Opinion

KASSAM: Russiagate Wasn’t The First Media Hoax, And It Probably Won’t Be the Last

REUTERS/Jim Young

Raheem Kassam Contributor

There are few greater joys in life than being able to watch self-appointed arbiters and guardians on the defensive. Such is the case with the U.S. media and the Mueller report’s findings. Just don’t expect to hear many apologies.

The few honest journalists that are left are now coming to recognize just how profoundly their colleagues misled the public.

Others, such as CNN’s Jeffrey Zucker and Brian Stelter, and New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, are attempting to save what little face they have left.

Not only does this group deny there was anything wrong with spreading stories such as “What If Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?,” but they maintain it’s their critics — the tenacious few who are brave enough to call them out for their lies — who need to be reined in.

Something important is being lost in this discussion: Russiagate was not the first time the media has so blatantly misled the American public. It’s not even the first time they’ve been caught so clearly in the wrong as a result of their ideological biases.

In 2012, the national media were desperate for a racially-charged incident in Barack Obama’s “post-racial” era, and they were willing to invent one if reality didn’t cooperate. To that end, they shamelessly twisted the shooting of a black 17-year-old who assaulted a mixed-race Hispanic man, painting it as a vicious, racially-motivated murder of an innocent black teenager by an out-of-control white vigilante.

Then, as with Russiagate, there were skeptics almost immediately, but they were ignored and marginalized in favor of those who were willing to parrot the media’s preferred storyline.

Thankfully, the court system was not as corrupt as the media. Journalists successfully convinced prosecutors to hysterically overcharge George Zimmerman, but they could not prevent that case from falling apart on the stand, and they could not pressure jurors to convict him.

As with Russiagate, the media steadfastly refuses to apologize for misleading the public into the worst race-based hoax until Jussie Smollett minced into “MAGA country.”

Even several years after George Zimmerman’s acquittal, journalists kept up the pretense they had been right all along. Trayvon Martin’s death set the pattern of behavior for modern reporters, who have adopted the old “repeat the lie” mantra from the 1930s. And while trust in the media continues to sink according to the Pew Research Center, these people seem emboldened by their own lies.

It happened again in 2014 when they presented as fact the untrue rumor that Ferguson, Missouri criminal Michael Brown had his hands up and was killed in cold blood by a white police officer. Ferguson burned for their lies, and hundreds of black men around the country are dead because of the pull back in policing they engineered.

The media never apologized, of course.

They also didn’t apologize for their character assassination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whom they presented as a serial gang rapist because they didn’t like his politics.

Nor did they apologize when they falsely portrayed a group of Catholic high school students as bigoted hooligans attacking a Native American protester. The boys had MAGA hats on, and liberal journalists thought that meant they didn’t need to do any more research before trying to destroy their lives.

Had they done their jobs properly, those journalists would have quickly discovered that the students were actually showing admirable restraint in the face of verbal harassment from a nearby group of protesters.

The list goes on, and on. From Benghazi to the migrant caravans, from Obamacare to Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.

Russiagate is merely the most extreme manifestation of the media’s willful disregard for the truth. The scale of said hoax is breathtaking.

For two and a half years these people ceaselessly promoted a story that could have upended the entire American political system, even as elements of the collusion narrative collapsed in their faces constantly. They ignored every warning and chose to amplify lies told by Democrats and the deep state. Those lies have finally been exposed.

The media have gotten away with similar malpractice in the past, and clearly expect to do so again. If they’re going to face a reckoning for their role in spreading the collusion hoax, it will have to come from the American people. Personally, I cannot wait for the next Pew poll on public trust in the media. It is going to be delicious.

Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) is the global editor in chief of Human Events and a fellow at the Claremont Institute and the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two bestselling books: “No Go Zones” and “Enoch Was Right.”


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.