The Media's Mental Gymnastics on "Collusion"

I’ve noticed an odd (or not so odd) inconsistency from our great, truth-telling media in response to the Papawhatshisface inditement for giving false statements to the FBI.

Over the previous two weeks, we had learned that the Hillary Clinton campaign (among others) had paid millions of dollars to a foreign spy to work with Russian FSB agents in order to gain dirt on Donald Trump. This wasn’t simply an attempt either. A dossier was put together and the material was actively used.

The media jumped into action to defend this.

One such example is Eli Lake’s article entitled “Both campaigns sought russian dirt. Clinton’s way was legal.” In his writing, Lake finds a lawyer to tell him that Clinton’s working with foreign assets is ok because she paid for it while the attempted meeting with Papadopoulos would of been an illegal “contribution” to the campaign via campaign finance laws.

CNN described the Hillary/Russia story as a “massive exaggeration,” because of course they did.

I won’t keep linking to stories, but you can go to Newsbusters and watch many more examples of reporting such as the above in their archives.

I bring these examples up not to dismiss the legalities argued (there is no actual criminal charge of “collusion” to go after Trump nor Hillary with), but to show the disconnect in the media’s coverage of this.

I thought we weren’t concerned with just legalities but with the impact of Russian interference? This was supposed to be about collusion, even if technically legal, and how bad it is for our democracy. Any use of foreign assets was supposed to be so damaging, so nefarious, so un-American that it demanded action regardless of the legalities at play.

Yet, the moment Clinton became a factor, suddenly, it was all about the technicalities. More importantly, you can’t find one mainstream media article which concedes that such action would indeed be collusion if proven. You can’t even find a suggestion that there could be merit to the idea that it’s collusion, which is the exact opposite of how the characterize any discussion about Trump and Russia.

Perhaps the most common response to the revelation that Clinton paid for dirt from Russian FSB agents is silence though. The media simply didn’t cover it for the most part.

But, with the inditement of Papadopoulos, the language has swung again. Suddenly, the “C” word is back in style. Shocking, I know.

Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos made a significant claim in an email: Top Trump campaign officials agreed to a pre-election meeting with representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The message, if true, would bolster claims that Trump’s campaign attempted to collude with Russian interests.

Vanity Fair proclaims in response that “Mueller’s Russian Collusion Case Comes Into Focus.”

Jim Acosta pressed the collusion issue as near definitive at the press briefing on Monday.

The Washington Post gave this description of Monday’s inditement.

Technically, President Trump’s standard line of defense in the Russia probe – we did not collude – suffered a bit of a blow Monday. In a plea deal with the special counsel unsealed Monday (at about the time Trump was tweeting the phrase “there is NO COLLUSION!”), Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos admitted the Trump adviser had contacts with Russians offering the Trump campaign Hillary Clinton’s emails and other “dirt,” and he tried to arrange meetings with Russian officials.

That’s pretty much the dictionary definition of “collusion.

Later in the article, they write this line dismissing Hillary’s contacts with Russia without a hint of irony.

The evidence of Clinton’s alleged “collusion” with Russia? She and the Democrats hired an opposition-research firm that wrote a dossier on, um, Trump’s collusion with Russia.

I’ve seen some white washing, but that takes the cake.

Let’s think about this.

In the preceding passage, the writer argues that having contacts with Russians offering dirt on an opponent is the “dictionary definition of collusion.” Then that same writer, a few paragraphs down, dismisses the idea that Hillary paying a foreign spy to make contact with Russian FSB agents to dig up dirt on her opponent is collusion.

Does that make sense to anyone? Does it cease to be collusion because they used intermediary? An intermediary who was also foreign himself (foreign interference is foreign interference, right?).

In one case, we have an unpaid volunteer advisor making an attempt to get dirt, of which he didn’t get actually get any, from Russian sources. That’s “the dictionary definition” of collusion to the media. In another case, we have a Presidential candidate paying millions of dollars to a foreign spy to work with Russian FSB agents for dirt, of which they actually received and used it, but that’s not collusion to the media.

The mental gymnastics at play here are enough to win a gold medal at the next Olympics.

Don’t misunderstand what issue I’m highlighting. I’m not arguing for or against whether these instances are technically collusion. There’s a million other articles that have attempted to do that to go read.

The issue is that one instance can’t be collusion while the other isn’t. Using Russian sources for opposition research is either collusion with the Russians or it’s not, no matter how many layers you insolate yourself with in-between. Yet, the media wants to constantly shift their definition to fit their narrative, relying on technical dismissals that don’t hold up to common sense scrutiny.

Using the media’s (and Democrat’s) current logic that a foreign intermediary makes Hillary’s actions A-OK and not collusion, money laundering doesn’t exist. Just use an intermediary and you are all good. Paul Manafort should try that defense and see how it works out. Heck, just pay someone to murder your husband too and you can’t be guilty, right?

Maybe it is all just opposition research, as was yelled from the rooftops by the media after the revelations on Hillary. Ok, but if that’s the case, so is Papadopoulos’ attempt at getting information. They are materially the same thing with the same outcome. It’s either collusion to use actively use Russian sources for opposition research or it’s not.

The hypocrisy would be hilarious if the issue wasn’t so serious. Despite their lectures to the contrary, we’ve seen time and time again in our mainstream media that apples suddenly become bananas if it means protecting Democrats. The lack of consistency being shown here is yet another example of why the media is so distrusted and why they should keep their self-righteous posturing about truth and honesty to themselves.

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