Speed Reads

High Nunes

The Atlantic's Julia Ioffe explains Fox News' great advantage with the Nunes memo

President Trump and his supporters, including at Fox News, have seized on the memo from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to argue that the entire federal investigation of the Trump campaign's cooperation with Russian election meddling and presidential obstruction of justice are part of some fake-news "witch hunt." Special Counsel Robert Mueller undoubtedly has more information than the media, especially on Trump's financial ties, The Atlantic's Julia Ioffe told CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday, but "there's a lot of there there that we already know."

The problem, Ioffe said, is that the details are really complicated and a little boring. With the Nunes memo, for example, "people feel like they're tuning in in the middle, and they've missed the first three episodes of the season," she said. "People aren't getting into the weeds of this — it's too much."

Explainers and fact-checks might help, Ioffe said, but "part of the problem is that the media sphere is so bifurcated, and on one side we have a very politically motivated media — Fox, Breitbart, InfoWars, etc. — that are pushing a dishonest narrative, frankly, that is politically motivated. And on the other side, we're trying to be, like, 'Well, we're not on any side, here are the details' — and I think people's eyes glaze over."

If Ioffe's description made your eyes glaze over, you can watch Donald Trump Jr. claim vindication from the Nunes memo on Fox News with a softball-lobbing Jesse Watters. "There is a little bit of sweet revenge in it for me and certainly, probably, the family," Trump said of the memo.

Everything Trump said above is wrong or at least highly contested, but at least it's easy to follow his narrative.