“Then one evening as the sun was setting behind the forest and the shadows were creeping out over the pasture, a Wolf really did spring from the underbrush and fall upon the Sheep.
In terror the Boy ran toward the village shouting ‘Wolf! Wolf!’ But though the Villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before. ‘He cannot fool us again,’ they said . . . Liars are not believed even when they speak the truth.”
—Aesop, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”
What would happen if the next president were indeed to subvert U.S. interests for the benefit of a paymaster located in a foreign capital? Would our press and intelligence community have any credibility sounding a very real alarm?
The question comes to mind as the Russia collusion hoax boosters have attempted to refresh the long-discredited smear against the current president. Pinocchio-resembling House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (who will never become a real boy if he keeps growing his nose like this) has now alleged that he has a new whistleblower who will say the Trump Administration politicized intelligence.
One can see an ironic smile play across Schiff’s mischievous thin lips as he gleefully brags about yet another secret source of information who will confirm that Trump is a Russian puppet directing the supposedly nonpolitical intelligence community to manipulate intelligence for the benefit of his reelection campaign.
Schiff has cried “wolf” so many times that I could fill an entire article cataloging his consistent misrepresentations of intelligence. He told us (untruthfully) that he did not know the identity of the bureaucrat who claimed whistleblower status because of hearsay accounts of policy disagreements over Ukraine. He told Americans for years that he had seen secret evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians. He mischaracterized or outright lied about the contents of transcripts from secret intelligence hearings.
The press has been even worse. We can recall Lawrence O’Donnell’s false reporting that Trump had Russian co-signers on his loans. My suspicion is that his “source” was fed “blue dye” misinformation to smoke out a leaker.
Remember when CNN tanked the stock market by falsely reporting that Wikileaks gave Donald Trump, Jr. advance notice of a document release? The “heads-up” email actually came after the dump from some random person. Trump-hating “special counsel number 2” contradicted New York Times reporting that the Trump Administration imposed limits on the Mueller probe. When the Times reported that the president directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie, the special counsel issued a rare public statement debunking that story.
There are countless more examples but these suffice to make the point, the press has lost its credibility when it comes to acting as a check on abuse of power.
This isn’t just annoying, it’s dangerous. Now the press and the intelligence community have cried, “wolf,” so many times that the only people who believe them are those who see a political opportunity.
Imagine, for example, if Donald Trump met with Chinese investors while on an official trip during which those same investors enriched the Trump family by investing $1 billion in his son’s new start-up investment fund. Imagine if that fund then used that money to close a U.S. plant in order to create new jobs and opportunities overseas at the expense of U.S. workers. Imagine if this were actually only one in a series of financial entanglements between the Trump family and Chinese Communist Party investors.
If these charges could be credibly made about the Trump family, the story would dominate every front page of every newspaper. But since these are all documented facts about the financial ties between the Biden family and the Chinese Communist Party, the stories are hard to find.
Biden’s politics align with those of the press and the intelligence community. So there will be no whistleblowers or screeching headlines condemning these acts. In the era of get-Trump, getting Trump is the only standard governing journalism and intelligence gathering.
Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent hit piece in The Atlantic is a perfect successor to Lawrence O’Donnell’s sham reporting. In that vein, I’m designating him the awardee of the Adam Mill “Goats in Journalism” award. Goldberg thinly supported his piece with motivated anonymous sources whom multiple eyewitnesses swiftly contradicted on the record. Goldberg has admitted since that the eyewitness accounts debunking his reporting are probably true but went on to say, “the public’s interest in meeting this information outweigh the ambiguities or the difficulties of anonymous sourcing,” and that he would continue to publish such sources.
What does Goldberg mean by “public interest”? It’s obvious. He means getting Trump is more important than reporting accurately. It’s depressing that journalists are actually saying things like that aloud now.
Biden is visibly cautious about challenging China. For example, in his recent Delaware speech, he pooh-poohed any possibility that China might interfere in the 2020 election. Rather than highlight these concerns, the politicized New York Times is advancing a new public-relations campaign to paint Biden as tough on China. The article is so dishonest that it fails to mention the Biden family’s financial arrangements with the Chinese Communist Party while reassuring Americans that Biden will “impose sanctions and commercial restrictions on Chinese officials responsible for repression” of human rights.
To be fair, the politicization of the press and intelligence community didn’t start in the get-Trump era—although it clearly accelerated during this period. Many still question our predicate for entering the Iraq war. In a deja vu all over again fashion, the casus belli of chemical weapons use in Syria has come under a cloud of doubt. Although the FBI has made some arrests in the midst of epidemic riots, it also seems to be auditioning to become a KGB-like domestic spying agency.
True to its roots, the FBI lies and deceives courts to spy on massive numbers of Americans per year without apparent legal justification. Have you noticed that the U.S. Marshall, not the FBI, leads the task force responsible for recent rescues of 72 missing and sex-trafficked children? It might sound like a QAnon conspiracy theory except that these are real children, some of whom were extracted from real sex-trafficking rings. Sorry children, the FBI is too busy holding weekly indoctrination sessions for the purpose of stamping-out any resistance to woke orthodoxy to bother with you.
When the FBI used law enforcement tools to interfere in the 2016 election, it permanently damaged public trust and confidence.
In other words, the press and the intelligence community have cried “wolf” so many times that they essentially have blinded our country to a potential real “wolf” if one emerges. So we’re left with this massive intelligence apparatus and a captured legacy news media with virtually no credibility on any issue with serious political impact.
Skepticism has hardened into cynical disbelief. They have racked up a staggering trust deficit that has only grown larger. According to a recent Gallup poll, 84 percent of Americans believe the media is to blame for the hyperpartisan atmosphere in this country. Fifty-four percent believe that reporters are “misrepresenting the facts,” while 28 percent believe reporters make up facts entirely.
The numbers likely would be higher except that a large number of Americans don’t care about media inaccuracies so long as they support their personal biases.
Ironically, these lies have only served to insulate President Trump from new gotcha stories that predictably emerge at critical junctures in the closing weeks of the election. If the press and the intelligence community simply had remained politically neutral or at least professionally objective, they could have preserved their credibility for a real scandal if one in fact emerges. But both the press and the intelligence community retain their critical roles even after so much documented abuse.
The lying shepherd boy continues to stand guard even though nobody believes him. Until the press and the intelligence community stop spinning lies, we are left with unguarded sheep at the mercy of real wolves.