On Monday, I sent the following message out on my Twitter and Parler accounts:
Recall media assurance: “Nothing there” on Hunter. Recall media prediction: Trump could not produce vaccine in 2020. Recall media prediction of November 3rd “Blue Wave.” Recall media assurance that two-state solution had to predate Middle East peace. Our uncurious media BREEDS cynicism.
No new ground was broken here. I even violated at least the spirit of my usual rule: “Don’t complain about things you cannot control.”
And then a most insightful reply was received. It read: “Whatever. The good news is Trump will be gone.”
Wow. A nine-word response that encapsulates the worldview and the singular concern of the NeverTrumpers.
The terse response served to remind me (and us) how approximately 80 million anti-Trump Americans have viewed the last four years — and specifically how they interpret and process tangible evidence of Election Day shenanigans.
To boot, it reflected how completely onboard the haters are with respect to any person — issue — thing that might possibly damage Donald J. Trump.
Never mind that “Whatever” is short-sighted; never mind that ignoring evidence of voter irregularities because the result was the desired one is inherently dangerous and a threat to our democracy; and never mind that if it worked this time, it could happen again — for the other side. Just. Never. Mind.
The original draft of my tweet was noteworthy for how much I had eclipsed the 240-character limit. You see, only a word count limit could stop me from listing the variety of offenses against journalism committed by the mainstream media over the last five years.
Off the top of my head, think of the Trump “dirty dossier” story, the Don Jr. met with a Russian spy story, the Putin helped Trump rig the voting machines in 2016 story, the Trump aides had regular contact with Russian agents story, the Mike Flynn setup, and so on. That a three-year, $35 million special counsel investigation failed to corroborate even one of these or dozens of similar CNN headlines was no big deal.
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Indeed, for the NeverTrumpers, there was a huge upside. It read: Whatever. The good news is Trump will (soon) be gone.
But Trump/Russia collusion was not the only phony narrative given legs over the past five years.
Recall the allegation that the president had removed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s bust from the Oval Office; that he was suffering from mental illness; that he had told Michael Cohen to lie to federal investigators; that Don Jr. had obtained stolen Wikileaks material prior to public release; that special counsel Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena to Deutsch Bank regarding the president; that Russia had hacked into the U.S. power grid; and that the CIA had been forced to remove an agent from its Moscow office because Trump could not be trusted with sensitive information.
All such items were incorrect, of course, but the attitude was (you guessed it): Whatever. The good news is Trump will (soon) be gone.
Note that these Trump-inspired journalistic hit jobs were acts of commission — where the media endeavored to spin people and/or events into nefarious plotlines aimed at Trump Inc. In contrast, the Hunter/Joe Biden (non)story was an act of quiet omission — as in, “Nothing to see here”; “This story has been discredited”; and my personal favorite, “It’s all Russian disinformation.”
Still, whether active or passive, the common denominator toward both sins is striking: Whatever. The good news is … (you know the rest).
And so the last four years were marked with endless “Trump is inept” — “Trump is crazy” — “Trump is corrupt” storylines on one side and — literally nothing on the other. Joe Biden did not campaign. He rarely left his basement. And when he did — as during the waning days of the campaign — he had to face existential questions such as, “What flavor ice cream did you order today?”