July 12, 2017
On the desk of any liberal media outlet, there are two rulebooks: one for Republicans, one for Democrats. If the election coverage didn't convince you, then Donald Trump's first seven months ought to. Despite making good on dozens of campaign promises, the Trump team has faced a lopsided barrage from an unfriendly press since Day One. Dogged by negative press (a record 89 percent of it unfavorable), the 45th president has set new highs for media hostility.
Now, with stories surfacing about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney last year, the far-Left is licking its lips. Most media outlets are attacking the president's son with the ferocity they refused to show to the Clintons (despite far more dubious interactions with Vladimir Putin's country). Desperate to catch the Trump campaign in cahoots with the Russians, they've turned Trump Jr.'s search for opposition research into a fantasy of national "treason" (Senator Tim Kaine's, D-Va. words, not mine)!
Clearly, the media is only seeing what it wants to in regard to this story. It's unreasonable to think that Donald Trump Jr., who was a political novice working on his dad's campaign, would respond any differently than he did to this offer of information about Hillary Clinton. As someone who's spent a career in politics, I know from experience that there are all kinds of people who offer to hand over incriminating details about the opposition. But getting intel on an opponent isn't necessarily for the purpose of using it publicly, but rather strategically. Some information is legitimate and helpful -- a lot of it is not.
As Donald Trump Jr. said last night, "For me, this was opposition research. They had something... maybe concrete evidence to all the stories I'd been hearing about, probably underreported for years not just during the campaign, so I think I wanted to hear it out. But really, it went nowhere, and it was apparent that wasn't what the meeting was about." In an attempt to be "open and transparent," he even went so far as to post the entire email string online. At the time, "things are going a million miles per hour," he explained. "In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently." I'm sure he would -- and we would all expect him to, given what we know now about Russia's efforts to undermine the election. But we have to be careful not to evaluate the decisions of a year ago based on what we know today.
It may not be the "greatest witch hunt in political history," as President Trump called it, but the media's double standard is certainly cause for concern. "When it comes to Team Trump, Democrats and their journalist pals are as relentless as bloodhounds chasing escaped jailbirds. And yet, regarding the Clintons, the Democrats and old-guard news people are as ferocious as puppies enjoying a roaring fireplace," Deroy Murdock writes in a piece laying out the Clintons' own misdeeds. "By all means, let Congress and the media get to the bottom of what, if anything, Russia may have done to influence last year's elections and what, if anything, Team Trump did to help. But let's also root out what, if anything, the Clintons did to advance Russia's strategic position, while feathering their nests."
As he points out, "The same folks who spy a KGB agent behind every filing cabinet in Trump's White House are aggressively apathetic about Hillary and Bill Clinton's policies, decisions, and actions that gave aid and comfort to Russia." As Kayleigh McEnany points out in The Hill, Donald Jr.'s suspicions were warranted.
"Bill Clinton had given a $500,000 speech in Russia. Clinton had given her approval in handing one-fifth of U.S. uranium to Russia, after which her foundation received $2.35 million from the Russian-controlled company. Suspiciously, Clinton did not disclose the transaction. Likewise, Clinton campaign chief John Podesta sat on the board of a company that received $35 million from the Russian government alongside fellow board members Anatoly Chubais, a senior Russian official, and Ruben Vardanyan, an oligarch. Given this context, why wouldn't Trump Jr. be open to taking a meeting that offered evidence of incriminating Clinton dealings with Russia, particularly when most of the media refused to look into Clinton's question-raising actions?"
Most Americans (56 percent) are tired of hearing about Russia and want to focus on issues at home like health care, the economy, and national security. If only the liberal media would stop pushing these lopsided stories long enough to let us.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.