Author and journalist Lee Smith argues at The Federalist that the mainstream media are losing interest in the theory that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government because the media’s own role in creating it has been exposed.
In his essay, “The Media Stopped Reporting The Russia Collusion Story Because They Helped Create It,” Smith notes that the same journalists who raised the alarm over Trump’s supposed “bromance” with Russian President Vladimir Putin were largely silent when President Barack Obama appeased Russia for most of his administration.
He names Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic and Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post, among others, as being part of an “echo chamber” that suggested Trump would be a tool for the Russian regime.
“This brings us to the fundamental question: Is it possible that these top national security and foreign policy journalists were focused on something else during Obama’s two terms in office, something that had nothing to do with foreign policy or national security?” Smith writes.
“It seems we must even entertain the possibility they slept for eight years because nearly everything that frightened them about the prospects of a Trump presidency had already transpired under Obama.”
In fact, Smith writes, those writing hysterically about Trump and Russia had “enlisted their bylines in a political campaign on behalf of the Democratic candidate for president and rehearsed the talking points [Christopher] Steele later documented.”
In a sense, these stories weren’t actually meant to be read. They existed for the purpose of validating the ensuing social media messaging. The stories were written around the headlines, which were written for Twitter: “Putin’s Puppet”; “It’s Official: Hillary Clinton is Running Against Vladimir Putin”; “Trump and Putin: A Love Story”; “The Kremlin’s Candidate.” The stories were vessels built only to launch thousands of 140-character salvos to then sink into the memory hole.
Since everyone took Clinton’s victory for granted, journalists assumed extravagant claims alleging an American presidential candidate’s illicit ties to an adversarial power would fade just as the fireworks punctuating Hillary’s acceptance speech would vanish in the cool November evening. And the sooner the stories were forgotten the better, since they frankly sounded kooky, conspiratorial, as if the heirs to the Algonquin round table sported tin-foil hats while tossing back martinis and trading saucy limericks.
Read Smith’s full essay here.