Virtually everyone in politics and media was stunned Sunday afternoon as the Department of Justice announced Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of Donald Trump or his campaign associates colluding or conspiring with Russian nationals.
Everyone, that is, except for alternative media like Breitbart News — which for years called out rumors and conspiracy theories, facing ridicule from establishment outlets for defying their provincial speculation dressed up as facts and analysis. As Mueller’s investigation wraps up, the “experts” were wrong — again — and if there is one “told you so” moment that sums up this entire media humiliation, it comes from one of the rare television appearances by Alex Marlow, Breitbart News’ Editor in Chief.
June 2017 on HBO’s Real Time, Marlow spoke with host Bill Maher, who tried to cajole him into agreeing with the conventional wisdom of the time: “you cannot claim to me that they did all this shit with the hacking and the emails and it didn’t tip the election.” Marlow shot back that “hard evidence” of collusion “does not exist” and pledged that he would return to show to “eat crow” if his assertion was proven false.
The Special Counsel’s findings killed any leftist viewers’ hopes for that particular public shaming. Last Friday evening, Maher appeared unfazed by early reports that Mueller would not file any more charges. “I don’t need the Mueller report to know he’s a traitor,” he quipped during his weekly broadcast. “I have a TV.”
In that wide-ranging 2017 interview, the pair discussed Breitbart News’ coverage, Russia, the establishment media, and free speech.
On the topic of Russia’s alleged interference in the last election, Marlow told Maher that Breitbart doesn’t cover the subject aggressively akin to the vast number of news outlets because there is no proof of collusion by the Trump campaign, but noted that the site does report important stories on the subject.
“We don’t cover it because every other outlet in the world, particularly the left-of-center outlets, which are the vast, vast, vast, number of news outlets, are obsessed with this story, covering it around the clock by nine months,” Marlow said.
“But not at all, Alex?” asked Maher.
“We cover it a little if something big — if there’s something that breaks that is a big, important story — but we don’t have any evidence of collusion. We don’t have any evidence of obstruction of justice, yet,” Marlow replied.
Seemingly unsatisfied with Marlow’s unwillingness to hype the “Russia Collusion” narrative, the HBO host pressed him on Russia’s hacking and subsequent release of emails from the Democrat National Committee. Marlow said that while he concurred Russia attempted to impact the election’s results, there was no proof the Trump campaign asked for or needed their help to defeat Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“There’s no doubt about it that Russia wanted to sow discord in the United States. They want us to lose faith in our institutions. But what’s happening with this story is we’re nine months in, no hard evidence of collusion,” he stated, before adding, “If you present evidence of collusion Bill, I’ll come back on your show and eat some crow.”
Marlow then chided the establishment media for choosing to cover the “Russia collusion” story, rather than President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda.
“You guys continue to talk about this story in the establishment press instead of talking about the president’s agenda, which is by design. Because you guys won’t apologize if it turns out there’s nothing, no one will come out on MSNBC, they’ll just move on to the next hysteria, and that’s a huge advantage for people like me who are covering the rest of the news,” he said.
Following the release of the Mueller report summary, various high-profile media figures have done just that — refuse to apologize for their insistent hyping of the collusion narrative and instead moved their goalposts. On Monday morning, the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt said the Mueller probe appears incomplete because President Trump was not exonerated of obstruction of justice, and raised questions about the special counsel’s decision not to interview the president in person. However, instead of an interview, Mueller accepted written answers submitted by President Trump through his legal team.
“I understand why legally that may not have happened and it’s hard to subpoena the President and there’s real difficulties in that,” Schmidt said of Mueller’s decision to complete the president for an in-person interview. “But if you’re the average person and you’re looking at this you’re saying, hold on a second. They looked all of the things about the guy’s intent and he didn’t have to answer any questions and they never subpoenaed him? That’s not a satisfying answer.”
In another case of goal-post moving, Mother Jones‘ David Corn told MSNBC host Ari Melber that the Mueller probe was ill-equipped to determine whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, saying the investigation was “not a good process for getting to the truth.”
Meanwhile, some media figures refuse to accept Mueller’s findings and are still spinning theories of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Sunday questioned why President Trump and his associates made false statements during the investigation, suggesting that Mueller may not have all the facts about collusion.
“I think one of the questions that will remain for quite some time is that if there was no collusion, and we can be convinced of that today, why did Donald Trump, and why did his administration and why did everybody close to him lie about contacts that they had with Russia throughout the course of the campaign? I guess the answer to that may just be pure, basic greed. He wanted to build a tower in Moscow,” he declared.