- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 20, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Taking down President Donald Trump has become an art of late — a national past-time, like going to a baseball game, or barbecuing on the Fourth of July.

And watching this despicable trend of Democratic-fueled accusation, followed by media-expressed outrage, followed by leftist expression of shock, gives rise to one very apt image: that of sharks circling prey.

It’s a 24-hour news cycle with a 24-hour aim to get rid of Trump.

This is not how U.S. politics ought to be run. Yet this is America, campaign 2016 and White House 2017. Think hard, question everything. The vicious political atmosphere of late is not happenstance.

The Democrats are to blame. The mainstream media is a complicit close second for fault. And third? That’d be the gutless and elitists in the Republican Party, masquerading as true representatives of the people, who didn’t want Trump in office in the first place and are now only too glad to quietly sneer, “told you so,” while pretending allegiance to conservative principles.

How else to explain Sen. John McCain’s recent glory stroke, declaring Trump’s ongoing political battles as akin to Watergate?

The war to take down Trump has been incessant.

Go back to 2016, when the New York Times in early December blared forth this headline, “Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says.” What the New York Times knows is that readers will more often than not take the headline as fact, forgetting the part about “U.S. Says” — meaning, it’s alleged — and very likely, not bother to ask themselves, “Hey, wait a minute, who in the U.S. actually says this?”

Moreover, the headline doesn’t say “someone” in the U.S. says — it says “U.S. Says,” as if the whole Russian-swayed-the-election thing was settled science in the minds of the official U.S. government. 

Read through the story for more holes.

“American intelligence agencies have concluded with ‘high confidence’ that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials,” the story reads.

Who are these senior administration officials cited in the story? We don’t know. And we don’t know who the “senior administration official” was who said, farther down in the piece, that intelligence agencies “now have high confidence that [Russians] hacked the DNC and the RNC, and conspicuously released no documents [from the RNC],” the New York Times piece went on.

In other words: The piece was more innuendo than fact. It didn’t prove the headline’s premise — that Russian hackers, according to publicly available documents, did indeed try to help Trump win the election. And it certainly didn’t prove that Trump had anything to do with helping Russians influence the election. Yet, that’s the impression the reader’s left with, and that’s the mantra that emerged in the weeks to follow.

Just a few short days later, Barack Obama raised the specter of a national Russian election-interferring ghost, telling an NPR listening audience: “I think there is no doubt when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

The proper question to insert here should have been: Yeah? What about your own administration’s dealings during Israel’s election, Mr. Obama? The State Department in July 2016 sent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer grant dollars to a group in Israel with a mission to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from his prime minister spot. But the press didn’t ask, didn’t raise the point of hypocrisy.

Instead, the mainstream media cheered as Obama on Dec. 29 imposed sanctions on Russia, supposedly as punishment for election interference. Democrats scurried to link Trump to Vladimir Putin as best friends — or, at the least, long-time business partners with shady political intents. The proof of these charges?

Right. About that.

“I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” said Democrat Rep. John Lewis, in mid-January on NBC. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

The talking point wafted through the Democratic Party, and onto news television screens around the nation. Belief is a powerful bullet, it seems.

The continued swell of allegations put Trump on the defense, and he took to Twitter to swat back the leftist attacks.

In February, he wrote: “The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story — RUSSIA. Fake News!”

A week later, he tweeted again: “Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!”

The tweets gave the media more ammunition to report; the left, more opportunity to respond and make their case of an illegitimate President Trump.

Enter a 35-page dossier from a former British intelligence agent that was filled with unverified and explosive claims about Trump, including one that said Russia had evidence of his graphic sexual dalliances.

It’s all untrue. But the damage was done. The media met its anti-Trump headline quota for the day, working hand-in-hand with Democrats of questionable moral and even mental capacity.

“We already know that the part about the coverage that they have on [Trump] with sex actions is supposed to be true,” said Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters, in a March interview on MSNBC about the dossier. “They have said that that’s absolutely true.”

Well, it wasn’t. But what’s a lie here or there when the stakes are so high — when there’s a Republican president to depose?

Meanwhile, then-FBI director James Comey disclosed his bureau was investigating the possibility of coordination between Trump teamsters and Russians in the lead-up to the election — something Democrats seized to continue their fiery rhetoric.

“I think this [Russian election] attack that we’ve experienced is a form of war, a form of war on our fundamental democratic principles,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat, during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the matter in March.

War?

All this rhetoric put Trump on the defense, and he took to Twitter on March 20 to once again write: “James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!”

And another one, minutes later, from Trump: “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”

Of course, the very fact that Trump responded again became news — became the crack hit of the day for a media constantly scouring for fresh ways to present old allegations in new seedy light. The wheel turns once again; the sharks circle closer.

And once again, let’s remember: There is no evidence Trump worked with Russians to beat Clinton in the election. But to paraphrase a famous Democratic politico, in an out-of-context way: What difference, at this point, does the truth make?

From the Washington Post, an April 26 story: Sizable minorities of Americans think that President Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians to help him win the 2016 election.”

Perception is reality, as they say. Score a big one for the Democrats — a major take-over of political and media narratives that paint Trump in poor light, as the illegitimate occupier of the White House, like Lewis said. It’s amazing how long a run this whole Russians-skewed-the-election line has had in the press.

But make way for a new hit job. The firing of Comey, the subsequent story line of Comey memos — that the former FBI chief has penned proof that Trump told him to back off investigations of former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — has all the makings of a months-long media-slash-Democrat attack.

Just think, already being pushed to the side is the fact that a) Comey hasn’t produced his memos for public viewing and b) a memo is hardly fact-based.

Just because Comey wrote a memo doesn’t mean the memo he wrote is true. The White House has already disputed Comey’s description of the contents of this memo — giving the media fresh meat to report more seedy allegations, of course.

But here’s the question America should be asking, as all this shark-feeding frenzy against the White House goes on: If you were to write a note about a conversation you had with someone, does that note then become a be-all and end-all of what was discussed?

How about if a police officer wrote a memo about a conversation with a suspect, and then presented that memo in court as proof positive of the suspect’s guilt? Does that sound sensible? Fair?

Yet that’s what the media, the Democrats and Comey himself are trying to suggest about this memo — that his own written word is above reproach or questioning. And interestingly enough, they’re doing so without even producing a hard copy of the memo for public view.

Take care, America, in this 24-hour news cycle, in this fiery anti-Trump atmosphere. There may be more reporting going on. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more truth being provided.

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