probe has shown no signs of abating." Then, later, "The cries of vindication seem to be more show than substance." And, "Neither [the Deputy Attorney General] nor Mueller's office has ruled out any potential collusion in any other plot to disrupt the election."
Even in the face of the Special Counsel's own evidence, liberal reporters refused to accept the fact that Trump had no role in teaming up with the Russians to sway the election outcome. "The fake news media never fails," he tweeted. So, instead of harping on his involvement, they started to attack him for being right. The New York Times continued to bash Trump for insisting the allegations were a hoax. "The president's mood began to darken as it became clearer to him that some commentators were portraying the indictment as nothing for him to celebrate, according to three people with knowledge of his reaction. Those commentators called it proof that he had not won the election on his own, a particularly galling, if not completely accurate, charge for a president long concerned about his legitimacy."
Even now, without a scrap of evidence to stand on, some outlets refuse to give up their bogus theories of Trump's involvement. Maybe they're upset about being duped. After all, as Media Research Center (MRC) points out, they were the ones who were played the fool. Liberal networks were airing almost around-the-clock coverage of the anti-Trump rallies after the election -- only to learn that the Russians had organized the whole thing! MRC combed through the Mueller indictments and found that, "Like their counterparts at CNN and MSNBC, multiple news outlets were quick to promote anti-Trump protests in New York City on November 12, 2016 -- and in doing so became unwitting promoters of Russian propaganda... Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that this protest, as well as one in Charlotte, NC on November 19, 2016, was organized by Russian operatives."
Congressman Don Bacon isn't surprised. Yesterday on "Washington Watch," he explained that Russia does this same thing all over the world. Why? Because, as he explains, "When we turn on each other, we're less focused on what they're doing in Ukraine, what they're doing in Syria, and how they're threatening the Baltics. And they gain more leeway in their part of the world. This is their way of distracting us from what they're doing and helps them further their goals, while it undermines our ability to stop that."
And the media played right into the Russians' hands. Slate, the Daily Beast, and Huffington Post seized on the rallies, planting seeds of distrust and disunity. "If the goal of the secret Russian organizers was to inject nonsense like that into the American political dialogue," MRC said, "then their unwitting helpers on CNN and MSNBC certainly gave them plenty of assistance that day." Even radical filmmaker Michael Moore was suckered into the scam, tweeting photos from a protest that had been secretly orchestrated by the Russians. "If it was the goal of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S.," President Trump said, "then with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing [at us] in Moscow. Get smart America!"
In the end, this had nothing to do with propping up Trump and undermining Clinton, it was about dividing America. And the media took the bait, ultimately playing a bigger role in tearing the country apart than anyone.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.