The most revealing aspect of the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s accusation that his predecessor spied on him has been the speed with which the mainstream media abandoned the accusations of “Russian hacking” as soon as Barack Obama was vulnerable.
As Andrew McCarthy of National Review observes, the denials Sunday by Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, suggest everything the mainstream media claimed about Russian influence was false:
For months, the media-Democrat complex has peddled a storyline that the Putin regime in Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election … Well, this weekend, the potentially explosive story [surveillance] detonated. It happened in the now familiar way: jaw-dropping tweets by President Trump. … Now that they’ve been called on it, the media and Democrats are gradually retreating from the investigation they’ve been touting for months as the glue for their conspiracy theory.
As Mark Levin noted in a similar vein on his show Monday evening, the former Obama administration officials who held their tongues for weeks when mainstream media outlets reported that the government had “wiretapped” Trump and/or his aides, and when the supposed evidence from that surveillance was leaked, have suddenly emerged to deny loudly that there was surveillance at all. Meanwhile, the same media outlets now dismiss their own reports as a right-wing conspiracy theory.
What does that prove? Nothing, pending further evidence. But since the two stories — Russian hacking and government surveillance — are now mutually exclusive, we have learned one thing about the media: they do not really believe their own nonsense about Trump being the next Adolf Hitler.
Given the choice between attacking Trump with the Russian hacking story on the one hand, and protecting Obama from the government surveillance story on the other, they have chosen the latter.
For the mainstream media, it is still more important to protect Obama than to destroy Trump. That is partly because many in the media presume, irrationally, that Trump will disappear anyway on his own — if not tomorrow, than in four years, at most.
But it is also because the mainstream media, like the broader left with which it empathizes, made a long-term investment in Obama. Without his legacy and legend, the Democratic Party will be pulled back to the center. And that — they cannot allow.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.