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Frenzy

Tired of the Trump-Russia stories yet? Well, they are only just beginning. Which is strange because much of the information coming out now could have come out a year ago, if anyone had bothered trying to dig. But the “liberal media” didn’t at the time and has only really started to get going.

If you’re tired of today’s press, you’re far from alone. The problem, however, isn’t bias but a severe case of “shiny object syndrome” where nothing is investigated unless it appears popular.

Long time ago.

The standard Republican line, repeated through the alt-right machine, is that “Deep State” and their media cronies have ganged up to defeat Trump. In their view, the Russia story is entirely fabricated and the resulting frenzy over it is proof enough that this has nothing to do with actual “journalism.”

Like any good lie, there is a kernel of truth inside of it. This isn’t journalism.

Details of Trump’s deep Russian ties did indeed come out a year ago, and were cataloged here. But none of it went anywhere. The story died sometime in August 2016 as when a new story, Trump as some kind of Hitler, took over. Russia? Old news. The storm passed.

Could the Russian Mafia be involved? It’d be more surprising if they weren’t.

More has come out recently, especially on word that Special Prosecutor Mueller is investigating some very old stories about money from the Bratva (“Brotherhood,” the Russian Mafia) keeping Trump’s empire afloat after 2002. These were detailed in a very thorough story by Craig Unger in The New Republic and are being echoed through the legacy media.

More interestingly, Exxon Mobil was just fined $2 million for illegal Russian contacts after a multi-year investigation. Secretary of State Tillerson was the CEO at the time of the violations.

There is, indeed, a press frenzy going on over Trump and Russia at this time. It’s impossible to deny it. But given that most of this evidence was present long before his election we have to wonder what took so long. Indeed, by the time Donald Trump, Jr met with Russians offering dirt on Clinton there was every reason for them to believe that they would find a receptive audience – far beyond the obvious.

Any defense based on ignorance should be ignored immediately. Where the is smoke, an orange glow, and heat there is definitely fire.

What makes you think he’s a bad boy?

The question is not whether or not Russia was helping Trump, although it is definitely true that this could have happened without any collusion on the part of the campaign. The question is not whether there has been an obstruction of justice, given that everyone involved has lied repeatedly. The question is not whether there is indeed some kind of special relationship with Paul Manafort, especially.

The only question is, “Where was the press through all of this?”

It’s hard to imagine something more obvious in retrospect. Then again, it was screamingly obvious at the time. Someone was keeping Trump afloat after every bank in the world blacklisted him and if anything the “success” of his empire only grew after that time. 2002 was a definite turning point for many reasons. It’s always been a matter of details – and how many of them are indictable.

Mostly, I wonder what they think. The dog especially.

Yet the press decided sometime after breaking the story that it wasn’t worth pursuing. It wasn’t sensational enough or something. It’s hard to say exactly what went wrong. Today, however, the stakes are much higher and somehow it seems a lot sexier.

This has to be how the Republic ends, if you ask me.

We know for a fact that Trump and his entire administration has very deep ties to the United States’ most hostile foreign power. There are those who deny this because … well, it’s hard to say exactly what fuels this delusion. Nothing could frankly be more obvious. But for all the noise on this issue today, it wasn’t that much less obvious a year ago.

We could have done something with the information then. Today, we can’t.

So the story has grown in importance. So the future of the entire nation has become wrapped up in how this proceeds. So it all goes on into a place we have never been before. But this could have been stopped.

It’s not a “liberal media” which is a problem, it’s a media which is unable to focus for one second past the immediate and visceral. Until we have some kind of leadership in this area we will remain doomed regardless of what happens to this thoroughly corrupt administration and its delusional followers.

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14 thoughts on “Frenzy

  1. Why don’t you talk about the Clinton’s ties to Russia? Massive sales of Uranium, for example.
    How about Bill Clinton allowing the North Koreans to obtain missile guidance systems?
    Just the tip of tier corrupt ice-berg

  2. Have you noticed that in most comments defending Trump in all media, it’s all about his personality? ‘In your face’, ‘irreverent’, ‘tells it like it is’, etc. It’s never about competence or leadership abilities. This says something about the ‘voters’ who are his accomplices. This is what happens when Television is elected to lead the U.S.A. Think American Gods. Everyone loves Television so they voted for it.

  3. The NYTimes’ last public editor, Liz Spayd, criticized her newsroom colleagues for timidity in pursuing the story before the election.

    This is a summary from the Columbia Journalism Review’s newsletter:

    ==Liz Spayd, the final public editor [of the New York Times] (and former editor and publisher of CJR), shared a story about Executive Editor Dean Baquet, who was particularly livid in response to a January column [/www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/public-editor/trump-russia-fbi-liz-spayd-public-editor.html?_r=0] in which she argued that the paper had been “timid” in its reporting on connections between Russia and Trump. “He was like out of control. But I got his attention, and hopefully he’ll think twice about what he knows about a serious investigation into a presidential candidate and not writing about it. You know? Like, what the fuck?”==

    More here:

    https://www.cjr.org/special_report/new-york-times-public-editor-oral-history.php?Daily

    There is a Watergate parallel here (one of many). Woodward and Bernstein did some (mostly) fine reporting. But traction against the president, and further media coverage, occurred only after official Washington, in the form of congressional committees, began taking evidence.

    Here, the special counsel’s office is doing the pursuing. Shades of Ken Starr.

  4. Good post, Erik. The problem with the press is an age-old one and not likely to be solved anytime soon. They are for-profit and go with the stories the public want to hear/read. A year ago, nobody was interested in that, didn’t even understand the significance, and the press went on to other things, like covering the bombastic persona of Trump ad nauseam. You know that old saying … “If it bleeds, it leads”.
    .

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