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Arnold Ahlert / Aug. 16, 2018

The Media's Day of Rage

More than 350 newspapers collude to write editorials denouncing Donald Trump.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” —"Pogo" comic strip creator Walt Kelly

For those who enjoy a collective temper tantrum, few things compare to what is best described as the mainstream media’s very own “Day of Rage.” Today, in an effort to embrace collectivist victimhood, more than 350 newspapers have published a coordinated series of editorials aimed at countering the president’s ongoing assertions that fake news is an “enemy of the people.” In short, a media obsessed with “Russian collusion” is engaging in massive collusion of its own — to assert its legitimacy, no less. If there were a Richter Scale for measuring hypocrisy, the reading would be off the charts.

This effort was the “brainchild” of Marjorie Pritchard, deputy editor of the Boston Globe. Last Saturday, she told CNN that “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days.” The American Society of News Editors and the New England Newspaper and Press Association have joined Pritchard in an effort to get additional newspapers on board, and the deputy editor is proud that publications in both big and small markets are “enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”

Pritchard is especially enthusiastic about the fact that each paper will have published its own editorial, rather than the exact same message. “The impact of Trump’s assault on journalism looks different in Boise than it does in Boston,” she insisted. “Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming.”

Alarming? Compared to what? In 2013, the Obama administration’s DOJ seized — without notice — the cell phone and home phone records of more than 100 Associated Press reporters. “There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of the Associated Press and its reporters,” stated AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt in a letter of protest sent to then-Attorney General Eric Holder.

In an editorial entitled “Spying on the Press,” The New York Times characterized the administration’s behavior as something that “looks like a fishing expedition for sources and an effort to frighten off whistle-blowers.”

Obama and Holder weren’t done fishing. A week after the AP debacle was revealed, America learned that Fox News correspondent James Rosen was cited as a possible criminal “co-conspirator” in a Justice Department affidavit. Rosen was investigated for publishing a 2009 story leaked to him by a government advisor about North Korea’s intention to conduct a nuclear test ahead of UN sanctions. During the investigation, the feds tracked Rosen’s State Department visits and movements via his security badge, helped themselves to his email logs, and even investigated the phone records of his parents.

It gets worse. In a 2013 interview with NPR, Holder revealed he didn’t know how many other times the DOJ seized journalists’ records. “I’m not sure how many of those cases … I have actually signed off on,” Holder stated. “I take them very seriously. I know that I have refused to sign a few [and] pushed a few back for modifications.”

In a 2016 column, CNN’s Jose Pagliery revealed the same Obama administration “used the Espionage Act to hunt down whistleblowers who leaked to journalists more than all previous presidential administrations combined, according to several studies by news organizations.”

What was the media pushback on what could arguably be characterized as an effort to criminalize journalism? An indignant letter sent to Eric Holder signed by several media entities.

As for media collusion, this latest Trump-bashing effort isn’t the first time the Fourth Estate has behaved like a Fifth Column. In 2008, more than 400 leftist “Journo-lists” from media, academia, and think tanks coordinated their coverage of Obama to insulate him from the racist rants of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who brought up the former president’s two-decade association with the hate-spewing “reverend” was labeled a “racist.”

Media collusion was also an integral part of the 2016 election cycle. Emails disseminated by Wikileaks revealed the media’s contemptible alliance with Hillary Clinton and DNC leadership, and their plot to slant coverage against Bernie Sanders.

Undermining Sanders was only part of the equation. Other examples of coordinated media/DNC malfeasance include Politico’s Ken Vogel giving DNC officials a look at an article about Clinton fundraising before showing it to his own editor; CNBC’s John Harwood asking Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta what questions to ask Jeb Bush in an interview; Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank requesting and receiving Trump opposition research from the DNC; and DNC interim chairwoman and CNN contributor Donna Brazile forwarding debate questions to Clinton ahead of the debate itself.

What sticks out like a sore thumb? The egregious and routine double standard. It is virtually impossible to catalogue all of the Obama administration scandals the media either downplayed or simply ignored, a reality that stands in stark contrast to its ongoing effort to shape the Trump-Russia collusion Narrative, almost invariably relying on “unnamed” or “anonymous” government sources to do so.

What about the avalanche of spying conducted by the Obama administration? The same media obsessed with Trump remains calculatingly indifferent to Americans unmasked by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samatha Power, the NSA’s monitoring of congressional opponents meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the planting of an FBI informant in the Trump campaign, and the penetration of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer network, courtesy of former CIA Director John Brennan, who orchestrated the attack and then lied about having done so.

Where is Brennan today? Now without a security clearance, he’s working in the media as a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC and MSNBC. Part of that “analysis”? Calling Trump a traitor. Not to be outdone, CNN employs former Obama administration Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who perjured himself before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2013 and allegedly leaked the Christopher Steele dossier to CNN, according to a House Intelligence Committee report.

Such hires reveal a great deal about why, absent any evidence of collusion evinced during an investigation that is now in its second year, the Trump-Russia Narrative remains unchanged.

Thus, media assertions of Trump’s “assaults” on the press ring exceedingly hollow. They get even hollower when they are asserted by those whose coverage of Trump and his administration has been 91% negative, whose Democrat members outnumber Republican members by four to one, and whose political contributions favored Clinton over Trump by a 96% to 4% margin, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

The media’s relationship with the public? According to a Gallup poll taken in June, public trust in the media has reached historic lows.

Nonetheless, CNN’s Brian Stelter remains hopeful. “Although there’s a longstanding debate about the effectiveness of newspaper editorials, there is certainly strength in numbers — the greater the number of participants, the more readers will see the message.”

And therein lies the ultimate expression of self-imposed obliviousness: How is the Trump-bashing “message” today remotely distinguishable from the glut of Trump-bashing messages routinely disseminated by the media for more than three years?

To paraphrase The Who, “Meet the new bash, same as the old bash.”

Make no mistake, the greatest threat to our First Amendment freedom of the press, and to Liberty itself, is not Trump’s criticism of abject Leftmedia bias, the greatest threat IS abject Leftmedia bias.

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