Suddenly the media has zero interest in administration officials working with enemy states.
Think back on the last four years of the press being absorbed with — obsessing over, in truth — the Russian collusion narrative. I’m not indicating the core story itself, but how ANY story with an attachment to the country was given oxygen as a result. All mundane meetings with Russian officials were pointed out, policies interpreted as beneficial to Russia in any way were interpreted, and any legitimate business dealings were questioned.
If that country could be intoned in any fashion by the press in regards to the Trump administration it was delivered in a grave and somber fashion. But now, as Joe Biden is readying for his takeover of the White House, the press has given all indications that they will not be operating at near the levels of hysteria they have been since 2016. In the case of Russia we already see them shifting the focus from ‘’intense’’, to ‘’apathetic’’.
Biden has recently announced that former State Department fixture and Obama White House communications director Jenn Psaki would become his press secretary. Psaki, who is renown for her impotent ‘’hashtag diplomacy’’ Not long after the announcement Trump’s communications team tweeted out an image of Psaki arm-in-arm with Russian dignitaries. She is also sporting a pink fur hat, the front of which bears the traditional icon of the Communist Party, the Hammer & Sickle.
Here’s Jen Psaki hugging Russia's Foreign Minister and Russia’s chief foreign affairs propagandist while wearing a pink hammer and sickle hat pic.twitter.com/WMJytaxd7J
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) November 30, 2020
Certainly in this age where any and all connections to Russia are declared politically toxic this would be blasted across the media landscape. This is the kind of thing the journalists would declare to be a ‘’Bombshell’’, correct? Uh, well — no, it is the other thing.
Instead of yanking out their hair and setting their frocks on fire the press has suddenly taken a different tack with Russsian connections — they are to be explained away. The USA Today fact team is on the case, taking a break from their prior duties involving fact-checking jokes from The Babylon Bee. Now they look over the photograph of the newly christened press secretary sporting communist regalia and decided that it needed a fact-check, in order to clear her name.
According to the USA Today fact-check team this is not cause for alarm after all. They have taken it upon themselves to clear Psaki of any wrong-doing, doing so by issuing a ‘’ruling’’ on the matter. (It sounds way more official when they say that!) It turns out that all that is needed here is what they rule — there needed to be ‘’context’’ involving the photograph.
The claim: A photo shows Jen Psaki, Joe Biden's pick for press secretary, wearing a hammer and sickle hat while posing with officials from Russia.
Our ruling: Missing context https://t.co/r36VAwWZWV
— USA TODAY Politics (@usatodayDC) December 1, 2020
Amusingly the paper started out by addressing a ‘’claim’’, although nothing was ever really claimed by Wolking; he basically posted the picture. But in order to do their job they need to check something, so a claim is…well, claimed to have been made. Huh.
USA Today goes to explain Psaki was at an international summit in Paris on official U.S. business. After meeting with the Russians they gifted her the hat. (John Kerry, in his inimitable imbecility, gave the Russians two potatoes. Yes, seriously.) Then they go on to describe the headgear; ‘’Though it’s difficult to decipher, the logo on the hat — a traditional furry “ushanka” hat — resembles the hammer and sickle.’’ Not to go all fact-check on the experts here, but there are TWO problems with this statement. One, it is not difficult to decipher, and secondly it does not ‘’resemble’’ the insignia, it is truly in fact the hammer and sickle.
Yes, it's the hammer and sickle pic.twitter.com/sniIGMNX61
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) December 1, 2020
Then USA Today concludes with its findings..
The image is real, but claims that the hat was anything more a gift or that Psaki was with Russian officials in any capacity beyond her official role are MISSING CONTEXT.
This is not a fact-check; this is a media-inspired excusal. To repeat, Wolking never made any type of claim. He declared the image was of Psaki hugging Russian dignitaries while wearing a communist logo. The photo shows precisely that. Plus while the fact-checkers declare there is missing context they never provide the context they claim is absent. Their fact-check proved the facts correct, and their correction was devoid of anything contradictory.
This comes off as more than a way to allow Psaki to be free of any scorn. It serves as a way for the press to avoid the very issue they have clung tightly to for four years. Anything Russia-related was deemed outrageous and dangerous, but Jenn Psaki nuzzling the communists in the very fashion the media has called out is swept away, under the gauzy excuse of ‘’context’’.
Welcome to the press vacation folks. Four years of this obfuscation is what we can now expect.