The Media's Reliance on Skeevy Leaks and Crazy Conclusions

Our institutions are failing us. The skies are filled with bitter accusations thrown at our president.  This is the outcome we should expect when we allow a man to rise to governmental heights beyond his experience and competence. The problems are aggravated when that man shows no respect for the normal boundaries and limits on his power; When that man is unable to simply do his job, but launches public outbursts that undercut the people with whom he works, he is unfit.  If you've been following the ongoing soap opera in Washington, you know the man I'm describing is James Comey.  

Comey's antics are compounded by the utter disregard for the truth displayed by our national media. One need not be a fan of President Trump to appreciate how outrageous the media attacks on him are. 
 
Here are three sets of attacks based on leaks that have turned out to be false, frivolous or both. The set involving Comey has many parts so we'll save it for last.
  • 1.  The Washington Post reported that newly appointed Assistant Attorney General Rosenstein threatened to resign.  The implication being he'd encountered inappropriate roadblocks erected by the Trump White House.  Rosenstein denied this charge while testifying under oath before Congress. Denials don't get more bulletproof.  When confronted by Rosenstein's denial, Philip Rucker, White House bureau chief for the Post, stood by his reporter and her source. "We don’t know how serious the threat was. We don’t know if it reached, you know, the level of the President or the Attorney General. But we do know that he threatened to resign..."
The only people above Rosenstein in the chain of command are, you know, the president and the attorney general.  Few among us have not come into a new work situation and encounter something that causes us to grumble and gripe to our peers and staff.  Most people familiar with English understand that is not a threat.  Resignation can be a threat only when it is delivered to superiors.  The bureau chief of a major newspaper gives us absolute assurance of the one thing he thinks he knows, and it turns out to be a trivial insignificant event.  When the media people stretch an event into something it is not, it makes it very difficult to believe them and their anonymous  sources.
 
  • 2.  The Washington Post reported that in a White House meeting President Trump revealed classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.  That can be a bad thing.  It can also be perfectly benign.  In this case it was benign  The information was the city from which a foreign intellenge agency acquired  information about ISIS current plans to blow up airplanes.  If that information was made public it is possible that ISIS could identify the spy who provided it.  Trump wasn't speaking publicly.   He was talking with the Russians, who are as plagued by ISIS terrorists as we are.  They have already lost a commercial airliner full of tourists to ISIS.  The chance that the Russians would publicize this information or share it with ISIS is zero.  
But the word got out anyway.  Someone leaked it, and the Washington Post published it.  The Russians wouldn't tell ISIS but the Post did.  To add insult to real injury, the Post then blamed Trump.  One could not make that up.  
 
That is about as clear a case of creating a serious problem so it can be blamed on the Trump, as can be imagined.  The sense of elitism has grown so pervasive that there are people who will dismiss my previous paragraph because it comes from a  nonestablishment person.  Let's fix that.  I am on exactly the same page as Allen Dershowitz  and Obama's CIA Director John Brennan.  The intelligence leak and the harm it caused is the fault of the leaker and the Post not Trump.  The leaker should be prosecuted and the Post should be held accountable, for this outrageous intentional betrayal.  
 
  • 3.  There is no question that Comey was in over his head. There were many reasons to fire him as head of the FBI. (If I were president, Comey would have departed with the second leak of classified material.) The initial reaction among rank and file Democrats was enthusiastic approval.   A belated concern for the integrity of the Russian/Trump collusion investigation turned their mood to outrage. 
With the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the outrage has subsided, but there was never any reason for it in the first place.  The under-oath testimony of the second in command at the FBI is that there was no lack of resources and there was no attempted interference in the investigation. 
 
That should be the end of the story, but there are more leaks.  An associate of Comey read the New York Times a portion of the notes taken by Comey.  According to the notes Trump asked Comey if there was any way to go easy on fired National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn because he was a good guy.  It is quite clear that Trump was asking Comey if there was any proprietorial discretion leeway in the case against Flynn.  There is an army of legal experts who do not see this as obstruction of justice.
 
But an even larger army of Democrats and media figures insist that Trump was trying to shut down the Russian collusion investigation.  There is a small problem with their accusation.  At the time of this Trump/Comey conversation the only legal jeopardy that Flynn faced was his apparent inappropriate relationship with Turkey.  Turkey and Russia are separate countries. I checked.
 
Finally, there is the leak that Trump told his Russian guests in the Oval Office that he got rid of the "nut job" Comey and that should take some pressure off U.S.-Russian relations.  Nut job isn't my language.  Its fair to say that among D.C. bureaucrats, Comey is ... mmmmm, eccentric.  It will be a very large surprise if anyone objects to that word.    
 
Trump  sees an opportunity to improve U.S.-Russia relations.  In my view, he is wrong.  But that makes him neither crazy nor a Putin puppet.  Trump also thought that firing Comey would make it easier to deal with Russia.  That is obviously bad judgment, but it's just a mistake, not a sign of guilt.
 
I take a back seat to no one in my early criticisms of Trump.  Prior to Trump clinching the Republican nomination I wrote two scalding criticisms of him and of what appeared to be his policies. After much soul-searching, I became one of the reluctant Trump voters.  Not only is he performing better than I thought he would, he is doing better than I thought he could. He deserves credit for a variety of accomplishments. He deserves more credit for weathering these bizarre attacks.  He still has flaws and they should be pointed out.  We can't shrug then off with the so called "what about" arguments that other people have been as bad or worse.  
 
But there is another side to this.  Our national media has fallen into the Kool-Aid pitcher without their water wings.   Their phony, and frankly, silly accusations can not be justified because they are attacking Trump.  That's just the "yeah but what about" argument in reverse.  

As an earlier and better critic of Trump than the national media, I feel very comfortable in calling them out.  Whatever, if anything, comes from the various investigations, the actions of especially The New York Times and the Washington Post are worse than anything Trump's been accused of.  This wild undisciplined media behavior is inexcusable.

Our institutions are failing us. The skies are filled with bitter accusations thrown at our president.  This is the outcome we should expect when we allow a man to rise to governmental heights beyond his experience and competence. The problems are aggravated when that man shows no respect for the normal boundaries and limits on his power; When that man is unable to simply do his job, but launches public outbursts that undercut the people with whom he works, he is unfit.  If you've been following the ongoing soap opera in Washington, you know the man I'm describing is James Comey.  

Comey's antics are compounded by the utter disregard for the truth displayed by our national media. One need not be a fan of President Trump to appreciate how outrageous the media attacks on him are. 
 
Here are three sets of attacks based on leaks that have turned out to be false, frivolous or both. The set involving Comey has many parts so we'll save it for last.
  • 1.  The Washington Post reported that newly appointed Assistant Attorney General Rosenstein threatened to resign.  The implication being he'd encountered inappropriate roadblocks erected by the Trump White House.  Rosenstein denied this charge while testifying under oath before Congress. Denials don't get more bulletproof.  When confronted by Rosenstein's denial, Philip Rucker, White House bureau chief for the Post, stood by his reporter and her source. "We don’t know how serious the threat was. We don’t know if it reached, you know, the level of the President or the Attorney General. But we do know that he threatened to resign..."
The only people above Rosenstein in the chain of command are, you know, the president and the attorney general.  Few among us have not come into a new work situation and encounter something that causes us to grumble and gripe to our peers and staff.  Most people familiar with English understand that is not a threat.  Resignation can be a threat only when it is delivered to superiors.  The bureau chief of a major newspaper gives us absolute assurance of the one thing he thinks he knows, and it turns out to be a trivial insignificant event.  When the media people stretch an event into something it is not, it makes it very difficult to believe them and their anonymous  sources.
 
  • 2.  The Washington Post reported that in a White House meeting President Trump revealed classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.  That can be a bad thing.  It can also be perfectly benign.  In this case it was benign  The information was the city from which a foreign intellenge agency acquired  information about ISIS current plans to blow up airplanes.  If that information was made public it is possible that ISIS could identify the spy who provided it.  Trump wasn't speaking publicly.   He was talking with the Russians, who are as plagued by ISIS terrorists as we are.  They have already lost a commercial airliner full of tourists to ISIS.  The chance that the Russians would publicize this information or share it with ISIS is zero.  
But the word got out anyway.  Someone leaked it, and the Washington Post published it.  The Russians wouldn't tell ISIS but the Post did.  To add insult to real injury, the Post then blamed Trump.  One could not make that up.  
 
That is about as clear a case of creating a serious problem so it can be blamed on the Trump, as can be imagined.  The sense of elitism has grown so pervasive that there are people who will dismiss my previous paragraph because it comes from a  nonestablishment person.  Let's fix that.  I am on exactly the same page as Allen Dershowitz  and Obama's CIA Director John Brennan.  The intelligence leak and the harm it caused is the fault of the leaker and the Post not Trump.  The leaker should be prosecuted and the Post should be held accountable, for this outrageous intentional betrayal.  
 
  • 3.  There is no question that Comey was in over his head. There were many reasons to fire him as head of the FBI. (If I were president, Comey would have departed with the second leak of classified material.) The initial reaction among rank and file Democrats was enthusiastic approval.   A belated concern for the integrity of the Russian/Trump collusion investigation turned their mood to outrage. 
With the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the outrage has subsided, but there was never any reason for it in the first place.  The under-oath testimony of the second in command at the FBI is that there was no lack of resources and there was no attempted interference in the investigation. 
 
That should be the end of the story, but there are more leaks.  An associate of Comey read the New York Times a portion of the notes taken by Comey.  According to the notes Trump asked Comey if there was any way to go easy on fired National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn because he was a good guy.  It is quite clear that Trump was asking Comey if there was any proprietorial discretion leeway in the case against Flynn.  There is an army of legal experts who do not see this as obstruction of justice.
 
But an even larger army of Democrats and media figures insist that Trump was trying to shut down the Russian collusion investigation.  There is a small problem with their accusation.  At the time of this Trump/Comey conversation the only legal jeopardy that Flynn faced was his apparent inappropriate relationship with Turkey.  Turkey and Russia are separate countries. I checked.
 
Finally, there is the leak that Trump told his Russian guests in the Oval Office that he got rid of the "nut job" Comey and that should take some pressure off U.S.-Russian relations.  Nut job isn't my language.  Its fair to say that among D.C. bureaucrats, Comey is ... mmmmm, eccentric.  It will be a very large surprise if anyone objects to that word.    
 
Trump  sees an opportunity to improve U.S.-Russia relations.  In my view, he is wrong.  But that makes him neither crazy nor a Putin puppet.  Trump also thought that firing Comey would make it easier to deal with Russia.  That is obviously bad judgment, but it's just a mistake, not a sign of guilt.
 
I take a back seat to no one in my early criticisms of Trump.  Prior to Trump clinching the Republican nomination I wrote two scalding criticisms of him and of what appeared to be his policies. After much soul-searching, I became one of the reluctant Trump voters.  Not only is he performing better than I thought he would, he is doing better than I thought he could. He deserves credit for a variety of accomplishments. He deserves more credit for weathering these bizarre attacks.  He still has flaws and they should be pointed out.  We can't shrug then off with the so called "what about" arguments that other people have been as bad or worse.  
 
But there is another side to this.  Our national media has fallen into the Kool-Aid pitcher without their water wings.   Their phony, and frankly, silly accusations can not be justified because they are attacking Trump.  That's just the "yeah but what about" argument in reverse.  

As an earlier and better critic of Trump than the national media, I feel very comfortable in calling them out.  Whatever, if anything, comes from the various investigations, the actions of especially The New York Times and the Washington Post are worse than anything Trump's been accused of.  This wild undisciplined media behavior is inexcusable.

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