On Monday, Politico ran a story criticizing the Wall Street Journal for failing to adopt the political groupthink that pervades most of the media elite.
It’s not enough that the vast majority of mainstream media operate as the communications arm of the Democratic Party. Any deviation from this approach results in strong criticism by other journalists. One media writer even criticized Fox News for mentioning the conclusion of a corruption and bribery trial of sitting U.S. Senator Bob Menendez this week. Apparently they were supposed to spend the entire day spreading hysteria about Trump’s criminal collusion with Russia to steal an election that was Hillary Clinton’s birthright — nevermind the lack of evidence — to the exclusion of all other news.
So Politico runs “Murdoch-owned outlets bash Mueller, seemingly in unison.” As stupid as the headline is, the subhed gets stupider: “After resisting opportunities to take Trump’s line on Russia, the Wall Street Journal editorial page goes all in.”
Yes, the entire Democratic media complex bashes Trump, seemingly in unison, going all in on the Hillary Clinton campaign narrative of collusion with Russia, and the problem is that some media outlets #resist. Politico “media reporter” Jason Schwartz is upset that the Wall Street Journal doesn’t follow the media herd.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page has in the past been a stern critic of Donald Trump, but in recent days has come under fire for pieces that critics say shift attention away from the president — with many people, including former staffers, left to wonder why.
After having generally avoided Trump’s efforts to de-legitimize democratic institutions, the Journal last week wrote an editorial calling for special counsel Robert Mueller to resign and featured a contributor op-ed Sunday afternoon that said Trump should issue a blanket pardon in the Russian scandal, including of himself.
The Journal has also called for an investigation into Democratic Party collusion with Russia, a conservative talking point in the wake of a Washington Post report that Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid for some of the opposition research that led to the infamous “dossier” of anti-Trump information – but which made no suggestion of any collusion with Russia.
It’s almost funny how much this question-begging reads like Democratic media talking points. See, it’s not that anyone might legitimately view Robert Mueller’s handling of the Russia probe as inappropriate or heavy-handed. It’s not that anyone might have a problem with the criminalization of political differences. It’s not that anyone might not trust Mueller’s ability to investigate an issue directly related to his longtime buddy and protege James Comey.
No, there’s just one approach you have to take if you’re a member of the media: undying fealty to Robert Mueller, no questions asked. Democracy dies in darkness, as we all know. But did you know journalism dies if you in any way question powerful government officials with unlimited prosecutorial power?
Maybe Jason Schwartz Should Read Some Russia Reporting
Schwartz’s understanding of the dossier appears limited. The outfit that ran the dossier operation is Fusion GPS. Critics are accusing it of being an unregistered agent of Russia. It worked on behalf of Russian interests to fight Magnitsky Act sanctions. The dossier’s sources were, according to the dossier itself, Russians at high levels of the government. And the foreign spy contracted to run the dossier operation allegedly paid middlemen in Russia to secure this information. Let’s just say that if Team Trump had run this operation, there would be widespread heart failure at CNN.
But note that Schwarz appeals to “former staffers” of the Wall Street Journal to bash the page. In addition to people who now work for competing outlets, Schwarz ends his piece with “former Journal editor Neil King” saying “I don’t know a single WSJ alum who’s not agog at where that edit page is heading.”
Politico’s media reporter didn’t mention that King works for … Fusion GPS. In fact, Fusion GPS has several former Wall Street Journal staffers. And Fusion GPS is known for pitching smear operations to friendly journalists.
Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller broke the news that CNN’s reporter covering the Russian dossier story is a very close friend of Fusion GPS principals. Here’s CNN reporter Evan Perez kicking back with Fusion GPS folks, including Neil King and Peter Fritsch.
CNN has not disclosed Perez’s close ties to the group he’s covering.
Politico didn’t mention that the journalist it quoted smearing the Wall Street Journal works for Fusion GPS. That seems a curious omission for a piece criticizing the media outlet for not following everyone else’s lead in downplaying the group’s significance.
The media have also done a very poor job of explaining that Fusion GPS’ King is married to Shailagh Murray, also a former Journal reporter, who was a top communications advisor to President Barack Obama. NB: King omits his connection to Fusion GPS from his Twitter bio.
As the Politico article demonstrates, the problem with the media is that too many outlets express servile devotion to Democratic talking points, and are not skeptical enough of prosecutorial overreach. It’s fine that the media woke up from their eight-year hibernation to critique the president, though the manner in which they’re critiquing leaves much to be desired. But it’s not fine that they are unwilling to even tolerate criticism of other powerful figures and entities, such as Mueller and the Justice Department. And their curious lack of journalistic interest in a Russia-connected outfit that feeds them stories and narratives is telling. Perhaps media reporters should look into it.