[Analytics] Mueller’s report, finding no Russia collusion or conspiracy, is a major indictment of US media
The Mueller investigation has finally come to an end and, while Donald Trump was not indicted and no evidence of collusion with Russia was found, the report is a massive and damning indictment of American journalism. Danielle Ryan specially for the Russia Today.
For two years, mainstream US media has point blank refused to entertain the idea that there was no collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. They breathlessly spun elaborate conspiracies about how Trump was a puppet of the Kremlin, with Vladimir Putin secretly pulling the strings, despite all evidence to the contrary.
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Logic went out the window in favor of a narrative that the media and the Democratic Party became delusionally convinced was their ticket to boot Trump, whom they both loathe, out of the White House. Major networks like MSNBC and CNN pursued this fantasy relentlessly because it was good for ratings – and Democrats pursued it because it was politically convenient (or so they thought) to blame Hillary Clinton’s election loss on Russia and Facebook memes, instead of the fact that she ran a terrible campaign.
In reality, both the Democrats and the media were, ironically, contributing substantially to Trump’s 2020 reelection efforts by ensuring that he can be cast as the victim of a “fake news” witch hunt, which no doubt will stir even more passion among his devout supporters as the next election rolls around.
The results of Mueller’s investigation have vindicated the few journalists and commentators who bravely stuck their necks out to be the Russiagate skeptics, even in the face of contempt and ridicule from their colleagues. People like Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Maté, Max Blumenthal, Kyle Kulinski and Michael Tracey reported accurately and carefully on the story, without spiralling into conspiracy speculation. They artfully dissected the “bombshell” reports that the major networks and newspapers deceitfully churned out, based on nothing more than conjecture and anonymous sourcing. For their real journalism, they were essentially blacklisted from those networks, which repeatedly chose to invite on partisans like the irredeemable Rep. Adam Schiff (chief collusion theory pusher of the Democratic Party) and former CIA spooks, as “analysts” and cheerleaders for the treason narrative.
While those were lying through their teeth, Greenwald was smeared in a particularly gross fashion by mainstream journalists and pundits as a Putin apologist and Kremlin stooge – because they could not accept that it was possible to severely dislike Trump and maintain one’s critical thinking skills and sanity at the same time. Now, as the skeptics are engaged in some well-deserved gloating, the media is, of course, ignoring their existence.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was, hands down, the worst offender across all networks when it came to baseless and bizarre speculation regarding Trump and Russia. Remember the time she claimed to be in possession of Trump’s damning tax returns an hour before her show (come on, ratings!) and when called out later, threw her viewers under the bus, saying they had simply “leapt” to conclusions? Or the time she told her loyal audience that Trump’s buddies in the Kremlin might turn off the power in Fargo simply to watch Americans freeze to death for no discernible reason? Maddow and her ilk exploited their viewers’ trust time and time again, while getting richer and richer off the proceeds.
Russiagate speculation was no less insane in Britain, where the Guardian’s Luke Harding, known by genuine experts for his fantasy-based journalism with regard to Russia, wrote an entire book entitled “COLLUSION” and published it more than a year before the Mueller investigation had concluded. See for yourself how convincing Harding’s case was, by watching Aaron Maté masterfully dissect and destroy his evidence-free tome in this interview. If you’re short on time, skip to the end to see Harding call Maté a “collusion rejectionist” before abruptly disappearing in shame.
The worst offenders, like Harding and Maddow, should feel humiliated and, quite frankly, never be taken seriously again. Sadly, however, we know that won’t be the case. Maddow’s ratings are too good for MSNBC to ditch her; and, let’s face it, she’ll probably get at least another year out of post-Mueller investigation guesswork. Not to mention, as we learned from the Iraq War, being consistently wrong on questions of major significance is actually a boon for one’s career in journalism these days. Matt Taibbi, another collusion skeptic, accurately wrote yesterday that Russiagate was “this generations’s WMD” – a failure of epic proportions and another “death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.”
If you think that is an exaggeration, let’s not forget that this scandal spiralled so out of control that there were actually analysts and reporters who pushed the theory that Trump has been controlled by Russia not since 2016, but since the 1980s.
It should be noted, however, that while “resistance” Democrats and so-called left-leaning media like MSNBC, CNN and BuzzFeed lost their minds over the nothingburger that was Russiagate, the best and most accurate reporting on the story came from the real left. While the Trump sycophants at Fox News, who would defend him to the death regardless, might feel vindicated by the Mueller report, they certainly shouldn’t. They played no serious role in exposing the flaws and holes in the story.
Incredibly, while one might assume that, as the Mueller investigation wraps up without producing evidence of collusion, Russiagate true believers might finally close up shop and admit defeat – but that would require some kind of mass self-reflection that is surely not forthcoming. Instead, many are still out there trying to suggest that Attorney General William Barr, who penned the summary letter of Mueller’s report, is hiding something or mischaracterizing its findings – while Mueller himself stands idly by. It is pathetic, to say the very least, but as their narrative crumbles down around them, they have nothing else to hold onto.
Public trust in media is at rock bottom for a good reason – and Mueller’s report proves that beyond doubt.
Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRyanJ