When Donald Trump entered the political arena some five years ago, reporters floundered for a way to cover his candidacy. Then, sensing a ratings boom from the chaos the businessman and former reality TV star injected into the primary, the left-leaning press quickly converted to covering all things Trump, benefitting both their bottom line and their sense of schadenfreude.
Following Trump’s surprise election in 2016, the press faced a different challenge: How to cover a president they despised? Unfortunately, their answer was to abandon any semblance of journalistic integrity. They pushed fake news while ignoring huge stories that might accrue to Trump’s benefit. As a result, Americans are sorely uninformed about news stories which, at any other time and under any other presidency, would deservedly flood airways and the print media.
Here are seven important stories from just the last year that the press should have — and would have — covered in detail, or differently, but for their disdain for Trump.
While the Spygate scandal spans many years, some of the most newsworthy developments broke over the last several months, although you would not know it if you read corporate media. Just Friday, the Department of Justice released information charging Kevin Clinesmith with making a false statement in an email he altered concerning Carter Page. Clinesmith inserted “was not a source” in the email addressing Page’s relationship with an intelligence agency, and that false statement led to a fourth FISA surveillance order on Page.
Now, the MSM did “cover” this story, if you count the spin peddled as news coverage. After telling readers “Ex-F.B.I. Lawyer Expected to Plead Guilty in Review of Russia Inquiry,” The New York Times twisted the story to slam Trump, sub-heading its article, “Prosecutors did not reveal any evidence of the kind of broad anti-Trump conspiracy among law enforcement officials that the president has long alleged.” The Times then hit Attorney General William Barr and defended the Robert Mueller investigation while minimizing Clinesmith’s misconduct.
Coverage of the charge against Clinesmith is already receding, but the story deserves relentless investigative reporting. Clinesmith was deeply involved in the Crossfire Hurricane surveillance of Trump, including in the FBI’s decision to task Joe Pientka with spying on the Trump campaign during an intelligence briefing. Further, Clinesmith altered the email while a member of Special Counsel Mueller’s team and the special counsel’s office then obtained the fourth and final FISA surveillance order on Page.
That a member of the supposedly independent special counsel’s office falsified a document to get a surveillance order and allegedly committed a felony should burn up the wire for weeks. But instead, we get misdirection and minimization from the press, because heaven forbid the public to learn that Trump was right:it was a witch hunt.
A couple of weeks ago, another Spygate-related development was also sidestepped by the press. The Department of Justice announced its results from sampling FISA applications, telling Americans that the analysis of 29 different applications to the secret foreign intelligence surveillance court showed they “all contained a sufficient basis for probable cause” and that there were “only two material errors, neither of which invalidated the authorizations granted by the FISA Court.”
That conclusion starkly contrasts the 17 significant errors Inspector General Michael Horowitz found in just the FISA applications submitted to surveil former Trump campaign advisor Page. Unlike the 29 randomly reviewed FISA applications which, notwithstanding an array of errors, were found to be supported by probable cause, the DOJ concluded probable cause did not exist for at least two of the four applications submitted to surveil Page—and in turn the Trump campaign and administration.
The media, however, made scant mention of the DOJ’s findings, even though when IG Horowitz revealed in late March that initial results from an audit of FISA applications revealed “errors in every FBI application” the press pushed that news as evidence that the FISA abuse uncovered in the Page case wasn’t the result of politics, but of “broad, institutional weaknesses.”
The DOJ’s announcement earlier this week decimated that spin and a press interested in the truth would realize the significance of the findings of the audit. While 29 randomly pulled FISA applications contained only two material errors in total, none of which rendered the warrants invalid, there were 17 significant errors or omissions in FISA applications involving one person—the Trump-connected Page. But admitting the truth would help Trump, so the media remained silent.
The press has likewise ignored the stunning developments in the Michael Flynn criminal case, including revelations that the special counsel’s office withheld exculpatory evidence from Flynn’s attorneys, including notes suggesting FBI agents had attempt to either get Flynn fired or caught in a perjury trap and evidence establishing that the FBI agents did not believe Flynn had lied. Any other defendants would have been beatified a martyr by the media over this. And any other prosecutor would have been excoriated.
But instead, the press villainized Barr, who directed the charges against Flynn be dismissed based on that evidence and the recommendation of Missouri-based U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, following Jensen’s independent review of the Flynn prosecution.
These latest developments showcase but a sliver about the worst political scandal of our country’s history: The Obama administration obtained an illegal court order to conduct surveillance on a political enemy, using evidence paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Then, following Trump’s election, holdovers continued to spy on the president-elect’s team and later plotted to oust their new boss’ national security advisor. This is a story for the ages. Just not the age of Trump.
2. Israel and United Arab Emirates Normalize Relations
Last week also showed the press skimming over news that should make peace-seeking nations cheer: The normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Again, the media covered the news, even acknowledging its historic nature, but with a pivot playing the achievement as a culmination of a decade of outreach between the two Middle Eastern countries. The Trump administration’s leadership received short shrift.
Is there any doubt that any other American president who helped bring about this promising leap forward in the Middle East—whether Democrat or Republican—would be heralded? A month of in-depth interviews would follow. Specials on the Middle East would air. The history of the conflict would be retold and Trump’s close relationship with Israel highlighted. Then Americans would learn the inside story of how this achievement came to be.
But not with a President Trump.
3. Big News on Terrorism Sponsor Iran
Likewise, the media has ignored or downplayed several significant stories involving Iran that would vindicate Trump’s hardline stance against the Islamic regime. While the press had no problem regurgitating the propaganda Ben Rhodes created in the D.C. echo chamber to sell President Obama’s 2015 disastrous Iran deal, with Trump corporate media has opted to limit coverage of Iran’s horrific human rights abuses.
Few Americans know of Iran’s plans to execute those involved in a 2017 uprising, with one execution taking place earlier this month. “The silence of the international community about [that] execution,” Mahmoud Amiri-Moghaddam, the director of the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group, said, “can be considered a green light for more executions.”
In contrast, earlier this year, the press played the U.S. military operation that killed Qassem Soleimani, a terrorist responsible for the death of scores of American soldiers and innocent civilians in Iraq, as an unnecessary escalation of tensions with Iran. Then, when the Iranian regime killed 200-plus passengers on Ukrainian Flight 752, the media responded with far less outrage and scant coverage of the protests overtaking the authoritarian country.
On Friday, there were two new developments about Iran. How the media plays these stories will be telling. Will the press highlight the Trump administration’s failed bid to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran? Or will the media provide detailed reporting on the news that the Department of Justice seized the “largest-ever” “fuel shipments from Iran,” which headed to Venezuela on four Iranian fuel tankers?
By week’s end, we’ll know whether the media opts to focus on the former while downplaying Trump’s recent success in pressuring the Iranian regime.
4. Major News on China
Over the last year, the press has also sidestepped several significant stories about China, starting with COVID-19. The press downplayed Trump’s success in negotiating a new trade deal with China, and once Trump branded COVID-19 the Chinese virus, the media threw objectivity to the wind, as this Washington Post headline established: “Trump views China’s Communist Party as a threat. Young Chinese see it as a ticket to a better future.”
Beyond publishing propaganda-laced fluff pieces, the press proved its hatred of Trump by providing only scant coverage of three stories: China’s takeover of Hong Kong, its persecution of Uighurs, and its use of TikTok and WeChat to spy on Americans.
While the media has touched on these topics, the coverage is neither representative of their significance nor near the coverage it dedicated to faux scandals harmful to the president, such as when Michael Avenatti repeated Julie Swetnick’s lies about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The media’s coverage of the Kavanaugh confirmation circus shows its strength in pushing a narrative, but sadly, journalists have failed to use their power to unite the world in opposition to China’s sickening persecution of Uighurs and Hong Kong citizens.
While Trump’s impending ban on TikTok and WeChat may be a lesser story, the media’s downplaying of these apps’ threats to Americans’ privacy and national security is par for their so-called reporting on China. Corporate media cannot provide the coverage warranted by these stories because it would prove Trump’s position that China’s Communist Party is a threat. Therein is all you need to know for why the press remains at best hushed and at worst a propaganda arm for the communist country.
Corporate reporting on COVID-19 provides another stark example of the Trump litmus test it constantly applies to news: Does the story help the president or hurt him?
Coverage of hydroxychloroquine as a possible therapeutic provides the clearest proof of this, as best illustrated by the national coverage of the death of a man who “ingested” fish tank cleaner, spun as a Trump-induced death. But more subtle bias by omission is prevalent as well.
For instance, under other circumstances, the harm widespread school closings cause to especially low-income and at-risk children would be the nightly news narrative. Personal interest stories featuring single moms, unable to work and supervise the online schooling of their children, would run. Special-needs children struggling without individualized educational plans would be profiled. Heartstrings would be pulled, and pressure would be brought to bear on leaders refusing to open schools.
But because Trump wants the schools open, the coverage has focused instead on the risk to children and teachers of returning to the classroom.
The deaths of the elderly in states like New York that forced nursing homes to take in COVID-positive patients would also be a national scandal if it didn’t counter the liberal narrative that Trump is to blame for COVID deaths. Likewise, the Centers for Disease Control’s antiquated flu surveillance system would be the stuff of investigative reporting, but for the vindication it would provide to Trump, who directed the CDC to create an entirely new system to track COVID.
American pharmaceutical companies might have even been championed for their record-breaking efforts to develop an effective vaccine for COVID. However, highlighting the promise of a late-year vaccine would only provide a dual-edged plus for the president by both showcasing his strong leadership and prompting Americans to sense a quick economic recovery. So the story stays muted.
6. 2020 Elections
While the media has long been biased towards Democrats, this year the press seems uninterested in even hiding this preference. The bias shows both by what the media covers and what it doesn’t.
One taboo topic, of course, is Joe Biden’s health. Here the press is repeating its performance in 2016, which The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway exposed four years ago. Then, the press was ignoring concerns over Hillary Clinton’s health, including coughing spells, memory lapses supposedly caused by a concussion and a brain clot, and then a fainting spell caught on camera.
Now it is Biden’s bizarre behavior, forgetfulness, and word salads served on those few occasions he emerges from his basement in unscripted exchanges. A media less concerned about possibly assisting Trump’s re-election bid would expose these disconcerting episodes. They also would not tolerate Biden’s refusal to engage with the press.
Also ignored are the many stories that should have spun from Biden’s announcement that Kamala Harris is his choice for vice president. Is Biden a racist? A sexual predator? Harris said as much during the primaries. What changed? But other than late-night comedy, the press has already moved on. To paraphrase Biden, “Come on, media.”
And in no sane world is Harris a moderate, but that is how the New York Times cast her in its continuing delusional coverage of the election.
The media’s handling of the mail-in-voting story is likewise telling, and again reminiscent of 2016, when fears of hacking concerned both parties—until Trump raised the issue. We’re seeing the same dynamic today, with the press pushing back against concerns that universal mail-in-voting creates the risk of both fraud and foreign interference.
The media pivots from this legitimate concern by conflating mail-in-voting with absentee voting. To date, it also has remained relatively silent while USPS sabotage conspiracy theories go viral.
7. Riots? What Riots?
The media also finds itself struggling to cover the riots occurring throughout our country. The “mostly peaceful protests” spin remains strong because any acknowledgment of the violence confirms Trump’s criticism of Democratic-run cities and his decision to use federal law enforcement officials to protect federal property. So the press bypasses or shades these major stories.
At any other time and under any other president, the media would have descended on the Portland federal courthouse to report the insurrection taking place. Reporters would have infiltrated the autonomous zone and covered the rampant crime and violence occurring. Profiles of the small business owners whose livelihoods were destroyed by the riots would run.
Yes, covering these stories may help Trump, but it would also help Americans, who at best are ignorant and at worst are brainwashed.