Weird new frontiers in media bias: BuzzFeed versus Robert Mueller?
Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that President Trump had ordered Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. Friday, at a late hour (after a day of misinformation), Robert Mueller had his office refute the details of the report and its implications. This is a rare event by the special counsel office. Those on the right see this as further evidence of "fake news," and the left argues that this proves how fair Mueller will be.
We must wonder how this story originated. BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith is still claiming that the story is accurate and wants Mueller to clarify his denial. Watching the reporters on CNN and MSNBC with downtrodden faces try to analyze how to turn this defeat around makes one cringe as journalism has taken another severe hit. BuzzFeed had reported on the Steele dossier, which was the source of the FISA warrants and shown to be false. Trump antagonists still see BuzzFeed as a serious media outlet.
Speculation regarding the sources leads one to consider several possible reasons why such a story could be reported. It is possible that a trap was set to uncover a government leaker of the special counsel's investigation.
More troubling would be a planted story by a political operative within the congressional Democrat machine to justify high-profile hearings into Trump and his administration. In this scenario, a congressman's office would encourage this report to encourage impeachment hearings.
Given the damaging nature of these claims by BuzzFeed, one would imagine that other network reporters would be careful repeating this story. They use the caveat that "if it were true," then this would be impeachment-worthy. But the glee in their voices was unmistakable yesterday morning and throughout the day. Now they are apoplectic because the lie was revealed.
Perhaps this story was planted to take the attention away from the border wall issue and the government partial shutdown. I do not support conspiratorial theories generally, but could this be one time to consider such? A recent poll showed that Hispanic support for Trump has increased. We don't hear about many polls regarding the immigration issue and the migrant caravans, which leads one to suspect that the Democrats have some slippage in support. Yet the refusal of Speaker Nancy Pelosi to budge on the wall implies that she still thinks her view is prevailing among the public.
The back-and-forth between Pelosi canceling the State of the Union invitation and Trump canceling the Pelosi trip to Belgium and Afghanistan revealed the bias in the media's reporting. It makes little sense for Pelosi to be so adamant about refusing any money for a border wall, a fence, or any physical barrier. After, all she voted for it in the past, as did Senator Chuck Schumer.
If we consider that the Democrats continue to call for a technological barrier, then it makes sense why the Democrats have abandoned the working middle class in flyover territory. Silicon Valley money helps underwrite the Democratic Party. The factory and construction industries unions no longer have the serious money that helps fuel Democratic Party election campaigns. The tech leaders have their own agenda, which requires yearly updates and fuels their financial success.
Why would Mueller issue a rebuttal to the BuzzFeed story? Maybe he feared that the incoming new attorney general-designate, William Barr (a friend of Mueller), will have no choice but to shut down his inquiry since it unfairly threatens the presidency. Perhaps Mueller feared that the report implies that the story came from his own staff, a violation of his legal responsibility. Maybe the inquiry is winding down, and he did not want to damage his credibility when the report is delivered to the Justice Department.
The outcome of this error in reporting will be watched carefully, but probably no one will be punished. The result will be a stalemate that continues the animosity in Washington and threatens our republic.