“Collusion,” “witch hunt,” “fake news” — all words the media and President Donald Trump have bombarded the American public with for two consecutive years.
Democrats, anti-Trumpers and left-leaning news outlets have pushed the allegation that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government in order to sway the election against Hillary Clinton.
They accused him of being a Russian asset, of being a traitor and “Putin’s puppet.”
The report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller was supposed to prove them right.
On Sunday, United States Attorney General William Barr presented a summarized version of the Mueller report to Congress. The Special Counsel, after 22 months of thorough investigation, concluded that no one from Trump’s 2016 campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia in attempting to influence the election.
Although Mueller did not exonerate the president from obstruction of justice, despite what Trump has tweeted, the investigation has essentially given him a gift for his 2020 presidential campaign while arguably vindicating him.
Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has disparaged the news as “fake” and “the enemy of the people.” Labeling the media as such is wrong and a threat to our democracy.
Yet the investigative report has now given him both a shield and a sword as he campaigns for re-election.
According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after the report cleared the president of the allegation, almost half of Americans think Trump colluded with Russia.
News outlets will now be scrutinized more than ever, perhaps even more so than in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Prominent conservatives and right-wing media outlets have been calling out the media since the report was made public; perhaps more surprising is that a few journalists on the left have joined that chorus.
The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote, “If there’s no media reckoning for what they did, don’t ever complain again when people attack the media as ‘fake news’ or identify them as one of the country’s most toxic and destructive forces.”
Rolling Stone writer and author Matt Taibbi published an excerpt from his new book which argued: “Russiagate is this generation’s WMD [weapons of mass destrusction] ... The sheer scale of the errors and exaggerations this time around dwarfs the last mess.”
Taibbi is referring to the media during the run-up to the Iraq War, which is seen as one of the greatest journalistic failures in modern history.
Both Greenwald and Taibbi are correct in their assessment that the media made a large error in bombarding the American public with the Trump-Russia allegations.
Because of this, Trump and his supporters now have a powerful tool to combat Democrats with in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, and it was one of their own making.