During his fierce news conference last Wednesday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted the accomplices who publicly validated Jussie Smollett’s bogus claim that he was attacked last month by two white Trump supporters.
“To make things worse, the accusations within this phony attack received national attention for weeks,” said the chief. “Celebrities, news commentators, and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor.”
Chicago media won plaudits for their coverage of the hoax: Local reporters, gifted with finely tuned bullshit detectors from covering the cutthroat world of Chicago politics each day, remained skeptical as the story unfolded, refusing to be suckered like their counterparts in the national media were.
Johnson’s condemnations—combined with the fact that Chicago reporters were applauded for the mere fact of doing their jobs correctly—starkly illustrate the cultural and political crisis now engulfing the country: The legacy media’s instant legitimization of scoundrels, insofar as the sympathetic subject plays the foil to Donald Trump.
Every huckster, hoaxster, swindler, cheater, publicity hound, and flat-out liar immediately earns rock-star status as long as the charlatan offers the confirmation bias that Trump haters need in order to prove their twisted and unsubstantiated conclusions about the president.
Victim of a nonexistent hate crime? Corrupt law enforcement official? Sniveling congressman with laughable tales about the Ruskies?
Just step right up to the CNN microphone and the media—both traditional and social—will swoon. No serious questions will be asked; no claim will be deemed too far fetched.
After all—This is MAGA Country.
Credulous Talking Heads
The president, the story goes, is a racist, sexist, homophobic anti-Semite who colluded with Vladimir Putin to steal the election from Hillary Clinton and continues to do Putin’s bidding from the Oval Office while violating every constitutional boundary as he slowly loses his mind, threatening the very future of the republic. Anyone who works to bolster that profile is praised; the chance to drag Trump’s ignorant hayseed supporters at the same time is a bonus.
Last week, the American public was subjected to yet another media-crowning of a Trump-hating hero. Andrew McCabe, former interim director of the FBI, earned primo air time to explain to the country why he thought it was his patriotic duty to investigate the president as a possible traitor and a criminal.
Actions that once would have been considered unconstitutional machinations of a paranoid, power-hungry conspiracy theorist now are accepted by our media betters as not just necessary, but courageous. Peddling flimsy evidence and, occasionally, an outright lie, McCabe told bobble-headed interviewers that Donald Trump could be a stooge for Vladimir Putin.
McCabe, who was fired for lying to federal officials and who remains under criminal investigation, accused the president of obstructing justice for lawfully and justifiably firing McCabe’s old boss, James Comey. He casually riffed about plans to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump and even refused to rule out a suggestion that Putin instructed Trump to fire Comey.
The president picked on him and his wife. The Justice Department’s inspector general was unfair when he concluded McCabe intentionally misled federal authorities. He heard no objections from congressional leaders when he allegedly told them the sitting president of the United States was a perp. Someone, somewhere, told McCabe that the president said during one briefing that he believed Putin over U.S. intelligence officials.
And the whole thing made him super stressed out.
Those were just a few of the tidbits McCabe offered up to his publicity-flacks-disguised-as-journalists on his recent book blitz. But instead of laughing in his face or saying, “Dude, have you lost your freaking mind?” they all nodded in agreement.
They commended him. They commiserated. They asked softball questions and put words in his mouth to make it all sound less insane.
“60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley insisted that neither McCabe nor Comey wrote those memos to frame the president but, rather, they wrote them because that’s what “FBI agents are trained to do, write memos to the file after they speak to witnesses.” Pelley practically winked as he said it.
CNN contributor Susan Hennessey defended McCabe’s FBI. “They were panicked!” she howled. “They had never seen anything like this really in the history of the United States and so it goes to how overwhelmed they were in that moment.” Hennessey’s CNN colleague, Jeffrey Toobin, concurred. He explained how McCabe’s maneuvers were “patriotic” and humbly executed by impartial bureaucrats whose only concern was protecting the country from a Russian agent parading as as a U.S. president.
“I listen to [McCabe] and think about the weight he must have been carrying,” sympathized MSNBC analyst Matt Miller. “He was left standing in the breach, when the president had just assaulted the Justice Department and the FBI by firing its director.”
Many Smolletts of Russian “Collusion”
McCabe isn’t the only discredited Trump-hater enjoying sycophantic news coverage. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is the Jussie Smollett of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, desperately clinging to a stunt he helped create—one that most reasonable people now recognize to be manufactured garbage. Unfortunately, reasonable people do not populate the newsrooms of elite media organizations or Twitter, so lots of journo-chumps are still hanging on Schiff’s every word.
And even though the public is now fairly warned that both the Senate Intelligence Committee and Special Counsel Robert Mueller will come up empty-handed, the media continue to stoke Schiff’s fantasies, inviting him further to mislead the public about Trump-Russia collusion.
The Washington Post published a seriously deluded “open letter” authored by the Southern California congressman in which he not only warns about the president’s imaginary crimes but talks about his imaginary friends.
“Many of you [Republican colleagues] have acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations,” Schiff wrote. “You have bemoaned his lack of decency, character and integrity. You have deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth. But for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you have chosen to keep your misgivings and your rising alarm private.”
On HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the host asked Schiff about his Republican beach friends who secretly share his night terrors about Trump. “We do socialize, and certainly they express their deep fears, misgivings about this president,” Schiff claimed.
This week, Schiff will be joined by another shyster, Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, on Capitol Hill. Cohen is scheduled to testify in private before Schiff’s committee on Thursday; Schiff rambled off a list of Trump’s alleged crimes that Cohen might confirm, including kickbacks, collusion, money-laundering, and obstruction of justice. “We think [Cohen] has a lot to offer,” Schiff told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. Schiff then mused about indictments and impeachment.
From faux Native elders to creepy porn lawyers to phony sexual assault victims to unstable book authors, the American news media continue to normalize bad behavior and elevate dubious characters to a place of reverence simply because they hate Donald Trump. There’s a never ending supply of wolves and the media appears to never run low of sheep’s clothing for them. It’s hard to figure out who is worse: the scoundrels or the scoundrels’ enablers.
Photo Credit: Getty Images