The Hyperpartisan Washington Post - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Hyperpartisan Washington Post

The headline in the Washington Post by the paper’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan was blunt:

Pro-Trump media sets the agenda with lies. Here’s how traditional media can take it back.

The photo with this story was none other than — surprise! — Sean Hannity.

Wrote Sullivan in part:

To save Tinkerbell, all you had to do was clap your hands and really, really believe in fairies.

To send a conspiracy theory on its vicious way around the world, you need to do more than just believe. You need help.

Luckily for those who wanted to elect Donald Trump, that help was available during the presidential campaign, and still is. It comes from a collection of new right-wing hyperpartisan media outlets that are having a huge effect on politics.

Consider, for example, one outlandish idea from just last week: that the CIA hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails, gave them to WikiLeaks and then framed Russia.

Business Insider traced it: from replies to the WikiLeaks Twitter account, through conservative radio and then Breitbart News, and out into the semi-mainstream — Sean Hannity on Fox News — all within 48 hours.

Similarly, the right-wing radio host Mark Levin may have started the evidence-free idea that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of now-President Trump. It made its way quickly through the media ecosystem, after Trump saw it, apparently on Breitbart News.

Once the president tweets it, it’s undeniably news, picked up everywhere and re-amplified — especially by right-wing sites.

Sullivan went on to say, amusingly, this:

A major new study, published in Columbia Journalism Review, detailed just how influential the new media ecosystem has become, calling it a determining factor in Trump’s election.

“A right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyperpartisan perspective to the world,” the report concluded, after studying 1.25 million stories.”

… These sites often traffic in “decontextualized truths, repeated falsehoods, and leaps of logic to create a fundamentally misleading view of the world,” the report said.

Hmmm. Got all that? According to the Post, Hannity and Levin are a couple of nuts. We’ll return to the Hannity story in a moment. But as to saying of Mark Levin that he started the “evidence-free idea that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of now-President Trump” Levin did no such thing. What he did do, as detailed here, was make it vividly clear — using mainstream media stories including the Post and others — that in fact the Obama administration had been conducting surveillance of Trump and/or Trump campaign associates. That is a fact. Asked directly in a Fox interview whether Obama personally ordered the surveillance, Mark relied that he was not “Nostradamus” — but emphatically made it clear that the mainstream media reporting on surveillance of Trump had clearly cited information drawn from some sort of Obama administration surveillance known to the intelligence community. Indeed the March 2, 2017 Post story specifically said:

The contacts were being examined as part of a wide-ranging U.S. counterintelligence investigation into possible communications between members of Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Russian operatives.

Clearly, unless President Obama and his White House staff had stopped reading the Washington Post and the rest, the President had to know that someone, somewhere in his own administration was conducting “a wide-ranging U.S. counterintelligence investigation” into the President’s political opponent. That is the exact opposite of “evidence free” — and doubtless what stings the Post is that they themselves provided the evidence.

And as to Hannity and what Sullivan calls his “outlandish idea from just last week: that the CIA hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails, gave them to WikiLeaks and then framed Russia.”

Clearly the recent revelation that the CIA has the technology to mimic Russian computers is a fact, not a conspiracy theory. Did someone in the agency use the technology to hack in to the DNC computers? There is at this point no evidence of this and that has not been claimed by Sean Hannity. But as to the idea that there can be rogue operatives in the CIA? While Sullivan doesn’t breathe a word of it, look no further than this story from that far-right nut site known as CBS News. As seen here, the CBS Headline is this:

Michael Morell: CIA trove on WikiLeaks “an inside job”

The story says in part:

CBS News senior security contributor Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA, said there are a lot of questions about how the WikiLeaks release occurred, calling it an inside job.

“Absolutely. This data is not shared outside CIA; it’s only inside CIA. It’s on CIA’s top secret network, which is not connected to any other network. So this has to be an inside job,” he told “CBS This Morning: Saturday.”

Is the ex-CIA deputy director under President Obama a conspiracy theorist? Hardly. He is simply admitting a logical conclusion — that for WikiLeaks to receive the kind of leaks it has from the CIA required help from someone inside the CIA itself. Or in other words, knowing that a CIA insider leaked classified info to WikiLeaks is an admission that there can in fact be somebody in the agency who deliberately violates CIA procedures not to mention the law. Understanding that this has in fact happened, it is hardly a Tinkerbell fantasy to believe that it is within the realm of possibility that some rogue CIA employee used the super-secret CIA tech to make a DNC hack seem as if the Russians did it. If Morrell is correct, the CIA has a problem on its hands — and that is no fairy tale from Sean Hannity.

So let’s re-write some of Sullivan’s copy. This way:

To save Tinkerbell, all you had to do was clap your hands and really, really believe in fairies.

To send a conspiracy theory on its vicious way around the world, you need to do more than just believe. You need help.

Luckily for those who wanted to elect Hillary Clinton, that help was available during the presidential campaign, and still is. It comes from a collection of old left-wing hyperpartisan media outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times that are having a huge effect on politics.

Consider, for example, one outlandish idea from just the last few months: that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails, gave them to WikiLeaks and this resulted in Hillary Clinton losing the presidential election.

In fairness to Sullivan, she does have a glimmer of the recognition that millions of Americans believe the “mainstream media” is so far Left they have become the American version of Pravda, the house-organ of the old Soviet Union.

But that study she cites from the Columbia Journalism Review is itself a study in blatant untruths. Among other things the CJR study says that the President was telling “supporters about events in Sweden that never happened” and that a presidential advisor can reference a non-existent “Bowling Green massacre” (the latter a reference to Kellyanne Conway). Not to put too fine a point on it, but Trump’s Sweden remark was quickly clarified as a reference to a previous night’s edition of Tucker Carlson’s show in which the subject of violence in Sweden by Islamic radical immigrants was in fact discussed.

And the “Bowling Green massacre” was Conway’s obvious slip of the tongue when she was referring to what in fact was the FBI arrest of two Iraqi refugees in Bowling Green who were in fact preparing a terrorist attack. The Bowling Green terrorist story had been previously reported accurately and in detail by ABC News. But the CJR deliberately chose to misrepresent the truth about both events. Surely Sullivan must recognize this as what she calls “a lie” on the part of an agenda — a liberal media agenda.

One article after another poured forth agenda-style from Sullivan’s own paper during the last campaign, foaming rabidly and reflexively that Trump was a racist, an anti-Semite, xenophobic and Islamophobic. Examples?

Here is the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank on December 1, 2015. Headline:

Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist

Said the Post columnist: 

Trump in this campaign has gone after African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, Asians, women, Muslims and now the disabled.

Evidence supplied? That it

has been more than a quarter century since Trump took out ads in New York newspapers calling for the death penalty for “criminals of every age” after five black and Latino teens were implicated in the Central Park jogger case.

Note well Milbank’s deft rewriting of the facts. The fact is that Trump is quoted directly (bold print supplied, as “calling for the death penalty for ‘criminals of every age’…”. In a blink it is Milbank who transforms the non-racial “criminals of every age” into the racially charged “five black and Latino teens.” This is a classic example of the racializing of American journalism by liberals who are big supporters of the American Left and the Democratic Party — the latter which owes its very political life to the idea of forming itself around the core idea of race. As we have noted many times, from the party’s founding with support for slavery at its core on to support for every fevered racial obsession from segregation, the Klan, racial quotas, and, in the current day, illegal immigration by skin color, it is Leftist outlets like the Post itself that repeatedly play the race card in a country where millions are infuriated at the sheer racial cynicism displayed by liberals and their favorite media outlets.

Then there is Trump the anti-Semite. And who better for the Post to use its columns to compare Trump to than, yes, Adolf Hitler. One column after another was published by Sullivan’s paper making the comparison, all to push the paper’s liberal agenda and the Clinton candidacy.

As here in a column by Post contributing columnist Danielle Allen, a political theorist at Harvard University:

Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century, I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany. Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand. Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate. That is not my point. My point rather is about how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country.

And, but of course, after comparing Trump to Hitler, then asking that readers “Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate” — Allen goes on to imply that the comparison of Trump to a monstrous tyrant who mass murdered millions of Jews and others is exactly accurate and the main reason (this was during GOP primary season) that “the time is now” to stop him.

The Trump-is-Hitler theme was a repeat favorite in the Post. Here’s another headline, this one put forward in the Post by one Eric Rauchway, a University of California at Davis history professor. The headline:

Donald Trump’s new favorite slogan was invented for Nazi sympathizers

This jewel of liberal paranoia the Post published begins:

He has made this slogan a theme for his campaign, and he has begun using it to contrast himself with President Obama, whose criticism of Trump’s rhetoric on Tuesday was answered with a Trump statement promising, “When I am president, it will always be America first.”

He wasn’t quite promising “America über alles,” but it comes close. “America First” was the motto of Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s, and Trump has more than just a catchphrase in common with them.

Not only is Trump portrayed through the Nazi label here but, but of course, he’s a racist as well. Why? Because what Trump is supposedly all about is, yes indeed, “white America.” The irony? The idea of “America First” — nationalism — was put forth long before the Nazis existed — by former President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. TR traveled to Osawatomie, Kansas to give his speech, and 100 years later no less than President Barack Obama visited Osawatomie to applaud TR and favorably cite what is known to history as TR’s “New Nationalism” speech. No less than the Obama White House posted both the Obama and TR speeches. Shades of Steve Bannon!

Then there was the Post publication of a piece by Hitler biographer Peter Ross Range. Title?

The theory of political leadership that Donald Trump shares with Adolf Hitler

After the standard “well, Trump isn’t Hitler” bow (in this case Range says the comparison is “dodgy”), the author goes on to make the comparison anyway. Saying in part:

But to any serious student of Hitler’s frightening and unforeseen rise to power in Germany, the recurring echoes in Trump’s speeches, interviews and his underlying thinking have become too blatant to overlook.

Hey, no lies there.


But the Post wasn’t done with these vivid untruths in service to Hillary Clinton. In September of 2016 there was this by Shalom Auslander, an author and television writer. Headline:

Don’t compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It belittles Hitler.

This piece said comparing Trump to Hitler was unfair — to Hitler.

And of course longtime Post columnist Richard Cohen chimed in with a column headlined:

Trump’s Hitlerian disregard for the truth

Cohen’s bow to the “it’s bad to cite Hitler” line is: “I realize that the name Hitler has the distractive quality of pornography and so I cite it only with reluctance.” Make that abundance, as Cohen plunges on with his Trump-Hitlerian analogies.

The Post wasn’t alone in liberal media land peddling stark untruths like this either. It was hard to turn anywhere in the liberal media and not find a variation of the Trump is — pick one, more or all a racist/anti-Semite/xenophobe/homophobe/Islamophobe.

Which brings us back to the first part of the headline on that Sullivan column.

Pro-Trump media sets the agenda with lies. 

The truth is, in fact, that there are millions of Americans who believe they are more than justified in believing what is, in their view, a much more accurate headline:

Pro-liberal media sets the agenda with lies.

Let’s be clear, shall we? The President of the United States is not a racist. An anti-Semite. Hitler. A hater of immigrants. A Xenophobe. Yet these kinds of stories are the currency the liberal media traffics in when discussing the President not to mention his supporters — a view famously pushed by candidate Clinton when she called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” and “irredeemable” by Hillary Clinton.

The reason they do this? Clearly, again to millions of Americans, the reason for stories like these is to push the liberal agenda. To borrow Sullivan’s word, with “lies.” And as this story is being filed? NBC reveals it has obtained a copy of the President’s 2005 tax return. Hello? Can we talk “liberal agenda” and “Deep State”? NBC News has just helped Donald Trump prove his point about liberal media elites and their ruthless disregard for the Constitution and the rights of individual Americans. There is every reason for the American people to feel no one in America is safe from rabidly power hungry elites. More to come without doubt.

And the real reason Sean Hannity and Mark Levin get called on the carpet here in the Post? Because both are more than effective in calling the liberal media out.

Otherwise Margaret Sullivan and the hyperpartisan Washington Post wouldn’t have given them the time of day.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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