The mainstream media spent the past two years alleging the President of the United States is a Russian sock puppet, a Manchurian candidate, and a traitor. They have accused Donald Trump of treason, called for his impeachment, and worked tirelessly to dispel the notion that he was entitled to any semblance of due process — and all of this based on accusations so obscenely ridiculous that one would think they came straight from a movie script. Maybe that’s why so many Hollywood celebrities bought into it.
Here’s what we know at the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation:
1.) Donald Trump did not collude with Russia.
2.) Donald Trump’s campaign associates did not collude with Russia.
3.) Russiagate debuted as a media phenomenon after an opposition research file paid for by the Democratic National Committee was leaked and disseminated. This “Steele Dossier” was later discovered to be false — not “uncorroborated” as some in the media continue to suggest.
News organizations devoted over 500,000 articles over the past two years to a narrative that we now know was fake news. Arguably, the most influential peddler of this conspiracy theory was MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow — hence her claim to the top seed in the Mueller Madness bracket. Maddow’s ratings soared when she began making ridiculous claims such as the FBI is clearing out top officials due to Russian influence, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was handpicked by Putin, President Trump may order troops to come home due to blackmail from Russia, and countless others.
As the Washington Post noted:
In March of 2017, for example, she commented, “If the worst is true, if the presidency is effectively a Russian op, right, if the American presidency right now is the product of collusion between the Russian intelligence services and an American campaign — I mean, that is so profoundly big. We not only need to stay focused on figuring it out, we need to start preparing for what the consequences are going to be if it proves to be true. We need to start thinking about how we’re going to deal with the worst revelations if they do come to light, if they are proved true.”
During one six-week period in 2017, the Intercept news site found that 53 percent of Maddow’s broadcasts focused on Russia, dwarfing discussion of any other issue.
More generally, the Mueller probe has been a major focus for MSNBC, helping it solidify its position ahead of CNN but behind Fox as the second-ranked cable-news network. According to the website FiveThirtyEight, MSNBC devoted more than 40 percent more time to the Mueller probe than CNN during 2018 and more than twice as much time as Fox.
So did two years of promulgating the debunked narrative that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians weigh heavily on Maddow’s conscience?
Judging from Maddow’s show yesterday…not at all.
Maddow spent her entire March 25th episode to comparing “Russiagate” to “Watergate,” wildly speculating on the intentions of Mueller and Attorney General William Barr in arriving at their conclusions, and desperately clinging to the idea that perhaps underlying evidence still exists that Trump did in fact collude with Russia or obstructed justice (by concealing a crime that we now know he did not commit).
Rachel Maddow and MSNBC’s perpetuation of the Russian collusion story even after it was disproven amounts to peddling conspiracy theories. We should call it out as such.
The liberal media is always eager to besmirch the reputations of conservative reporters, commentators, or anchors with the “conspiracy theorist” label but now must face the plank in their own eye as their single biggest cable news star has issued countless, ludicrous proclamations that our President was controlled by the Russian government.
Russiagate was neo-McCarthyism, a witch hunt, and possibly, for some, a deliberate hoax. Russiagate sucked a tremendous amount of oxygen out of our political environment over the past two years and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources. That investigation is now over, and the collusion did not exist. But one question still remains: Will the media now let this ridiculous story go, or will they continue to profit off the desecration of journalism by airing conspiracy theorists such as Rachel Maddow?
Photo credit: JD Lasica via Flickr, CC BY 2.0