ABC News’ White House correspondent Karen Travers approvingly tweeted out a paragraph of a front-page Washington Post rant written by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, and Rachel Bade. The paragraph comes from their cri de coeur headlined “Trump’s Ukraine Call Reveals A President Convinced Of His Own Invincibility.”
While the article matches the headline in its extreme bias and shrill outpouring of opinion — seemingly written by the Democratic National Committee’s newest batch of enthusiastic interns — it is presented as if it’s news, a common problem with our current media culture. Here’s the paragraph:
— Karen Travers (@karentravers) September 22, 2019
Every single assertion of this paragraph isn’t just wrong, but the opposite of right. In each sentence, Trump is being blamed for things his political opponents have done. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Trump’s sense of himself as above the law has been reinforced throughout his time in office.
In fact, the main problem during the Trump administration has been the way the self-annointed “Resistance” in the media, unelected bureaucracy, and political institutions have treated Trump as if he were below the law. Traditionally, hard-fought losses are usually followed by an acceptance of the reality of election results, even if grudgingly.
In the case of Donald Trump, his campaign was spied on prior to the election by the intelligence services and government apparatus controlled by the opposing party. They used wiretaps, national security letters, human informants, and other surveillance. His transition was undermined by leaks suggesting that the FBI took seriously an uncorroborated and ludicrous collection of tall tales, “research” later determined to have been secretly funded by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
President Trump has yet to be treated as the legitimate winner of the free and fair election he won in 2016. Some 70 Democrats refused to go to his inauguration in protest. The weaponized opposition material from Trump’s political enemies was used to get his national security advisor terminated, his attorney general sidelined from any oversight of his agency, to scare foreign leaders from effectively engaging in foreign policy discussions, to keep good people from serving in his administration, and to ruin the lives of anyone who worked with Trump to secure his victory.
Elites in the media, government, and political institutions have discussed ousting him through the 25th amendment, impeachment, manipulation of the economy, and other extreme measures. Fired FBI director James Comey was found to have violated Trump’s civil liberties when he violated FBI policies governing investigations. Rucker, Costa, and Bade, it might be noted, provide no evidence in support of their regurgitation of the Resistance talking point that Trump views himself as above the law.
As detailed in the Mueller report, he received help from a foreign adversary in 2016 without legal consequence.
What in the world? What are Philip Rucker, Bob Costa, and Rachel Bade smoking? This was not “detailed” in the Mueller report. This is not even a remotely accurate summation of that report, even while acknowledging how partisan of a report it was.
In fact, the report found that the entire basis for the investigation — supposed treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election — had no evidence in support of it. Not only did Trump not conspire with Russia to steal the 2016 election, not a single American was found to have done so. Are they trying to elevate the significance of Russia’s 100-year-old practice of meddling in U.S. elections, and falsely characterize those efforts as unidirectional in favor of Trump?
There are countries such as China that desperately want to defeat Trump and had that interest in the 2018 midterm elections and in 2020 elections. We know that China is actively manipulating its actions to help achieve the goal of a Trump loss in 2020. Are Rucker, Costa and Bade suggesting that whichever Democrat Trump runs against should face “legal consequence” for whatever machinations they employ?
It is unclear what “legal consequence” Rucker, Costa, and Bade are fantasizing about, particularly considering it’s a fantasy that even Andrew Weissman’s politically motivated special counsel team couldn’t dream of suggesting.
He sought to thwart the Russia investigation and possibly obstruct justice without consequence.
Here, Rucker, Costa, and Bade blame Trump for not sitting silently while being falsely accused of being a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Treason is a crime punishable by death, but apparently President Trump complained too loudly about the false allegations made against him for Rucker, Costa, and Bade’s liking.
Through the government, he has earned profits for his businesses without consequence.
The Washington Post has been absolutely desperate to make some kind of financial impropriety case against Trump. The only problem is that they are more frequently writing about how the Resistance has effectively tarnished Trump’s brand globally. The Trump organization is a global business concern that did not disappear when Trump took office, even if he stepped away from running it.
Apparently Rucker, Costa, and Bade think that the company should not be permitted to operate while Trump is in office. It’s an interesting theory.
It’s a particularly interesting theory given that this entire story is being written relative to the tremendous financial gain the Biden family realized during the Obama presidency, when Joe Biden served as vice president. Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, went from being released from the military for his cocaine use to receiving a large monthly stipend from an energy concern in the Ukraine, despite his complete lack of qualifications. He also benefited mightily from Chinese interests.
Only the media could be upset that a global business concern continued to be a global business concern while expressing not a whiff of interest in the way that politicians with no business concerns profit during periods of power.
He has blocked Congress’s ability to conduct oversight without consequence.
The Constitution’s Article 1 branch should be deferred to as much as possible, even with extreme requests, and the executive branch never cooperates with oversight as much as it should. But the worst example of this failure during the Trump administration was the Department of Justice’s refusal to cooperate with the House’s probes of its surveillance of Trump.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein repeatedly slow-walked or refused to provide material as requested by various House committees, successfully keeping the agency’s bad behavior from concerned Republican investigators, all the way to the 2018 midterms. By contrast, Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were held in contempt of Congress even as they protested that they were cooperating with probes.
Speaking of blocking Congress’s ability to conduct oversight without consequence, however, wait until Rucker, Costa, and Bade hear about former attorney general Eric Holder’s handling of inquiries into a gun-running scandal that led to deaths of Americans! It’s not quite the same as requests for personal or private material of the president that have nothing to do with congressionally authorized or funded government activities, but it’s pretty interesting.
In other words, every sentence in the Washington Post paragraph is well past the point of bias, or slant, or not being even-handed. These sentences are outright and blatant and unabashed falsehoods in the service of a particular political party and agenda.
The Washington Post is singularly and relentlessly devoted to taking down the Republican president. This paragraph shows what so many other paragraphs in so many other articles show, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year: some reporters are willing to express false statements in service to one political party and in opposition to another.
This is not journalism, but propaganda.