Russia Story Shows How the Media Killed Journalism

By | 2017-05-22T18:53:47+00:00 May 16th, 2017|
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On the heels of a particularly contentious week in politics, the president has fired his quixotic FBI Director, James Comey. He explains that it’s because Comey was a terrible leader of the FBI (he was), but the media insists that it was because Comey was closing in on the “truth” of Trump’s collusion with Russia to steal the election from poor old Hillary. For their part, the Democratic Party seems content to perpetuate this narrative, since it exonerates the DNC of having been mostly responsible for its own defeat (they could have had the candidate that their base wanted, but the DNC leadership chose to rig the election in favor of the oligarchy’s choice, Hillary).

Meanwhile, the Democrats rushed to the defense of James Comey, a man they had condemned as being a profligate Trump puppet just two weeks prior to the firing. In fact, several prominent Democrats were angrily calling for Comey’s dismissal and for him to be brought to testify on Capitol Hill for pre-election shenanigans. Now the Democrats wish Comey was still FBI Director!

After Comey’s dismissal, the president and his senior national security aides met with a Russian delegation led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Smarting over the way the media was misrepresenting both Trump (and his election win as the product of a Russian dezinformatsiya operation), the president disinvited Western media sources from covering the event. Instead, the Trump Administration allowed for only Russian news services to cover the meeting with the Russians. While this was an understandable rebuke to the partisan legacy media, it was a mistake on the part of the Trump Administration. The image of Russian state-owned media having access to the White House, the president, and senior national security officials only played into the media narrative about Trump’s illicit Russian connections.

Without missing a beat, the mainstream press—the Washington Post, in this case—descended upon the story like a pack of rabid hyenas; desperately cackling and clawing over each other as they sought to get the first shreds of meat from Trump’s political carcass. The only problem was that Trump wasn’t dead politically. In fact, he was still running circles around the press, as evidenced by his phenomenal speech at Liberty University. But, not to worry! If the legacy media can’t dazzle John Q. Public with its brilliance, it will baffle the voters with its B.S.

Without missing a beat, the mainstream press—the Washington Post, in this case—descended upon the story like a pack of rabid hyenas; desperately cackling and clawing over each other as they sought to get the first shreds of meat from Trump’s political carcass. The only problem was that Trump wasn’t dead politically.

The Washington Post ran a story claiming that “several unnamed sources” heard the president sharing classified information with the Russian delegation. According to these reports, the president told the Russians about an ISIS threat to use laptops as weapons on international flights (which likely explains why the Trump Administration enacted bans on the usage of laptops in-flight on several overseas flights). It caused quite the uproar. Indeed, like so many fake news stories about the president, it was the number one trending topic on social media the day that the story broke.

The United States has several intelligence-sharing programs with a litany of other countries around the world. Many of the countries sharing intelligence with the United States do so secretly, not only to protect critical sources and methods, but also because their populations are largely anti-American. If it were discovered that these governments were sharing intelligence with the United States, there would be serious political ramifications, and the intelligence-sharing with U.S. intelligence agencies would be discontinued. This would be a hugely negative outcome for America’s national security.

In fact, according to these reports, the intelligence that the president shared with the Russians explicitly was forbidden to be shared with any group outside of U.S. intelligence by the country that initially generated the intelligence report. From the sounds of it, an unnamed foreign state has human sources embedded within ISIS, informing on key activities of the group. This information, then, is to be jealously guarded, out of fear that those human assets would be discovered by ISIS and killed, thereby removing a critical fountain of information. The media has reacted as though this were the greatest breach of U.S. secrecy since Robert Hanssen. And, to be fair, this would have been a severe breach of vital U.S. intelligence sources and methods.

If only it were true.

That’s right, ladies-and-gentlemen: the story that the Washington Post ran was Fake News (or, at the very least, grossly exaggerated). Yet, the meeting was attended by senior American national security officials. All of them categorically denied the validity of the story. What’s more, a diverse set of actors from within the Trump Administration—from H.R. McMaster to Dina Powell to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—have insisted publicly that the story is demonstrably false.

Who are we to believe, the Washington Post’s “unnamed sources” or the actual people at the meeting? Keep in mind that only a few people were at the meeting, so unless someone was eavesdropping from outside, the only people who were there, deny that such an exchange between the president and the Russians ever occurred! And they say we on the Right are conspiracy theorists?

Just use logic to disprove it. How many stories have flooded out from the press indicating that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is at odds with the president? That he is the only one to be trusted in the Administration? Or that Dina Powell is a covert Hillary supporter out to make the Trump Administration look more like a Democratic-Globalist endeavor and move it away from any appearance of a nationalist or a populist t uprising? Yet, the one thing they all agree on was that the leak of covert intelligence did not happen. Trust me, if this story had any truth to it, these purported “Never Trumpers” would not have challenged the veracity of the story.

Here’s McMaster’s emphatic statement on the matter (you can almost see him trying not to laugh at the stupidity of the media):

The Lawfare Blog is skeptical of McMaster’s claims. “Not all Top Secret information is created equal,” they say. The “carefully worded” statement made by McMaster implies that some classified information must have been discussed. That isn’t what McMaster said at all. But even if true, sharing classified information with foreign actors, even the Russians, is not without precedent, especially when it comes to terrorism.

Further, the U.S. president has broad authority to disclose classified information to whomever he wishes. And, there have been many times U.S. presidents have shared classified information with foreign actors for the sake of larger geopolitical interests. Remember, for most of the post-Cold War period, the United States and Russia actually did share intelligence on several issues, notably relating to terrorism!

Think about this: in the event that there is a U.S. ally with human assets embedded within ISIS, feeding us intelligence, it is likely that the Washington Post is the one who has jeopardized the lives of those assets with this fake news story.

Now, like many commentators, I am dubious of Russia’s intentions. They are not our friends, no matter how many Paleoconservatives may wish it to be so. Further, the Putin Regime in Russia has clearly made a strategic calculation that Russia’s biggest threat overseas is not terrorism, but rather the U.S. global hegemony. So, yes, if classified information was passed on to the Russians, we should be uncomfortable. But, no, it isn’t necessarily even controversial that certain intelligence information might have been shared. What’s more, as McMaster emphatically states, the proprietary intelligence potentially acquired by a friendly state was not shared with the Russians. Though the media itself seems to have no compunction about what its talk may do to this intelligence.

Think about this: in the event that there is a U.S. ally with human assets embedded within ISIS, feeding us intelligence, it is likely that the Washington Post is the one who has jeopardized the lives of those assets with this fake news story. Let’s hope that the entire story is fake. Something I’ve noticed about the media’s lies, however, is that they take a smidgen of truth and surround it by a thick wall of lies.

It might very well be true that the West has agents in ISIS. It is not true that Trump shared anything of that sort with the Russians. But, ISIS may now suspect that there are foreign agents in their midst and take steps to remove that threat. More damagingly, the unnamed foreign state sharing intelligence with the U.S. will be less inclined to do so in the future, out of fear of being betrayed. Even if there are no human assets deep undercover in ISIS, this story may pique ISIS’ paranoia, prompting ISIS elements under covert U.S. surveillance to suddenly change their routines, and thereby complicate Western attempts to track them.

Speaking about media lies earlier this year, I wrote that, “When Trump or his surrogates misspeak, they cause confusion. [The media is] there to correct them. But when the media gets it wrong, people’s lives are ruined.” I should have added, when the media lies, people can die.

I wish I could say with certainty that either McMaster was right or the media was right. But the  media has destroyed its credibility with constant misrepresentations and overtly partisan attacks too many times. The media has moved away from speaking truth to power. We are now in a bizarre position where we must either choose to accept the words of those in power or to accept the claims of those who wish they were in power.

The media has destroyed journalism and replaced it with Leftist partisan hackery. We are all now paying the price for this fact, by losing basic trust in once respected institutions.

About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a former Republican Congressional staffer and national security expert who now runs The Weichert Report, www.theweichertreport.com, an online journal of geopolitics. He holds Master's degree in Statecraft & National Security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an Associate Member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in Political Science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.
  • Sam McGowan

    Good article – One comment. No, the Russians are not our “friends” but neither are they our enemies. Look at the map. Russia is connected to the rest of Europe and to China by rail and highway. The United States is not connected to either. Russia has vast untapped resources, US resources are nearly tapped out. Yes, right now we have an abundance of oil but that’s only temporary. Russia has plenty of oil along with other resources that the US is running out of In the future, the US is going to need Russia. Russia will not need the US.

    PS – the media is now claiming the sensitive information came from Israel, who definitely need us!

  • “The Media” is not the media, it is a third political party with its’ own agenda – and it is an agenda hostile to the American people against which the people’s partisans ought to fight. I don’t understand why the White House won’t stop talking to them altogether.

    No where in the Constitution does this mythical “fourth estate” even exist as a branch of legal government. The President, the Congress, the Supreme Court – none of them are under any obligation whatsoever to talk to the media.

    It would be healthy for the country and the government if the our elected officials communicated with voters through townhall meetings or using the internet (direct) rather than through the party of shadowy interests that are the media.

    • Agree, for all the talk of ‘Russian collusion’ threatening our democracy, the (now obvious) nexus between corporate media and the Deep State is the real threat.

  • Some twit on CNN screamed of McMaster’s statement: “That’s his opinion!” Every day I am stunned, literally mentally dazed, by how on-air and on Twitter these elite-“educated” “professionals” sound like middle schoolers. It’s the same level of logic, same posturing and posing, same substitution of snark for argument, same playing to the crowd.

    The are actually creating a Constitutional crisis out of whole cloth by hysterically acting like everything Trump says and does is a Constitutional crisis. It’s as if the hecklers and the critics were the same people. At night they go to the show and heckle the performers, and then write up the story the next day, as critics, that the performance was so bad the audience couldn’t stop heckling.

    I was never a big Trump fan. I see him the way Charlie Martin does:

    Now, as I seem to keep needing to remind people, I’m not a Trump fan: his perpetual self-promotion annoys me, his habit of shifting positions in moments unsettles me, his skeevy business practices in the past make it hard for me to respect him, and his apparent willingness to say anything to get a deal done makes it hard for me to trust him.

    But I knew Hillary would be the final nail in the coffin, and I genuinely believed, and still do, Trump was rising to the occasion and taping into an authentic sub-current of yearning for renewal, for another “morning in America.” I now believe Trump came to late; the rot was too deep; the foundation too damaged.

    They won’t stop. They will win. Trump will somehow be forced out, and they will believe they victoriously and righteously took out Hitler before he could implement the Final Solution, projecting onto him every trait they themselves manifest, killing Truth with Darkness while believing they are the Light. They will actually do for Putin what he couldn’t do himself and smugly believe they kept the bear out of the hen house.

  • Whiskey Sam

    The irony is lost on the jackasses in the media that it is they who have leaked out that Israel had someone embedded in ISIS, not Trump. They are guilty of the very thing they accuse him of. We have endured weeks of hysteria based on anonymous (often easily proven false) rumors when Trump hasn’t actually done anything. It’s time for the GOP to grow some stones and come down hard on “the Resistance”…except the lickspittle Never Trumpers are more than happy to pile on because they’re too stupid to realize the Left will come for them next.

  • William Guessford

    The progressively liberal socialist best be very careful when trying to throw down a freely elected President. We sit silently watching….tens of millions of us.

  • vendome

    Great Video on Trump vs. Globalism

    Trump openly states the sins of the Globalists and the War he’s prepared to fight.

  • LCDR

    The most dangerous threat to American democracy is the so-called Fourth Estate. Because it is almost exclusively far left in its outlook, it has become incapable of performing its basic function of informing the American People about the actions of government. The Fourth Estate can no longer be trusted to be honest brokers, but must be seen for what they are, propagandists for the Democrat Party. A very sad state of affairs indeed.

  • swek

    the evil media which just wants to get the so-called president thrown in jail

    maybe they just love mike pence

  • Verican Masik

    Well said. The Post really screwed up on this story. It exposed our allies, potentially tipped off ISIS to a mole within, and tried to further damage our intel relationship with Russia…

    And for what? To get a shot at Trump… Some victory for them.

  • Bernie04

    This author is desperately grasping for straws.

  • Cosmosis

    Why would the russians, even if told specific details about the source of this intel, act to disrupt it? Its to their benefit to not have their own planes explode as one recently did. Russia had had more attacks on its soil by islamic fanatics than we have. The remember Beslan very well.

    • Dave781

      Russia SUPPORTS terrorists in the ME.

  • Good guy

    President Pence coming soon

  • Dixie_Pixie

    Is there any doubt the Washington Post and the New York Times has made the jump from Democrat propagandists to open political saboteurs. Now they have been given a major tool to overthrow the legitimately elected Trump Presidency with the appointment of a “Special Prosecutor”.
    This situation will not end well.

    • Dave781

      Overthrow the Trump presidency? Do you really think that is what this about?

      • Dixie_Pixie

        The Democrats have made it very clear from Hillary on down, that they consider the 2016 general Election stolen from them by nefarious means.
        Russians, Comey, whatever they are fantasizing this week.

        So the Democrats (having been done wrong) feel justified in running Donald Trump out of the Presidency by any means necessary. Its a “Coup” by other names.
        It worked once with Richard Nixon so it could work again with Donald Trump.

  • Dee

    So now that Trump himself has admitted he fired Comey at least in part because of his investigation into the Russian meddling:
    https://www.ft.com/content/faec2454-364e-11e7-bce4-9023f8c0fd2e

    will Brandon J. Weichert amend his position on this? Clearly not. After all, it’s only all the others who are partisan, “American Greatness” just report the objective truth.

  • petegross

    The MSM long ago lost any smidgeon of credibility. They should be ashamed of themselves. Fat chance of that.

  • Max Flasher

    The msm is worthless. I have a Vietnamese friend at work in Chicago who told me before the election that he often watched CNN and they always criticized Trump but never said anything bad about Hillary.

    I told him most of the media is leftist and they lie all the time because they want a leftist government which will mandate equal outcomes in all areas of life. To them, equal outcomes is social justice.

    I told him our media is as corrupt as the media in places like Vietnam, Russia and China. He already knew that though. He grew up in Vietnam so he knows what leftist propaganda looks like. He recently told me he no longer watches CNN.

  • Dave781

    I stopped reading when the author said that the msm wants to prove that Trump stole the election. That is what Trump wants us to believe.

    Also, does the author really favor Bernie Sanders? Probably not.