Media reporting on what other media are saying creates endless cycle of news stories about news stories
The entirety of the evidence made public so far proving that Donald Trump did something illegal or improper in collusion with the Russians with regard to the presidential election looks something like this:
[to be determined, maybe, at some point in the future, as of this moment, nada, ziltch]
or more precisely
Oh, there is a lot of speculation. There has been a mountain of articles written about “contacts,” but nothing showing improper or illegal conduct related to the campaign.
I can’t prove that the speculation is wrong, because there have been no facts disclosed that would allow me to prove it wrong. I also can’t prove that the speculation is right, because there have been no facts disclosed that would allow me to prove it right.
Like the proverbial broken clock, some of that speculation may end up being correct, even if most of it proves incorrect.
I made this point on February 15, and despite continuing media fury, nothing has changed, The fact-free Intelligence Community-Media trial of Trump by innuendo:
I don’t know whether Donald Trump or his aides had any improper contacts with Russian Intelligence officers.
Neither do you, or the media. The Intelligence Community might know, but they have provided zero facts either officially or through leaks to prove any improper, much less illegal, conduct took place….
In this fact-free environment, imaginations and malicious intentions can run wild. We have round-the-clock media and social media speculation and frenzy throwing around terms like impeachment, treason, and so on.
It is, in some ways, worse than harmful facts, because there is no clear accusation against which to defend, and no factual basis upon which the public can judge.
Byron York makes a similar point in an article that nicely summarizes the current state of the Russia mania, Byron York: 11 key points to remember about Trump-Russia affair:
1) Substance is what matters, Part 1. From the very beginning, there was only one central question in the investigation: Did Donald Trump or his associates collude with Russians in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election? So far we’ve seen evidence of some in the Trump circle having contact with Russians — see the Roger Stone DMs with Guccifer 2.0 — but we have seen nothing to prove, or even lend much support to, the contention that anyone on the extended Trump team coordinated election interference with Russians.
Andy McCarthy also eviscerates the Trump-Russia narrative, Democrats Know the Election Was Legitimate but Persist in a Dangerous Fraud:
“Russia hacked the election” is politicized theater of the most irresponsible kind — the worst since Democrats last sought to delegitimize a Republican administration by agitating against a war they had voted to support, even as American men and women were laying their lives on the line. And in this theatrical exercise, just as in the last one, the Left is undermining national security for political advantage….
Yet, rather than encourage a responsible evaluation of what we’re up against, Democrats and their media allies are promoting a fraud: If you take the Russian threat seriously, it means Russia stole the election and, ergo, that Donald Trump is an illegitimate president. Since that is not what happened, Republicans — who should be pushing Trump toward a harder line against Moscow — will be constrained to refute the Democrats’ allegations. The Democrats will demonize Trump, while Trump sympathizers sound like Putin’s defense lawyers.
In the Kremlin, they’ll be smiling.
What really is going on here is a Ben Rhodes-style echo chamber created by anti-Trump leakers, Twitter personalities with a lot of followers who constantly scream “treason” and “impeachment,” and a mainstream media that is happy to create a narrative to delegitimize every aspect of Trump’s presidency.
If you don’t know what a Ben Rhodes-style echo chamber looks like, read Grand Deception: How Obama and Ben Rhodes Lied Us Into the Iran nuke deal, detailing how Obama Iran-deal message coordinator Ben Rhodes deliberately created a false narrative about how the Iran negotiations started. That false narrative, among other things, asserted that the Iran nuclear deal negotiations were a result of more moderate Iranian leadership coming to power. That supposed fact was used to paint the Iran nuclear deal as less dangerous than many worried, because it would encourage a further moderating of Iranian policy. It was all a lie.
Rhodes, by his own admission, fed that false narrative to a gullible and ignorant media, creating an echo chamber of media support for the deal.
How the deception unfolded was described in the testimony before Congress by Michael Doran, a former Bush administration senior national security expert. We summarized his analysis in The Five Deceptions of Obama-Rhodes Echo Chamber.
The Rhodes Iran-deal deception also was part of a cover up – a cover up of an Obama agenda to empower Iran for regional dominance, the so-called Grand Bargain that had been an Obama goal since the earliest days of his administration.
I see something similar unfolding now as during the Iran deal. Whether Rhodes was or is involved is not clear, though he has been particularly active in attacking the Trump administration. But the methodology is the same, a fact-free narrative endlessly parroted by the media in a circular fashion so that media reporting on what other media are saying creates an endless cycle of news stories about news stories.
It’s worth noting that while the media shows keen interest in building up the anti-Trump collusion narrative, it seems highly motivated to tear down the improper surveillance narrative asserted by Congressman Devin Nunes and others. The media worries more about whether Trump’s tweets about “wiretapping” were accurate than whether the powers of our spy agencies were abused for political purposes, and whether the Obama administration deliberately tried to undermine the incoming president.
I’m going to follow the evidence. Maybe there is a there there on Trump’s supposed collusions with the Russians, but so far there isn’t, at least not publicly.