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May 23, 2017

Once Again the Media Is Falling for the False Equivalence Argument


Well that was nice while it lasted. For a couple of days, the media was all over the story of Jeff Sessions’ meetings with the Russian ambassador; that is after they spent pretty much all of Wednesday falling over themselves complementing Der Führer on his State of the Union Address. For the last time, pin-heads, just because he managed to stand upright for an hour without making a jackass of himself doesn’t mean he’s presidential. Even 9 year olds can behave themselves for an hour. Christ, wake up!

There is no doubt that Sessions committed perjury. His lame excuse that he thought he was referring to any meetings he may have had as a surrogate for the Trump campaign are lame at best. For one thing, Sessions never qualified his answer when he said he “did not have communications with the Russians.” For another thing, the second meeting with the ambassador took place in September in Sessions office. By that point it was widely known that the Russians had hacked both the DNC and the Clinton campaign servers. Are we to seriously believe that a senior member of the Armed Services Committee met with the Russian ambassador and DIDN’T discuss the hacks? Does Sessions believe we are that stupid?

Evidently so, because that is the exact response both he and the Trump Administration have been peddling ever since the story broke. Sessions didn’t mention the meetings because they had nothing to do with the campaign. Nothing to see here, please move along. Well the media, for a few days at least didn’t move along. They pounced on the story like a dog going for a bone and wouldn’t let go. As a result, Sessions was forced to recuse himself from any potential Justice Department investigation into the Administration. I was actually starting to feel hopeful that the media was finally doing its job.

And then…

Then, Adolph, I mean, the Donald tweeted a picture from 2003 of Senator Chuck Schumer with Vladimir Putin eating donuts in a New York gas station. Below the picture were the words, “We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!”

Right, because a public meeting with Putin is the same as clandestine meetings with Russian intelligence officials in an attempt to swing the results of a presidential election. I always do my best espionage while eating a Krispy Kreme.

It was a ridiculous assertion that any reasonably intelligent person would’ve instantly spotted. Unfortunately, the media fell for it. Like that same dog who pounced on the bone earlier, they became easily distracted by Trump’s dog whistle and started giving it equal time. Soon anybody who may have had a meeting with the Russian ambassador became the story. From Claire McCaskill to Nancy Pelosi, Trump surrogates were out in full force demanding an investigation into those meetings. And the fair and balanced media went along for the ride.

I can’t decide whether I’m angry at the media or just flat-out embarrassed for them. I’ve long ago stopped being surprised at their inability or refusal to be journalists. Ever since their epic lay down over the buildup to the Iraq War, I’ve had zero expectations of them. But their coverage of this president from the day he announced his candidacy has been disgraceful, even for them. Trump received roughly a trillion dollars worth of free advertising, and in return for their generosity he treated them like garbage. You’d think that would be a wakeup call, but no. Like a spouse suffering from battered wives syndrome they keep coming back for more. At least Kevin Bacon had the satisfaction of being allowed to join a fraternity as compensation for getting his ass paddled in Animal House. All these clowns get is egg on their faces.

Thank God for The New York Times and The Washington Post. They continue to publish leaks from this White House and from intelligence officials over the Administration’s ties with Russian officials. Trump and his lackeys – one of them David Nunes, House Chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence – can threaten the leakers all they want; it won’t deter them. Unlike the media, these brave souls know full well what the stakes are. They know they’re working for a lunatic and they’ve decided to do something about it. Bravo for them. They are setting an example of what true patriots look like and what their duty is.

If the media had any pride or self-respect, they’d follow suit. But unfortunately pride and self-respect are two words that are seldom if ever associated with this industry. And that, sadly, is a scandal almost as big as the one enveloping this administration.

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Peter Fegan

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