Cowards in the Shadows
The Media, “Deep State” Intelligence, and Donald Trump
“I was born for a storm, and a calm does not suit me.”
President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
Since the resignation of Michael Flynn as Donald Trump’s director of national security, gleeful media pundits cannot hide their optimism that the administration is in meltdown. “Blood in the water,” a headline from Salon declared. Invoking Howard Baker’s “what did the president know, and when did he know it” Watergate-era query, disgraced journalist Dan Rather suggested that the alleged Trump/Flynn/Putin troika could be a bigger scandal than Watergate. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman even said that Donald Trump’s election was the equivalent of national tragedies like Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
While left-of-center media outlets called for investigations and possible impeachment (after less than a month!), publications and individuals more friendly to the president focused on the so-called “Deep State” problem of bureaucrats and intelligence community insiders working to discredit the Trump administration. The Wall Street Journal reported that intelligence officials have withheld information from Trump over concerns it will be shared with the Russians. Even Dennis Kucinich, former liberal Democratic representative from Ohio, warned that unelected bureaucrats are leaking information to cast suspicion on Trump and his interactions with Russia. These are indeed strange times when someone like Kucinich is defending President Trump but a conservative like The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol is tweeting support for insider attempts to undermine POTUS.
Over the weekend, the anti-Trump press continued its attacks, some wildly speculative. The Nation ran an article suggesting that Trump’s behavior may be a sign he has an untreated STD. And just as soon as the president tweeted that some press agencies are “enemies of the American people,“ journalists melted down (yet again) that someone dared to say something really mean about them. They were cheered on by Republican Senator John McCain, who pulled a Dixie Chicks and criticized the president’s remarks about the press during a trip overseas. (McCain, you may remember, handed the “golden shower” Russian prostitute information over to the FBI.)
Astoundingly, once-respected mainstream journalists and publications still have not realized that whatever problems the Trump administration may have with credibility, theirs are 100 times worse. Their wildly inaccurate predictions during the 2016 election cycle combined with their blatant partisanship means that at least half the country no longer takes them seriously. Donald Trump has rendered them largely irrelevant. With last week’s Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking poll giving him a 55 percent approval rating, Trump has legitimate reasons to be confident.
Moreover, the media still have not grasped that, like his role model Andrew Jackson, Trump thrives in adversarial situations. Accustomed to having the upper hand and putting politicians on the defensive, the press is reeling now that Trump has turned the tables and highlighted their own failures to keep the public informed in an objective, nonpartisan way. All the tweets and fights with the press are a form of rhetorical dueling, and he keeps besting them, but not because he’s so articulate. Their own hubris and addiction to controversial headlines makes them accept the challenge and show up to the fight. Every. Single. Time. It doesn’t matter if he makes a minor, offhand remark or an in-your-face statement. They actually make it easy for him.
What’s more, after largely turning a blind eye to scandal during the Obama years (Fast and Furious, IRS, V.A., Benghazi, etc.), the media should not be surprised that many Americans now view their hyperventilating over alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election with skepticism. With every new “anonymous intelligence officials say….Russia! Russia!” story, people roll their eyes when nothing can be confirmed and no one with inside information is willing to go on the record and provide the American public with concrete evidence that Trump is a traitor to his country.
If Donald Trump colluded with the Russians, then these “anonymous sources” should stop being cowards, step out of the shadows, and divulge to the American people what they know. We don’t need lengthy congressional investigations and hearings. We just need courageous Americans to do the right thing.
Until they do, many of us will simply consider the Trump/Russian connection allegations just more disinformation, innuendo, and gossip leaked by dishonest partisans and establishment politicians like McCain who still cannot come to terms with Hillary Clinton’s loss. If the republic is indeed in grave peril from the 45th president, the American people deserve to hear the truth, not unsubstantiated rumors filtered through the corrupt national media.
Follow Dana Zimbleman’s blog at Academic Redneck.