Over the past few weeks, the media has been involved in a feeding frenzy trying to harm the new administration by focusing on one “fake news” scandal after another. The most recent controversy involves the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States during the transition. In these discussions, there was a mention of the new U.S. sanctions issued against the Russian government by the Obama administration. These conversations were recorded and the contents of the call were leaked to the Washington Post in violation of the law. Flynn was either forgetful or not truthful when discussing the issue with Vice President Mike Pence, who said on Face the Nation that the National Security Adviser did not discuss the issue of sanctions with his Russian counterpart.
After giving Pence false information, Flynn had to resign, but he did not break any laws when he discussed sanctions or other issues with the Russian Ambassador. In presidential transitions, it is commonplace for officials in a new administration to make contacts with foreign leaders. What is unique in this case is the leaking of the conversation to the media and the active effort within the massive federal bureaucracy to harm the Trump presidency. In that case, laws were broken and an immediate investigation is warranted.
Instead of probing the leaks or the bureaucratic resistance to the new President, the mainstream media is focusing on the Russian connection and speculating if the Donald Trump can be blackmailed. They are pushing the narrative that the Russians stole the election for Trump and he is beholden to them. The Flynn story just allows the media to engage in wild, unsubstantiated speculation about Trump’s so-called Russian involvement and mention another possible “Watergate” scandal.
Fortunately, our new President is not a shrinking violet and can return fire to the media. Yesterday, in his first presidential news conference, President Trump held court for 77 minutes and enjoyed himself while scolding the media for their “dishonest” practices. He reserved anger for CNN’s biased reporting and celebrated the low ratings of host Don Lemon’s evening program.
To understand the reason for new aggressive attitude toward the Trump administration, it is vital to recognize that the media is overwhelmingly liberal. As evidence, the Center for Public Integrity investigated all 2016 presidential campaign donations linked to journalists. An astounding 96% of all journalist contributions, $382,000, were given to Hillary Clinton, whereas only 4% of donations, $14,000, benefited the Trump campaign.
During the Obama years, most reporters were cheerleaders advocating his agenda, not tough investigators probing controversies in his administration. As noted by Peter Hasson of the Daily Caller, President Obama was asked plenty of softball questions during his eight years in office. For example, during his first year in office, Harry Smith of CBS asked, “Golf what does it do for you?” A better question would have been, “Mr. President, with all of the problems at home and abroad, how have you found the time to play 306 rounds of golf during your presidency?” Not to be outdone, Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times asked President Obama, what “enchanted” him the most during his first 100 days in office. It was a pathetic question from an “enchanted” reporter working at a newspaper that was a journalistic outpost for Obama administration.
Even mainstream Republican and former George W. Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer admitted that the press had gone “soft” on President Obama and now “they want to change their tune” and get more aggressive with Donald Trump.
While they attempt to taint Trump with accusations of “Watergate” and other ridiculous hyperbole, millions of Americans have stopped watching their programs or reading their drivel in print and online. As Fleischer noted, a recent Gallup poll showed that “trust in press reporting accurately and fairly is at an all-time low.”
This intense attack on our new President just reaffirms why the public has such a low regard for the media. In the battle of Trump versus the media, it might be a good idea to bet on the President who already defeated his political opponents and the media to get elected.
If President Trump can make speeches, conduct news conferences and go on social media to communicate directly with the American people, he can get his unfiltered message to the public without the help of the media. All he needs the media for is to be his favorite target of ridicule.