Discover more from Bernard Goldberg's Commentary
The Worst Journalism of Our Time
Now that we know that Donald Trump wasn’t a stooge of the Kremlin, now that it’s been determined he wasn’t a Russian “asset” or a Manchurian candidate, let’s say out loud what everyone knows.
Donald Trump’s real crime as far as left-wing journalists and politicians are concerned is that he’s guilty of defeating Hillary Clinton. It’s really that simple. And for this affront to their progressive sensibilities, he must be brought down.
Just as there were journalists too young to cover the great civil rights story of the 1960s and tried to capture those glory days by lionizing groups like Black Lives Matter and reporting on racism in America whether it really existed or not, so too are there journalists who wish they had been around during Watergate but were busy finger painting in kindergarten or weren't even born when Woodward and Bernstein brought down a president.
Now, those who were too young to bring down Nixon want their fame and glory too – and Donald Trump is their target.
So for two years they went on a rampage. They launched what a headline over an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal accurately calls, “A Catastrophic Media Failure.”
For the record, some journalism about the president these past two years has been solid. But too much of it hasn't been. You’d think that if honest mistakes were made they’d go in both directions. But they didn’t. They all went in the anti-Trump direction. Journalists, often citing anonymous sources (who, like the journalists themselves, also despised the president) couldn’t wait to link him to the Russians.
If CNN were a doctor it would be sued for malpractice. At “The most trusted name in news” as they like to call themselves, they don’t even try to hide their loathing of this president. If you turned to CNN at almost any time during the past two years you would have been exposed to one conspiracy theory after another about the president and the Russians.
One of many examples: CNN said Donald Trump Jr. was secretly given email access to stolen documents before WikiLeaks publicly exposed them. This would be a bombshell -- because if true it could prove that the President Trump’s own son was colluding with Russian hackers to help his father take down Hillary Clinton.
One tiny problem: CNN somehow got the date wrong; the email was sent to him after WikiLeaks published the stolen documents.
CNN also reported -- based on a single anonymous source -- that Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci was under investigation for a meeting he took with a Russian banker prior to Trump’s inauguration. Scaramucci denied the story and CNN eventually acknowledged it got it wrong. Three journalists responsible for the fake "scoop" resigned as a result.
And Brian Stelter, CNN’s alleged media reporter, asked this question on his show in December 2018: “Does the public understand just how much trouble the President is in? If not, that is a failing of the press.”
Does Brian Stelter understand just how dense he is? If not, that’s a failing of CNN for putting this shill for the mainstream media on television.
In August 2017, Dan Rather went on MSNBC to declare that there’s “a political hurricane out there at sea” by the name of “Hurricane Vladimir” -- a hurricane, we were led to believe, that could sweep Donald Trump right out of office.
ABC News ran a collusion story alleging that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump ordered him to make contact with the Russians. Turns out it happened after Donald Trump was elected and was transitioning into office -- a standard practice for an incoming president.
Then there’s Jonathan Chait, a progressive currently working at New York magazine, who before the president met with Putin in Finland last summer wrote that "it would be dangerous not to consider the possibility that the summit is less a negotiation between two heads of state than a meeting between a Russian-intelligence asset and his handler." Chait, a left-wing ideologue who masquerades as a thoughtful journalist, was only speculating, of course -- just asking a simple question, don't you know: What if the President of the United States is a spy working for the Russians.
Here's another question: What if Jonathan Chait wasn't so left-wing? Would his journalism be less dependent on wild speculation and more responsible?
Or how about Paul Krugman, one of the many Trump haters at the New York Times, who tweeted that “the failure to connect the dots on Trump-Russia” was one of the “big failures of 2018 campaign coverage.”
Often it was their allies in the Democratic Party that were driving the Crazy Train -- the journalists acting as their stenographers, rarely grilling them on their unfounded and unsubstantiated accusations.
There was Beto O’Rourke who stopped eating dirt long enough to say that, “You have a president who, beyond a shadow of a doubt sought to, however ham-handedly, collude with the Russian government, a foreign power, to undermine and influence our elections.”
“Beyond a shadow of a doubt”? Really? Where did that come from? How does he know that? Will reporters now treat him as a conspiratorial kook – or merely as an offbeat presidential candidate?
And there’s Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who never met a camera he didn't like -- who said, “I think there’s plenty of evidence of collusion and conspiracy in plain sight.”
What evidence? And have reporters gone easy on him because he’s constantly leaking information to them?
There was John Brennan, the former CIA director who famously said, “I called [Trump’s] behavior treasonous, which is to betray one’s trust and aid and abet the enemy, and I stand very much by that claim.”
Yet, MSNBC treats Brennan as a serious analyst, not as someone whose hatred of the president has fundamentally tainted his analysis.
And let’s not forget political scientist Rob Reiner, who doubles as a film director. Reiner said that, “The biggest scandal in U.S. history is coming into focus. On Friday Rachel Maddow made it clear. Donald Trump conspired with the enemy.”
Oh, if Rachel Maddow said it on MSNBC, it must be true, right?
Every allegation fueled the media frenzy. Every conspiracy theory inspired more "news" stories which inspired more conspiracy theories which inspired still more "news" stories.
As Sean Davis put it in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, for the Trump-haters in the media, “[T]he Trump-Russian investigation was never about protecting democracy or securing elections – never mind telling the truth, which is supposed to be their job.”
This was always about one thing: Bringing down the man who defeated the candidate liberal journalists wanted to win, Hillary Clinton.
It’s just a matter of time before some progressive, either in the world of politics or the world of journalism, attempts to link Robert Mueller to the Kremlin. After all, he’s the villain who cleared the detested Mr. Trump of conspiracy allegations. Maybe Mueller was the Russian stooge. Maybe he was on the Kremlin's payroll.
Crazy? Maybe. But no crazier than what's been passing for honest journalism these past two years.