In an official White House press briefing, the heads of America’s intelligence community clearly stated without equivocation that Russia, under orders from Vladimir Putin, did indeed meddle in the 2016 presidential election.
According to the intelligence leaders, the meddling continues to this day, and it is not only about our elections. There is a general campaign to foment chaos, division and dissension among the American people. While the myopic focus of the press is on Russian meddling, we have been credibly told that other adversarial nations are doing the same thing. Why the other meddling is of so little interest to the press is an open question – although the most plausible answer is that the other meddling does not fit into the media’s anti-Trump strategy.
In addition to casting the blame on the Ruskies, the intelligence leaders assured the public that every department was developing and implementing plans to combat such meddling in the future. That got virtually no coverage because it did not fit with the #NeverTrump media’s preconceived narrative that nothing is being done by the administration. They blame Republicans in Congress – the media’s second most favorite target – with not passing legislation to increase funding against cyber threats – as if the various Intelligence agencies do not already have more than ample funding to address the problem.
CNN and MSNBC offered up two conflicting theories about the intel press conference -- the only commonality of which is that they were both anti-Trump. The hostess and parroting panelists on Mourning Mika (Joe Scarborough had the day off) saw the intelligence leaders – all appointed by Trump -- as breaking with the President, taking a strong stand against the President’s hoax mantra. They were defying Trump – a bit of a political mutiny.
The problem with so many of the media’s anti-Trump narratives is that they have no basis in fact or even logic. Consider this one. The intelligence chiefs were invited to the briefing room of the White House by Trump and introduced by his Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. The written statements were reviewed and approved by White House staff in advance – and possibly by the President personally.
There is no way those statements could have been made in that setting without the full authority and approval of the President. They were there to express the opinion, policies and actions of the Trump administration – pure and simple. Opinion-based reports to the contrary are false, deceptive and amount to political propaganda – what Trump hyperbolically calls “fake news.” Did those proffering that bogus and biased theory actually believe that the heads of all those intel agencies barged their way into the White House like the French peasants stormed the Bastille?
To avoid the flaws in the aforementioned theory, the folks at CNN proffered the notion that all these highly intelligent heads of the intelligence agencies succumbed to being dupes, lackeys, cronies, sycophants of the President. Perennial Trump hater Philip Mudd, in his usual state of agitation over all things Trumpian, called it a meaningless public relations stunt. Ponder that for a moment. That’s right. Mudd characterizes definitive public statements by the heads of every American intelligence agency a public relations stunt. These were statements for which the media has been begging. It gives a new spin on the term “mudd slinging.”
CNN Panelist Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and now Yale lecturer, said that she had a “feeling” that the appearance of the intel leaders was not approved by the White House. A feeling? That is about ten levels below “an informed opinion.” That goes along with all those “maybe’s” and “possibly’s” we hear on the news that indicate the speaker has no fact-based knowledge. One might expect a CNN contributor to contribute more than such stupidity.
Looking at the intel briefing, what are we to make of all the hoax talk from President Trump? Only hours after his intel chiefs provided a definitive and compelling condemnation of Russian meddling, the boss appears to call it all a hoax. This not only conflicts with Trump’s previous – and poorly reported – statements that he does believe that Putin meddled in the election. Well, there is the pro-Trump theory and the anti-Trump theory. The latter is advanced by Democrats and given undue credibility by a malleable media.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other White House officials have said that when referring to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a hoax, the President is just referring to that portion of the investigation that involves accusations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He is not referring to the broader case against the Russians.
If that is the case, Trump, himself, should articulate that distinction, but he does not. Why he does not is unknown. While that question goes unanswered, it allows Trump’s critics to invent the anti-Trump negative narratives. They use his own conflicted statements as some sort of evidence that he is being blackmailed by Putin – essentially becoming a Moscow version of the Manchurian Candidate.
Many of the #NeverTrump media folks definitively state without reservation that Putin “has something” on Trump – a scurrilous opinion presented as a fact. They leave out the “maybe.” They wildly conjecture about “possible” sexual encounters or backroom business dealings with about the same level of credibility as accusing Trump and Putin as being homosexual lovers. Maybe that will be next, but now I am conjecturing – a least facetiously.
The elitist media opine that Trump’s brash talk undermines American policy, prestige and power – and they even soar into the stratosphere of hyper-hyperbole with claims that he is bringing down the entire Republic. But is he really doing so much damage? Good or bad, there has always been an inexplicable separation between Trump’s talk and his policies. Bad talk, good policies. That seems to be the characteristic of the Trump administration.
While Trump praises his relationship with his pal Putin, his administration has been tougher on Russia than any president since Reagan. That is a provable fact. While he calls the press – at least portions of it – the “enemy of the people,” he gives them more access than any of his predecessors. He holds long press conferences, informal question and answer sessions, and admits reporters into meetings where actual business is being conducted. No president has been more accessible to the media. During the campaign, Trump said we should ban all Muslims from America, but that is not at all what his policy has been – a policy upheld by the Supreme Court.
As has always been the case with Trump, you must look past the words and look at the policies. Secretary of State made that point in a recent interview, pointing out the many accomplishments in foreign policy. Unfortunately, the press is hung up and unhinged over the rhetoric. It is the same personality versus policy debate that the anti-Trump forces either do not understand or see no political benefit in looking at the policies. The elitist media strategy seems to be to never say a good thing about Trump, trash the Republican party and to disparage and denigrate the intelligence and morality of anyone who has anything positive to say about the Trump administration.
There is much room for criticism of the Trump personality and even some of his policies – those are worthy of discussion and debate -- but the news media’s 24/7 obsession with all things Trump is a disservice to the President, the country and, above all, the truth. The intel chiefs who held that press conference represent actual policy that deserves more comprehensive and honest reporting. Their statements on perception and policy are a lot more important than the latest tweets or rash remarks by the President. As the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words – unless you live in the #NeverTrump media bubble.