Way back in the good old days of last Thursday, mainstream media was getting a little bored by the presidential election. After months of writing “Oh my God did he just say that?” about every insane thing that belched out of Donald Trump’s bigoted mouth, the election cycle as a whole seemed to be winding down to an inevitable Hillary Clinton landslide, and all of the major media outlets (other than Fox, of course) had started talking about how Trump’s downturn in the polls could adversely effect GOP elections down ballot.
Well! FBI Director James Comey on Friday sent a letter to select congressional leaders informing them that the FBI just discovered more Clinton-related emails on the laptop of top Clinton advisor Huma Abedin, which somehow wound up in the possession of Abedin’s estranged husband, the aptly-named Anthony Weiner. Law enforcement is investigating potential electronic evidence of Weiner sending pictures of his weiner to a 15-year-old kid. Comey’s announcement of the new Clinton email non-troversy did not relate to Weiner’s dick pics, but instead to emails that were on Ms. Abedin’s email account.
These emails are . . .
Comey doesn’t know because he doesn’t have any information. He just knows there are more emails. They might be from Hillary. They might not. They might be to Hillary. They might not. They may be completely duplicative of the bazillion emails the FBI already reviewed before concluding that Clinton had been careless with classified emails but had done nothing for which she could be prosecuted. There may be new stuff.
The FBI hasn’t looked at the emails, so Comey had no reason to believe, or not believe, that the emails are in any way relevant to the FBI’s closed investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
The media in the four days since Comey’s announcement has gone apeshit, with talking heads on TV 24 hours a day engaging in breathless speculation about what might be on Weiner’s laptop, other than dick pics. Trump, who is a pathological liar, says the new non-evidence is a bigger scandal than Watergate. The Washington Post gave that one Four Pinocchios. Clinton’s camp is outraged at the apparent deliberate meddling in the election by the FBI director and is demanding that Comey instantly come clean with all information the FBI possesses about the emails. Harry Reid says Comey has violated the Hatch Act, a federal law prohibiting federal officers from using their position to influence an election. Former Attorney General Eric Holder says that Comey’s disclosure coming 11 days before the presidential election violates clear Justice Department guidelines and policies, which generally prohibit talking about investigations before they are complete and timing investigation disclosures in such a way that they could influence an election. Most commentators regardless of their position on the political spectrum agree that Comey’s disclosure was a mistake.
No one, not the media, not Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, not even James Comey has a clue what evidence there is on the Weiner/Abedin laptop.
Undeterred by the fact vacuum, the media keeps hammering, and hammering, and hammering, because guess what? That’s what drives TV ratings and Internet ad clicks.
We at Blue Southerner are dismayed by the media’s performance during this election cycle. Responsible national political journalism has vanished from the electoral landscape. The national news organizations, along with the hate-filled alt-right conspiracy theory sites, are largely responsible for the unprecedented major-party presidential nomination of a crooked businessman and demagogue, not to mention a would-be dictator. If he is nothing else, Donald Trump makes for great television and knows how to attract an audience. It is only of passing interest to the media that Trump is racist and misogynist. It is clearly of no interest to the media that the man lacks the knowledge or temperament to hold high elected office.
The national media has forgotten that electing a leader of the free world should not be based on who is the best carnival barker. The line between journalism and entertainment has completely disappeared. At least 39 percent of this nation’s voters plan to vote for a man without the first qualification for high office of any kind, much less the highest office in the land, and the media is largely to blame for that, because the quest for ratings and ad revenue has eclipsed any sense that these U.S. American elections are important. There is no idea left in journalism that knowledge is power, and with power comes responsibility. Instead, the media just does what has done for the past four days, which is to provide endless coverage of Comey’s irresponsible disclosure of absolutely zero information whatsoever.
In this instance, ignorance is power, and ignorance fanned by the off-the-rails media could very well sweep Donald J. Trump into the White House.
And while the editorial writers may publicly lament that result, the money-counters of big media will be popping champagne corks. Nothing drives ratings like having a thin-skinned maniac in possession of the nuclear codes.