These days most news about politics is tribal. If you hate Trump’s guts, you can watch CNN or MSNBC or read the New York Times. You can safely peruse the Washington Post and Politico and a whole slew of other outlets that predominantly run negative stories about the president. Those are your safe spaces. But are you informed if you rely on those sources?
If you just love, love, love Trump and always have, then you’ve got a few choices like Breitbart and others where you’ll mostly see favorable coverage. Are you informed if you only read those sources?
Before I go any further, let me disclose my own bias because I don’t fit neatly into either pro or anti-Trump tribe. What I believe seemed rather conventional in conservative circles before November 2016, but since then it’s been harder and harder to agree on much of anything.
I was against Trump in the 2016 primary and hoped somehow he’d be switched out at the convention for Cruz or Walker or anyone but John ‘the mailman’s son’ Kasich. I argued vehemently with ‘Trumpanzees’ at the time. I also didn’t know that much about Trump besides what I read here and other conservative blogs.
I was despondent because the Obama years were an all-out assault on our Republic. Between Fast and Furious (and the cover-up), Benghazi (and the cover-up), IRS targeting of conservative groups (and the cover-up), and the idiotic and borderline treasonous Iran Nuke deal (and how Ben Rhodes sold it to America with media collusion), I figured America was at a crossroads in the last presidential election. Another liberal Supreme Court justice and another 8 years of unrepentant leftism would do irreparable harm.
Not only is Hillary Clinton as or more corrupt than President Obama, but she is a good deal more incompetent. I say this to establish that I started out the primary Never Trumpish and eventually concluded that I’m really Never Hillary (or any other Democrat).
I don’t neatly fit into the pro or anti-Trump camps. This isn’t as simple as Republican vs. Democrat. It’s more complicated. Which makes getting reliable news coverage challenging.
For example, Politico ran a story about the firestorm Rep. Trey Gowdy ignited when he appeared on several news outlets to denounce the entire ‘Spygate’ theory. He seemed to flatly reject the notion that the FBI had improperly spied on the Trump campaign even though mounting evidence suggested that was precisely what had occurred.
This controversy has moved on from whether there was an informant (one or more) inserted into the Trump campaign by the Obama FBI, or whether that was ‘spying’ or not.
That’s old and busted. The new hotness is that whatever happened was proper and there’s nothing to see here. This moving of the goal posts is a recurring theme in the anti-Trump media. That’s one key reason I distrust Gowdy’s assertion. He’s defending ground that’s already been lost. I believe that is why he got as much blowback as he did, on top of the usual partisan reasons.
It’s not that he dared to debunk Trump’s ‘theory’, he’s provably wrong.
The challenge is that this is an incredibly complex story to follow. It is not my purpose here to dive into the details to make a case. I acknowledge that a definitive answer may require more facts to emerge. Or we may never know the truth.
But that doesn’t stop the pro and anti-Trump tribes from pumping out articles and posts.
If you’re like me, you don’t want to be fed conspiracy theories from either side. You don’t want a blatant anti-Trump outlet like CNN to pre-chew the news and spit out only that which is critical of Trump for you to digest. And you don’t want to read blindly pro-Trump outlets who might defend against any unflattering facts or omit them altogether. There’s too much at stake right now.
Those on the right who fall on the Never Trump spectrum approach every story from a negative bias. In this case, they believe Gowdy is a brave truth-teller who dared to speak out against the orthodox Red Hats. They’ll cite that Politico story as a reasonable source to showcase that the bad Trumpians are to be resisted and it is noble to do so. Because there ARE Trump tribalists who would denounce Gowdy, there is a grain of truth to this narrative. And because these anti-Trump folks don’t want to believe SpyGate (or any of it) is real, they believe Gowdy.
But… That assumes that Gowdy is, in fact, speaking the truth. Members of the Resistance and those who hate Trump don’t seem to care.
The problem with the anti-Trump folks on the left and the ‘right’ is that they seem to believe anything critical of Trump. I expect that from partisan Democrats. But the Never Trump ‘conservatives should know better. They seem to have forgotten the rampant corruption of the Obama years and the mere notion that the DOJ or FBI could be involved in some nefarious pro-Clinton plot to take down Trump is dismissed immediately.
This is frustrating because one only needs to look at the DOJ under Holder or Lynch to see that they were politicized to the core. I submit that it is actually harder to defend the idea that these agencies were NOT corrupted to thwart Trump’s election or take him down after he won. But that doesn’t stop Never Trumpers from trying to cling bitterly to their prejudices.
Admittedly, Gowdy is not easy to pigeonhole as a good guy or bad for whatever tribe you’re in.
You might recall Rep. Trey Gowdy as a hero for speaking out strongly against the apparent cover-up surrounding Benghazi, for example. If you followed that investigation to the end, you might have been disappointed in how it appeared to fizzle out and pull punches.
And right now, you might think Gowdy’s a brave and reasonable former prosecutor tamping down wild ‘Spygate’ conspiracies. If your bias is anti-Trump, you probably latch on to that narrative. But that’s likely not to age well.
Why? Because the problem with Gowdy’s critique of ‘Spygate’ is that he’s glossing over known facts.
This isn’t about standing firm against ‘Trump’s theory’, it’s about dismissing evidence in order to defend the FBI, DOJ, and by extension, the Obama administration. Because if Trump’s campaign was ‘spied on’, then it is almost certain President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, and everyone else in that inner circle knew about it. And let’s face it, President Obama would have to have approved of the course of action that folks like Comey and Lynch and Brennan and Clapper pursued.
The implications of this revelation are staggering. The abuse of power is unprecedented. And the danger to the republic is clear and present.
Perhaps that is why Sen. Marco Rubio and Reg. Trey Gowdy have sought to downplay this narrative in some effort to defend institutions they believe in.
But what if they are defending the indefensible?
What if Spygate is as it appears? Just like Trump’s ‘wiretapping’ claims, what happened is as bad or worse than initially imagined. This remains a complex story and the twists and turns are beyond the scope of this diary. So let me cut to the chase.
Normally, I resent when Never Trumpers write posts headlined with ‘Stop doing XYZ’ because, well, their track record regarding all things Trump is abysmal. I don’t like being told what to believe or think, thank you very much.
I have learned to ignore the corrupt Democrats. They lie and put party over country. They have my entire adult life (at least since 1992). But I used to respect several prominent Never Trumpers, so learning to discount their opinions has been a rather painful and disillusioning process. I used to consider these people allies. Now I seriously question their sanity.
Never Trumpers didn’t think Trump had a prayer in the primary, they assured us Hillary would clobber him, and I believed them.
Since the election, they’ve learned nothing.
They’ve fallen for just about every Fake News story about Trump and ‘Russia Collusion’. Even today, they still cling to the notion that SOMETHING was worth investigating and that the FBI and DOJ and State acted properly.
The worse of them, like Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and David Brooks have gone so far as to criticize Trump for things they used to support. That kind of rank hypocrisy has destroyed any faith I had in anything they say. Objectively, they are unprincipled quislings.
Back to Gowdy and Spygate. Never Trumpers and their idiot friends in the Resistance maintain their ‘Russian Collusion’ narrative in spite of a damning string of revelations that the entire ‘investigation’ was cooked up by Team Obama and Clinton, and aided and abetted by Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and a substantial list of allies in the media. Like I said, there is too much at stake to let this deceptive narrative go unchallenged.
But how do you navigate this tribal news environment to know what to believe anymore?
I would suggest you don’t follow anything from CNN, the NYT or MSNBC and their ilk because they’ve been caught in so many Fake News stories that the odds are whatever they publish is untrue. Lying liars lie. It’s that simple. You may prefer their narrative if you happen to agree with their anti-Trump posture, but that leaves you comfortably numb. Content to confirm your own bias and ignore the mounting evidence that things are not as the anti-Trump media has reported.
Obviously, you don’t want to just read pro-Trump outlets or you’ll never know if you’re getting the truth or just their bias instead. Though because the corruption in the media and the previous administration flows primarily from the left, I’m less concerned about pro-Trump bias simply because they lack the institutional power to gaslight the nation the way the establishment media has. But still, you don’t want to rely on people who only tell you one side of a story.
That’s why I prefer to read sources I know who have been accurate. They’ve been willing to write critical things about Trump and they’ve exposed Fake News with facts. In other words, they’ve proven themselves over time to be willing to take heat from BOTH tribes to do their jobs as journalists or opinion commentators. On RedState, front pagers like Streiff have long been my goto commentators because I know he was absolutely brutal on Trump in the past.
Other front pagers have been so over the top anti-Trump as to slip into the TDS soaked hyperbole that they can’t objectively praise conservative developments in the past year and a half. And, they can’t seem to wrap their heads around things like Spygate, either. Instead, they latch on to stories like this Gowdy kerfuffle and say, “See, it’s okay to stand up to Trump.”
But Spygate isn’t about Trump’s opinion. It’s about the previous administration’s corruption and the left’s unrelenting thirst for power and their systemic disregard for the rule of law.
When it comes to complex cases like Spygate, Andy McCarthy and Mollie Hemingway stand out. John Soloman, Sara Carter, and Sean Davis, Kim Strassel all have followed this complex story closely. You may not dig his style, but Sean Hannity and others have been ahead of the curve on these developments. Facts are stubborn things.
Never Trumpers have disdain for anyone who doesn’t march to their anti-Trump drum, and they will mock these sources (and others) as being Trump Toadies. In some cases, they may be right about that. But the fact is, these particular voices have been consistently reporting facts as they emerged and they were willing to sustain the onslaught of anti-Trump hate.
Because Spygate (and the rest) is so steeped in areas of law that most of us are not qualified to evaluate, it is imperative to take the time to read those who do have that expertise and are willing to report facts rather than tribal narrative.
We’ve reached a point where there is enough evidence that certain assertions, like what Trey Gowdy said, are unsupported and either dishonest or blatant and inexcusable oversights. I don’t know Gowdy’s motive, but as a prosecutor, he should know better. I’ll leave it at that.
There has been enough attempt to cover up corruption and abuse of power by the Obama and Clintons. It’s time to keep our eyes wide open and support those who are digging to discover what happened. What we know already is damning enough. What remains to be learned is unlikely to justify what these various actors did.
It’s time to stop blindly defending people like Gowdy just to maintain an anti-Trump narrative. This isn’t about Trump. It’s about what the previous administration and the media have done.
So please stop defending Trey Gowdy or Rubio or anyone else until you’ve read at least these two posts by Andy McCarthy and Mollie Hemingway. Contrary to what Politico wrote, he’s not bravely standing up to Trumpians. What he said is demonstrably false.
Read those two posts and you’ll have at least a substantive counter-argument to Gowdy that doesn’t rely on MAGA fueled Trumpism.
My intention here is not to object to posts critical of Trump. I’ve conspicuously left my personal opinion about Trump out of this because it doesn’t matter. But I will say my support for this administration, or any administration is conditional. I won’t blindly support anyone.
What would be great to see is a pro-American tribe instead of the factions for and against Trump.
Someday he will no longer be president. But we’ll need to reconcile what happened here to have faith in our form of government and its institutions. We’ll need to hold our elected officials accountable and know whom to hold accountable, whether there was ‘Russian Collusion’ or a Deep State coup. We need to have the rule of law restored. And if this was as corrupt as it appears, it must never happen again.
To be blunt, I do not believe the Democrat party is capable of being objective about this because what the previous administration appears to have done is such an egregious abuse of power that it is not in their electoral interests to acknowledge ANY of it.
Similarly, the pro-Democrat media is incapable of reporting on this corruption because it exposes their complicity in covering up scandals throughout the Obama presidency all the way back to President Bill Clinton and beyond. They are ideologically anti-American in their liberal bias and as such, they are part of the problem. CNN’s ratings reflect that the public is tired of this dynamic.
It is possible to not approve of Trump personally, or to be wary of populism and to question what his presidency means for conservativism, and still be willing to admit that the Obama administration did some incredibly corrupt things to protect Hillary Clinton and to oppose Trump.
This controversy around Spygate and Trey Gowdy is a good opportunity to test that theory because it’s not about Trump or tribalism, it’s about a fact pattern revealed by the timeline and documents and public statements and testimony of the people involved.
Read Hemingway and McCarthy at least, and then watch Gowdy’s television appearances and see how he parses words and spins his statements in such a way that not only contradicts what we know about this case but past behavior of the Obama administration.
But please stop defending Gowdy just because you dislike Trump because the truth is not on his side, and we should care about the truth.