No collusion: Should the media apologize?
“America’s blue-chip journalists” bet their reputations on Robert Mueller uncovering a “21st-century Watergate,” said Sean Davis in The Wall Street Journal. Instead, by clearing President Trump of colluding with Russia, the special counsel exposed one of the most “catastrophic” media failures in generations. “Everyone wanted a share of the Trump-treason beat,” desperately chasing a smoking gun that never materialized. “No unverified rumor was too salacious” to publish, fueling liberals’ belief that Trump would inevitably be outed as a Russian asset. Now that we know that the media was wrong, said Eli Lake in Bloomberg.com, it’s time for “a reckoning.”
“I reckon that American citizens would be far worse off” had skilled reporters not dug into this very real scandal, said Margaret Sullivan in The Washington Post. Reporters helped expose Trump’s flagrant lie that he had stopped seeking to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 campaign, as well as numerous lies about dozens of still-unexplained contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians. “Charges of collusion didn’t arise in a vacuum,” said Jack Schafer in Politico.com, and just because Mueller “concluded that the president didn’t commit a crime doesn’t mean nothing was going on.” Mueller, along with every U.S. intelligence agency, found that Russia aggressively interfered with the election on Trump’s behalf—a charge Trump has denied. Why was Trump so eager to halt the investigation that he fired FBI Director James Comey and spent two years attacking Mueller and his investigators? And “what are the chances Trump and his surrogates” take a break from spiking the football to apologize for relentlessly calling Mueller’s team “Deep State warriors” and “witch-hunters”?
Trump’s outbursts have a simple explanation, said Jason Beale in TheFederalist.com. He knew he was “an innocent man,” even as critics accused him of treason. But don’t expect an apology from the news outlets that breathlessly predicted that Mueller would deliver a bombshell that would prove Trump’s complicity and lead to his impeachment. Nor will they engage in internal scrutiny about why they were so wrong. So the reckoning will have to come from the public, whose already dim view of the media will turn to lasting, fundamental distrust. “Never has so little come of so many screaming chyrons,” said Rich Lowry in NationalReview.com. “The last two years have been a disgrace, and no one should forget it.”