For well over a year now, as far as I know, the "news" from the New York Times et al. has basically been about only one thing, namely Russia!Trump/Russia!Russia/Trump!Collusion!Russia/Tampering!Mueller!Indictments! etc, etc., etc. How many articles have you seen over the past year on that subject? Five thousand? Over and over, the Times has seized on the teensiest new leak to justify yet another big front page spread on this issue.
Then the Justice Department Inspector General's Report on the Hillary Clinton investigation came out on Thursday June 14, filled with damning information on FBI corruption and bias. On Friday morning, Mrs. MC -- who has a news feed overweighted (in my opinion) with progressive sources like CNN and the Washington Post -- says to me "I think it's wrong that the Trump administration is taking children away from their parents at the border." My reaction was, why is that a big story all of a sudden? Has anything about that actually changed in the last few days? Wasn't the Obama administration doing essentially the same thing, although maybe on a lesser scale?
And then, as the weekend came along, suddenly the one and only thing that the news was about had completely changed. Now it had become about Trump "snatching" children from their parents at the border. On Monday and Tuesday, the Congress held hearings on the IG Report, with IG Michael Horowitz testifying. IG Report? What IG Report?
Yesterday, I thought I would take a little tour through the Pravda print edition to see how the editors' view of what was important in the news may have shifted. Here it is:
- Front page, upper right column (lead position for a news article in the paper): "Trump Resisting Growing Wrath for Separations."
- Front page, lower right: "How Anti-Immigration Passion Was Inflamed From The Fringe." Yes, only the "fringe" could possibly be in favor of enforcement of existing immigration laws.
- Pages A14 and A15: two full pages devoted entirely to the issue of separating children and parents at the border, including (in addition to continuations of the two front-page articles) "Attacking Immigrants, Trump Keeps His Base Fired Up for Midterms," and "A Dicey Psychological Outlook for Migrant Children in Detention."
- Then two editorial pages (A22 and A23), almost entirely taken over by the same issue. Only one unsigned editorial, occupying the full space allotted: "Snatching Kids From Immigrant Parents." Four op-eds (out of five) -- including Paul Krugman ("The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures . . . ."), Michelle Goldberg ("Over the last few days, stories of bureaucratic sadism have poured forth from America’s southern border. The Associated Press described a Texas warehouse where “hundreds of children wait in a series of cages” with up to 20 people inside. . . ."), and Bob Vader Plaats ("Many Americans are in tears reading stories of children being ripped from their parents’ arms at the United States-Mexican border. . . ."); and five letters to the editor (out of seven), all on the same issue.
And the IG Report, and Horowitz's testimony? Can we find that in here somewhere? Ah, yes, there is one modest-size piece on page A16, about one-quarter of the page, since updated and revised online under the headline "Senators Remain Split as They Question Justice Dept. Watchdog on F.B.I. Report." You get the gist -- it's just partisans trying to spin an ambiguous report with nothing much important in it. Nothing to see here!
And, was it just Pravda? Check out this graph from Media Matters of television minutes devoted at the cable news networks yesterday between 6 AM and 1 PM to the respective stories of border child separation and the IG Report:
At CNN and MSNBC, the story of the IG Report and of Horowitz's testimony has just been made to completely disappear from the news. No surprise that, at Fox, they gave the IG story more coverage than the border thing, although the large majority of the 2 hours and 36 minutes was simply live coverage of the hearing itself. For more on the seemingly incredible explosion of media coverage of the border separation story, focusing on the major networks, check out this report from the Media Research Center.
And then there's this account of the Congressional hearing from CBS News. Essentially, the Democrats at the hearing refused to talk about the IG Report, and instead demanded that the long-scheduled hearing be repurposed on the spot to discuss only the immigration issue.
Never in my life have I seen a more desperate and concerted effort to change the subject. Did they all get together at some meeting over the weekend and decide the official line and talking points for the coming week? All I can say is that the IG Report must have really struck a nerve.
As well it should have. Put aside that the IG declined to make an explicit finding that bias of FBI personnel affected their investigatory decisions. (The actual weasel words are: "found no documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific Midyear investigative decisions.") I guess that means that none of the FBI guys directly admitted that, yes, they were specifically intending to help Hillary win and keep Trump from becoming President. In the real world, intent is never proved that way, but always by circumstantial evidence. In any trial I've ever been involved in, evidence like texts saying (as to a Trump presidency) "We'll stop it," or "Viva le resistance," would be far more evidence than you would need to prove wrongful intent. Somehow, I think that normal Americans are smart enough to figure this out.