Friday, March 29, 2019

Fallout from the Mueller Hoax

You have probably seen this article already, but for those of you, like yours truly, who had not, here is Matt Taibbi’s critique of the press coverage of the Mueller investigation. Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone, so we add his name to the list of honorable liberals like Stephen Cohen who saw through the charade and were willing to counter the leftist propaganda machine.

Taibbi opens with a quotation from the Barr summary. By now, the reptilian Democratic masses are saying that we cannot count on a summary, but don’t they realize that the body of the report will one day be exposed, and thus, that Barr and with him Rosenstein would be beyond stupid if they had distorted the conclusions.

“[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

That one sentence should end a roughly 33-month national ordeal (the first Russiagate stories date back to July 2016) in which the public was encouraged, both by officials and the press, to believe Donald Trump was a compromised foreign agent.

After the 2016 election, the storyline instantly became that Trump was an illegitimate president, a foreign operative who’d cheated his way into office and would therefore need to be removed ahead of schedule.

There were too many stories that dwelled on this theme to count here, but we all saw them. New York asked, Was Trump “meeting his handler” in Helsinki? The Daily Beast asked why he dodged the question: “Is he a Russian asset?”

Two important points stand out here. First, that the press and the Democratic Party were hawking the story that Donald Trump was a Russian agent. It was so stupid and so implausible that leftist voters assumed it must be true. They seem completely to have ignored the proper way to evaluate such claims, by looking at administration policy toward Russia.

The press reached a new level of journalistic ignobility by presenting its story as gospel truth, without any questioning, without any doubt:

Some outlets didn’t even put their beliefs in the form of a question. “Trump Is Compromised by Russia” read a not-unusual editorial in the New York Times last November.

If you tried to protest that this had not been proven, that journalists should be more careful about leveling such serious accusations, the first line of response (if it wasn’t accusing you of being in league with Putin) was usually a version of: Be quiet, you don’t know what Mueller knows.

Mueller knows became the cornerstone belief of nearly all reporters who covered the Russia investigation. Journalists reveled in the idea of being kept out of the loop, thrilled to defer to the impenetrable steward of national secrets, the interview-proof Man of State. He was no blabbermouth Donald Trump, this Mueller! He won’t tell us a thing!

And, in the “hoist with his own petard” area, the press made a fatal mistake in elevating Robert Mueller to the status of a superhuman being who knew truths that the rest of us could merely guess at:

All this hyping of Mueller The Omniscient dovetailed with the preposterous mythologizing of the special counsel through consumer goods (Mueller action figures! “Mueller time!” beverage mugs! Saint Robert Muller prints!) and breathless stories like the Vanity Fair ode to the “dreamiest G-man to hunt for collusion.”

Then there were episodes like the “All I want for Christmas is you!” song performed by the SNL cast. “I don’t need a full impeachment / I just need a little fun / Please don’t tell us we aren’t crazy / At least indict his oldest son.”

Thus, they are in no position to dispute Mueller’s findings. This does not prevent them from disputing Mueller’s findings, because, they have no integrity.

Addressing the matter of obstruction of justice, and especially the matter of Mueller’s refusal to decide whether Trump should be indicted for it, Taibbi adds this salient point:

Barr’s letter includes a telling detail from Mueller himself on this issue (emphasis mine):

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction…

In other words, it was Mueller, not Barr, who concluded there was no underlying crime, so if the next stage of this madness is haggling over an obstruction charge, that would likely entail calling for a prosecution of Trump for obstructing an investigation into what even Mueller deemed non-crime.

As it happens, Mueller is now being trashed as … you guessed it… a Republican, thus biased:

After all the insistence that we put our trust in St. Mueller because he “knows all,” the new story suddenly is that Mueller all along didn’t know and didn’t try to know. The Atlantic’s take was, “Mueller, a career G-man, is fundamentally legally conservative,” which means “he has a narrow view of his own role.”

Therefore, despite the fact that Mueller didn’t determine he had evidence for a charge, we can “infer his conclusions by reviewing how he marshaled the evidence for and against guilt.”

Now what? Voices on the political left are now reduced to having to win an election. And perhaps to find a better candidate than the incompetent fraud whose claim to fame was being America’s leading enabler of sexual harassment:

By not delivering the desired goods, Mueller is now being described as “The God that failed Democrats,” by Edward Luce of the Financial Times, who makes the shockingly belated observation that the Democrats putting all their hopes in the “magic bullet” of the Mueller investigation “postponed the harder, less glamorous work the party needs to be doing.”

The mainstream media ran with the story, and hyped it to the Heavens, because it was good for business. It got ratings. As you know, ratings over at CNN and MSNBC fell significantly after the Barr summary was reported:

This manipulative brand of news programming preyed upon the emotional devastation of liberal audiences, particularly the older people who watch cable. It told them the horror they felt over Trump’s election would be alleviated in short order. The median age of the CNN viewer is 60 and MSNBC’s is 65, and these people were urged for years to place their trust in Santa BOB, who knew all and whose investigation would surely lead to impeachment and “the end.”

All you had to do was keep turning in, because the good news could come any minute now! The bombshell is coming! Never mind that this is causing our profits to soar. Don’t wonder about our motives, even though outlets like MSNBC saw a 62 percent bump in viewership in the first full year of Russiagate coverage. Just keep tuning in. The walls are closing in!

That was bad enough, but now that the Mueller dream seems to have died, news organizations are acting like they didn’t hype Mueller as savior.

So, for the left, it’s back to democracy. Heaven forfend:

[Chris] Matthews, in a tone that suggested he was being the sober adult delivering tough love, completed his thought about how “they don’t have him on collusion” by saying, with a shrug of undisguised disappointment:

“So I think the Democrats have got to win the election.” He added, “There’s no waiting around for uncle Robert to take care of everything.”

I know no one cares how this sounds to non-Democrats, but this is a member of the media looking sad that Democrats would have to resort to actual democracy to win the White House back.

The blow to the integrity of many news organizations stings. And it will undermine their credibility at the same time that it enhances President Trump's:

Given that “collusion” has turned out to be dry well, to the ordinary viewer it will look a hell of lot like the MSNBCs of the world humped a fake story for two consecutive years in the hopes of overturning election results ahead of time. Trump couldn’t have asked for a juicier campaign issue, and an easier way to argue that “elites” don’t respect the democratic choices of flyover voters. It’s hard to imagine what could look worse.

For the commercial press to recapture any dignity after this collusion debacle, it has to at least start admitting to its role in artificially raising expectations in the last two years. It’s hard to imagine them doing that, however. This story has been so enormously profitable for cable stations, in particular, it will be hard for them to let go of this narrative. What are they going to do, go back to just reporting the news? One can almost feel how depressed network executives must be at the thought. They’ve trained audiences to expect bombshells. What will they sell now?

A sad and pathetic story, well explained by Taibbi.


Anonymous said...

I hope Trump's last act as president is to pardon those whose only crimes were created by Mueller's investigation.

UbuMaccabee said...

Leftism is form of madness; it is imaginary hysteria fueling and fueled by high moral dungeon and amour-propre. It manifests as derangement. It's a movement against the use of reason.

And all of it can be traced back to once source: Ithaca is the source of all evil. Every bad idea, every impossible and impractical notion of reality, every preposterous ideology, they all track back to Ithaca.

What you are seeing in public is the rot that comes from Ithaca encountering the actual reality of the existent world and the people in it.

Ithaca delenda est. Ithaca delenda est. Ithaca delenda est.

Toddy Cat said...

I've always hated Taibbi's guts, but I've got to hand it to him on this. He may be a left-wing lunatic, but he's an honorable left-wing lunatic.

sestamibi said...

Matt Taibbi: the next Bernard Goldberg or Sharyl Atkisson or Lara Logan or . . .

Sooner or later a lot of them see the light.

trigger warning said...

"while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent..."


"Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent."
--- James Comey, 7/5/2016, re Clinton e-mail server and classified leaks (emphasis added)


Anonymous said...

"And all of it can be traced back to once source: Ithaca is the source of all evil. Every bad idea, every impossible and impractical notion of reality, every preposterous ideology, they all track back to Ithaca."

Ubu - this isn't your first rant about "Ithaca". Would you mind clarifying the source of your intense ire?

Upstate New Yorkers wanna know.


Sam L. said...

Yeah, Ubu; I'd like the backstory on Ithaca, too. I've never been to Ithaca, or near it, so I have nothing, zero, zip, nada, to go on. Please to explain.

sestamibi said...

Sit, Ubu, sit.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I’d like to know about Ithaca, too...