Paul Farhi posted an article yesterday at The Washington Post about the media’s role in the Mueller investigation.
The article reports:
After more than two years of intense reporting and endless talking-head speculation about possible collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian agents in 2016, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III put a huge spike in all of it on Sunday. Attorney General William P. Barr relayed Mueller’s key findings in a four-page summary of the 22-month investigation: The evidence was insufficient to conclude that Trump or his associates conspired with Russians to interfere in the campaign.
Barr’s announcement was a thunderclap to mainstream news outlets and the cadre of mostly liberal-leaning commentators who have spent months emphasizing the possible-collusion narrative in opinion columns and cable TV panel discussions.
“Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media,” Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote in a column published Saturday, a day before Barr nailed the collusion coffin shut. He added: “Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population.”
That’s bad enough, but there is another noteworthy observation in the article:
Other news outlets defended their reporting as well, noting that much of it is undisputed and has led to indictments and guilty pleas by figures associated with Trump’s campaign.
“I’m comfortable with our coverage,” said Dean Baquet, the New York Times’s top editor. “It is never our job to determine illegality, but to expose the actions of people in power. And that’s what we and others have done and will continue to do.”
He noted that Barr’s letter summarizing Mueller’s findings points out that the actions that warranted an obstruction inquiry were “the subject of public reporting” — a fact “that’s to the credit of the media.”
In fact, revelations by the Times and The Washington Post about contacts between Russian agents and Trump’s campaign advisers in 2016 helped prompt the inquiry that the special counsel took over in May 2017. The two newspapers shared a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the issue that year.
Although the mainstream media tried to make this Watergate, it wasn’t, and I suspect they have little or no intention of admitting their misreporting of major aspects of the story. First of all, where was the reporting of the abuse of power by the Obama administration in surveillance of an opposition party political campaign? Second, where was the commentary on inflammatory statements by former intelligence officials that later proved to be wrong? Third, where was the commentary on the accomplishments of the Trump administration in trade, taxes, and economic policy? If you are still watching the mainstream media and believing what they say, you will continue to be misinformed and mislead.