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Journalism Dies in Darkness: How Mainstream Media Dismissed Durham Revelation

Can you imagine how the media would have responded if the revelation was against a Republican rather than a Democrat?
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February 16, 2022
John Durham

A few months ago, Gallup reported that Americans’ trust in the media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly” had edged down four percentage points from the previous year to 36%. That’s another way of saying that two thirds of Americans don’t trust the media.

How did things get so bad?

The legacy media’s reaction to the latest revelation from the Durham investigation helps answer that question. Day after day, I looked on the home pages of the Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times to see how they would cover what National Review Online (NRO) called a “jaw-dropping revelation.” Nothing.

What revelation were they ignoring, or at least downplaying?

As NRO reported:

“In a court submission last week, Durham alleged that a tech executive, who was supposed to be helping the government combat cyber threats, used his privileged access to Internet data — specifically, domain name system (DNS) traffic between servers — to mine contacts between Russia and facilities connected to Donald Trump. The information, Durham says, was taken out of context and distorted to suggest that Trump might be a clandestine agent of Vladimir Putin’s regime.

“Alarmingly, some of the Internet traffic mined in early 2017 was generated by the Executive Office of the President — the White House. That is, the tech executive, who has been identified as Rodney Joffe, was monitoring then-President Trump, trying to portray him as Putin’s mole.”

We already know that “the Clinton campaign played a huge role in generating the suspicions that spawned the government’s investigation.” Now we have Rodney Joffe, a Clinton supporter, deepening a sordid story.

Can you imagine how the media would have responded if this Durham revelation was about a Republican rather than a Democrat?

Actually, we know the answer. For three years, the mainstream media breathlessly reported leaks, rumors and unsubstantiated allegations in pursuit of a “Russiagate” story against a Republican president that went nowhere. They still haven’t apologized for getting it so wrong.

Meanwhile, a new report suggests there was “spying on the president of the United States with the aim of harming his ability to govern the country,” as NRO describes it, and the mainstream media yawns. When they’ve addressed it, they either tried to rebut it or dismissed it as “GOP propaganda machine in action.”

Do they really care that two thirds of Americans no longer trust them?

Maybe not so much. Maybe we’ve reached a point where loyalty to an ideological position takes precedence over loyalty to the full, accurate and fair truth.

Maybe we’ve reached a point where loyalty to an ideological position takes precedence over loyalty to the full, accurate and fair truth.

In reviewing Batya Ungar-Sargon’s book, Bad News: How Woke Media is Undermining Democracy, Mark Hemingway notes the key insight that “the media’s problems stem largely from issues of class, even if the problems are outwardly manifested as political and cultural extremism.”

Whereas journalism used to be written primarily by the working class for the working class, Hemingway writes that “as the industry shrinks, it has become ensconced in an elitist bubble that serves the interests of its corporate owners and distribution channels controlled by Big Tech.”

You can’t get a better descriptor to explain loss of media credibility than an “elitist bubble.”

Outside of that bubble, any enterprising journalist would have feasted on Durham’s latest revelation about possible spying on a president, where the stakes couldn’t be higher. Today, elitist ideology seems to trump even personal ambition.

The masthead on The Washington Post says “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” But journalism, the lifeblood of democracy, also dies in darkness.

 

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