Following President Donald Trump’s generally well-received speech in Saudi Arabia to an audience that included the heads of 55 Muslim-majority countries, the concern on the part of many in the media was whether or not this would relieve some of the pressure he is under back home. Bob Schieffer of CBS News acknowledged on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” that Trump sounded “presidential” during his speech. But even that was challenged by substitute host John Berman, who questioned whether Schieffer might somehow be “normalizing” President Trump.
Schieffer responded that that wasn’t his intention, but that he was just doing what a reporter does: “I’m not trying to normalize him in any way. I’m trying to do what reporters do…report and try to emphasize what I think was important here.”
But the specter of scandal was also present. Schieffer argued that Trump’s situation back home shared striking parallels with Watergate, during which then-President Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office. Part of that parallel was last week’s appointment of a special counsel, former FBI director Robert Mueller, to oversee the investigation within the Justice Department, coupled with the fact that Trump had recently fired FBI Director James Comey. The latter invited the comparison to Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox.
Before FBI Director James Comey was fired on Tuesday, there weren’t many politicians on either side of the aisle who were pleased with him or would have been sorry to see him go. Hillary Clinton recently blamed him for her defeat in last year’s presidential election by having re-opened the investigation into her mishandling of classified material less than two weeks before the election. Comey had confirmed in March that the FBI was investigating connections between advisors to President Donald Trump and representatives of the Russian government, both prior to the election last year and in the period between the election and the inauguration in January.
But as soon as the bombshell announcement was made late Tuesday afternoon, the Democrats and their allies in the media had found their latest “Watergate” scandal. Trump’s firing of Comey was compared to Watergate’s “Saturday Night Massacre.” Trump was said to be Nixonian because, they argue, he is attempting to shut down Comey’s investigation into his supposed collusion with the Russians.
The New York Times recently published a lengthy postmortem on the effects that the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and the bureau’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia had on the 2016 election. The paper casts blame because FBI Director James Comey went public with the Clinton investigation, but didn’t expose the Trump inquiry during the election.
“For all the attention on Mrs. Clinton’s emails, history is likely to see Russian influence as the more significant story of the 2016 election,” concludes the Times. “Questions about Russian meddling and possible collusion have marred Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in the White House…Despite Mr. Trump’s assertions that ‘Russia is fake news,’ the White House has been unable to escape its shadow.”
Recent comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warning that Iran could follow North Korea’s path of nuclear belligerence, and the Trump administration’s certification, in turn, that Iran is complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), seem to send mixed messages. However, any guarantee of Iran’s compliance must grapple with the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors can only inspect declared, and not military or undeclared, nuclear development sites.
“An unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it,” said Tillerson at the State Department. “The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach.”
The progressive media, and their left-wing allies, have been on an endless binge of Trump-bashing that began even before Donald Trump took office as president. This Trump derangement syndrome results from the fact that during the campaign, and later when he was elected, Trump took firm hold of the national debate and reshaped it in his image. But progressives have their own dueling national narrative, one which they are trying to reassert through the use of allegations of Russian collusion and through a war on “fake news.”
Nicholas Kristof, in an opinion piece for The New York Times, argues that progressives need to show a greater respect for the citizens who elected Trump. “The blunt truth is that if we care about a progressive agenda, we simply can’t write off 46 percent of the electorate,” he writes. “So by all means stand up to Trump, point out that he’s a charlatan and resist his initiatives. But remember that social progress means winning over voters in flyover country, and that it’s difficult to recruit voters whom you’re simultaneously castigating as despicable, bigoted imbeciles.”
Once again President Trump is being called a radical, when he is, in fact, restoring common sense to government policy. As Forbes reports, Trump’s recent seven-page executive order “lays the groundwork for rescinding” Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is currently “suspended by the Supreme Court while a Washington appeals court considers its fate.” While Obama was known for his executive overreach (he lost in the Supreme Court more than any other president, including a record number of unanimous defeats), Trump is scaling back government interference in the marketplace that had been justified in the name of battling climate change.
The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, recently gave Susan Rice four Pinocchios for a false and misleading statement regarding Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. But what is notable about this story is not that Rice lied. She has done that many times. Rather, the remarkable part of this story is that the Post took so long to wake up to this Obama administration falsehood.
After all, Kessler’s evidence that Syria still had a chemical weapons capability reaches back two years, to a period during President Obama’s tenure. Why not, then, issue a fact check sooner? In 2016, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assessed that “Syria has not declared all the elements of its chemical weapons program.” In addition, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reported in 2015 and 2016 that it was “finding traces of sarin and VX nerve agent at Syrian facilities that had not been declared to inspectors or previously visited.”
What started out last year as an investigation by the Obama administration into Russian interference in our presidential elections has turned into the latest scandal involving both former President Barack Obama and his national security adviser, Susan Rice. The media are in full panic mode, attempting to keep the focus of the investigation on President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, while trying to shield Obama and Rice from the consequences of their actions.
What has become clear during the past week is that the focus of the investigation should clearly be shifting from alleged collusion between President Trump’s associates and the Russian government, in order to influence the election—for which no evidence has emerged—to the role of the Obama administration in surveilling, incidental or otherwise, unmasking and leaking information about the Trump campaign and transition teams, for which all sorts of evidence has emerged.
In a recent opinion column for The Washington Post, former United Nations ambassador and national security advisor to Barack Obama, Susan Rice, had the temerity to lecture President Donald Trump about telling the truth. She writes that “our friends must be able to trust the word of the U.S. president.”
This extends far beyond hypocrisy coming from a person who visited five Sunday talk shows to peddle administration falsehoods about the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya. In addition, she served in those positions during a period of other disastrous foreign policy decisions—deceptively sold to the American people—such as the Iran nuclear deal and the entire Libyan debacle.
President Donald Trump fared much better in the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday than the left-wing, establishment media would have you believe. The American Spectator’s George Neumayr captured the essence of the findings: “…the core claim underlying Trump’s tweets is true: people acting on the authority of Obama opened an investigation into Trump’s campaign, then criminally leaked mention of it to friendly news outlets in an attempt to derail his election. When is Obama going to apologize for that?”
But for weeks now, CNN and MSNBC have been calling Trump a liar, saying that there is no evidence to support his tweets, and demanding that he back down and apologize for his accusations against former President Barack Obama.
A recent Washington Post article by media reporter Paul Farhi raises the alarm that the White House Correspondents’ Association has not once, but twice, assigned a Daily Signal employee, Fred Lucas, to be the pool reporter, i.e., the reporter who serves as the “proxy for the rest of the press corps.” The Daily Signal is the “news and commentary site” founded by the conservative Heritage Foundation, he reports, labeling it an “advocacy organization.”
“In other words,” writes Farhi, “the news that reporters received about the vice president came from a journalist employed by an organization with a vested interest in the direction of White House and federal policy.”
The media continue to publish and broadcast stories about how Donald Trump won the election with the help of the Russians, calling this “collusion,” though no such evidence has surfaced. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has stated that he had “no knowledge of evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.” Assertions of Russian influence have been latched onto by Democrats and a liberal media with the sole intention of delegitimizing the Trump administration.
After all, the media, and Democrats, clearly would prefer to return to the age of Obama. While hearings are planned for March 20 by the House Intelligence Committee to look into the issue of Russian influence in the presidential election, as well as President Trump’s claim that Obama ordered wiretaps and surveillance on parts of his campaign—charges that have repeatedly been called “baseless”—there are other tracks that I have suggested that investigators and journalists should probe.
Once again the dominant media narrative has shifted overnight. Last week the media exploded with stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ admitted contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., the latest attempt to somehow derail and delegitimize the Donald Trump presidency. It is part of the narrative concocted by the Democrats and their allies in the media to claim that Trump won the election thanks in part to help from Russia. Collusion has been the word of choice, though no evidence has surfaced to support it.
The narrative changed over the weekend when President Trump sent out a series of tweets asserting that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him “during the very sacred election process,” and that it was “Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Accuracy in Media Editor Roger Aronoff recently appeared on The Daily Ledger on the One America News Network to discuss how the mainstream media are attempting to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency.
The media, along with Democrats, have concocted the story that Russians influenced the election. “So then it became the Russians, the Russians did it,” said Aronoff. “Does anybody believe that if Hillary had won the election, Obama would have expelled 35 Russian diplomats and put these sanctions on? No, of course he wouldn’t have.”
Wednesday, March 1 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of conservative icon Andrew Breitbart. We think it is important to remember his legacy, as his name is heard often these days, and his influence looms large. For those not familiar with him, Andrew was a larger than life character who figured in the establishment of several prominent media institutions that play significant roles in today’s journalistic landscape. He was first associated with the Drudge Report, famous for scooping Newsweek on its Monica Lewinsky story; The Huffington Post, the very popular leftwing blog; and Breitbart News, from which came the left’s chief bogeyman, and Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.
Five years after his untimely death, we at Accuracy in Media want to remind people who Breitbart was, and why he is so influential in an age of so much fake news by the mainstream media. AIM presented Andrew with the Reed Irvine Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2010, and he gave an historic speech before a packed room that called out the media for its dishonesty.
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