Last Friday, the political world exploded when The New York Times revealed the FBI had launched a counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
Many Americans reacted with shock at the notion that the nation’s premier law enforcement agency was investigating the president, but to many people on the left it was no surprise. I posted on Facebook, “What took you?”
This news hasn’t exactly been a secret. I have written several articles on Medium expressing this same point. I made a post on Facebook in January 2017 saying Trump’s election would cause many intelligence officers to quit because the information they were gathering wouldn't be safe anymore. Turns out this was right, the CIA warned the Israelis not to share information with the White House if Trump won, because they feared he had been compromised.
Many Americans reacted with shock at the notion that the nation’s premier law enforcement agency was investigating the president, but to many people on the left, it was no surprise. I posted on Facebook, “What took you?”
This also turned out to be an accurate prediction. In May 2017, Trump held a White House meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, where he told them he had fired FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation. During the same meeting, in which American journalists were excluded but a Russian reporter was allowed into the Oval Office, he also shared that Israel had a mole in ISIS. After that information was revealed, the mole went silent.
But two years before this, during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, there was plenty of news about Trump’s suspicious ties to the Russians.
- Former NSA officer Malcolm Nance wrote two books warning about the dangers of Trump ascending to the White House. (I’ve read both.) He also made frequent appearances on liberal shows such as “The Stephanie Miller Show,” Ian Master’s “Background Briefing” and the Randi Rhodes show. He was also a regular on MSNBC.
- Rachel Maddow has done in-depth reporting about Trump-Russia over the last few years. It got to the point where some critics on the right compared her conspiracy talk to Alex Jones.
- Several news outlets also reported on Trump’s shady real estate deals with Russians. This includes his sale of a Palm Beach estate to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Trump bought the property for $40M and sold it for $95M, making a record profit. (Trump has been accused of money laundering.)
Media critic Eric Boehlert blames the mainstream media for being overly cautious reporting about Trump-Russia. Even legendary journalist Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein both doubted the accusations at first. Now, Bernstein says it’s a bigger scandal than Watergate. It took The New York Times, two years to finally get around to reporting on the Russia investigation.
“The New York Times reported on October 31, 2016, that FBI officials had not been able to uncover any evidence that Russian operatives, through allegedly hacking Democratic emails, were trying to help elect Donald Trump. ‘Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia,’ read the October 31 Times headline which relied on unnamed ‘law enforcement officials,’” said Boehlert in a Media Matters article. Boehlert also pointed out that both the media and the FBI were more interested in looking into Hillary Clinton’s emails, than investigating Trump’s deep ties to Russia.
In an interview on “The Stephanie Miller Show,” he also said the media has been browbeaten by conservatives into believing they have a liberal bias. So they’ve bent over backward to avoid any appearances of favoring the left. Now, the mainstream media is effectively pro-conservative. The media didn’t report on Trump’s treachery because they wanted to avoid getting hit with the “liberal media” smear. Unfortunately, by doing this, they failed to hold Trump accountable.
The media also gave Trump billions of dollars in free advertising by covering all of his rallies and treating him like a star, not a political candidate. As former CBS chief Les Moonves said, Trump might be bad for America, but he’s great for ratings.
Boehlert also pointed out that when former President Bill Clinton was going through his scandal with Monica Lewinsky, several papers called for his resignation. Not one paper has called for Trump to step down yet.
Even today, there are still many media outlets who have been dismissive of Trump’s ties to Russia. And they’re not all far-right sources, such as FOX News and Breitbart. Glenn Greenwald, founder of The Intercept, has downplayed Putin’s influence over Trump and the 2016 elections.
“MSNBC, the country’s most prominent liberal media outlet, has played a key role in stoking the frenzy over Trump’s alleged involvement with Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential race — in lock step with the Democratic Party’s most avid partisans,” said Intercept writer Aaron Mate.
But as Boehlert said in a Twitter post, the liberal media was right all along, and so was Hillary Clinton who repeatedly warned the American public that Trump was “Putin’s puppet.”
“When liberals yelled and screamed that Iraq War would be monumental fiasco, Beltway scoffed. when (most) liberals yelled and screamed that Trump was a traitor, Beltway scoffed. lesson — listen to liberals,” said Boehlert in a tweet.
Truth does indeed have a liberal bias.