Like the bloodthirsty livestock in Animal Farm, the American media is rushing to convict President Trump of some sort of crime related to Russia — whatever they can concoct. In the end though it’s a desperate hodgepodge. Trump may not be helping himself with his Twitter bravado, but even as he showboats, he also goads the press further and further down a rabbit hole of ridiculous suppositions and tendentious theories.
Let’s start with America’s paper of record, eagerly rebranding itself as the nation’s paper of narrative. Friday’s farcical editorial, “The Trump-Russia Nexus”, is exemplary of how the once-prestigious New York Times editorial board has devolved into a D-list conspiracy blog.
In its “partial accounting of the connections we do know something about,” the Times‘ editorial writers make their best effort to link the president to some nefarious crime. They end up grasping at straws — and in doing so forego any semblance of the standards the Times (supposedly) expects from its news reporters.
The Times is very concerned about the fact that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of [The Trump’s] assets.” One has to wonder if anyone on the Times‘ editorial page actually lives in New York City. Rich foreigners have made a routine habit of planting their money in American real estate or other assets to shield their wealth from taxation or theft for some time now (just ask the billionaire Times creditor Carlos Slim).
Digging deeper into the paper’s listicle, The Times recklessly declares a meeting first son in law Jared Kushner had with the Russian ambassador and an executive of a Russian government-owned bank as evidence of criminal behavior. Again, the editorial never answers the crucial question: So what? The reader is simply left with a number of insinuations about disparate meetings.
Yes, the paper is right to also list Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort’s dealings with various shady characters (who hasn’t?), but what’s the breaking news here? Neither of them work in the White House and what further collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government could there be beyond the president publicly urging the Russias to “find the 30,000 [of Hillary Clinton] e-mails that are missing” back in July of last year?
Other national papers so much in lockstep with The Times that you’d think they all just attend the same editorial meeting. On the same day the Times printed its screed, the Washington Post ran a predictable column by one of its myrmidons, David Ignatius, entitled “A survival guide to presidential abuse of power.” In it, Ignatius expresses concern that Jim Comey firing is an ultimate test of the Republic’s “vaunted institutions.” He even goes as far as literally applauding the Times for capturing “the pique that underlay Trump’s decision to purge the FBI chief.”
A few days earlier, the Los Angeles Times editorial board decried the “shocking dismissal of Comey” and worried that the Russia investigation was imperiled despite “no persuasive evidence [coming] to light that [the Trump campaign]” colluded with any foreign powers in the 2016 election. Despite no evidence of wrong doing, “the stakes here could not be higher.” Huh?
It goes without saying that the president hasn’t handled the media’s desperate declarations of scandals and treasonous behavior well. Yet its obvious that nothing will satiate the media blood thirst unless Trump exits the White House in handcuffs with Clinton taking his spot.
Naked partisanship and hysteria is nothing new for the mainstream media , it’s the clear collusion that makes it all the more irksome.