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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/23/18

Russiagate's Mueller Fails Badly with Charges Against Manafort

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"The evidence just wasn't there to convict alleged tax cheat Paul Manafort on most of the 18 charges that had been brought against him. This gave Special Counsel Robert Mueller his first clear defeat in his flagging hunt for an illegal Russia connection to Trump. Some observers claim jury bias in the few charges that prevailed. They cite pejorative media innuendoes attempting to tie Manafort to the Trump-Russia scandal. There's no word yet on Manafort's appeal strategy for the few convictions brought forth by the jury. So this is still not a closed issue. Manafort vehemently proclaims his innocence, contending he's been a victim of Mueller's illicit witch hunt for an unproven Russia connection to Trump."

I don't know about you, but my foregoing spoof paragraph is definitely not the way I saw the Manafort case covered by the media. It went more like this:

"Paul Manafort Convicted of Eight Counts of Fraud" --Wall Street Journal

"Former Trump campaign chairman Manafort found guilty of tax and bank fraud" --Reuters

"Guilty: Paul Manafort convicted in first Mueller probe trial" --MSNBC

That's a very different slant on things. Granted that my spoof above was deliberately slanted. But I did that as an object lesson to show by contrast the hysterical extreme the media have taken in their reportage. It seems they viewed the Manafort trial outcome as a gotcha moment in a campaign to deligitimize Trump.

There's nothing basically wrong for citizens to attempt deligitimizing a president for whom they have disdain. But shouldn't they do it while acting with integrity and legitimacy themselves?

So my first question for the media is this: why are you on a campaign to distort the news?

"Seek Truth and Report It" is the first tenet of the Society of Professional Journalists' ethics code. But instead of even seeking the truth, much less reporting it, the media outlets are off on a journalistic bender. They seem to be trying to invent a faux truth that outright conflicts with the actual truth.

This is especially apparent if you listen to the cable reportage of MSNBC and Fox News. Tune to MSNBC and you hear unabashed negative case making against Donald Trump. Switch over to Fox News and you can't miss the oppositely framed coverage that finds virtue in almost everything Trump does.

But even coverage on Fox News took a fanciful anti-Trump turn after the president's summit with Vladimir Putin. I'd like to know what was behind that switcheroo.

The SPJ code also proclaims, "The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public."

How is the public being served by media outlets on a mission to distort and fabricate?

I don't know whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who are bent on doing harm to America. US politicians frequently allege that Putin is on a mission to destabilize and destroy America's democracy. But there's been no objective evidence presented. Despite that, we've seen a plethora of allegations.

For example, first we heard that all seventeen US intelligence agencies found that the Russian state was culpable in hacking Democratic National Committee servers (New York Times). Then as that claim was put to practical scrutiny the story changed. Now it became just four agencies.

Why should journalists have believed even that back-down story? After all, aren't we talking about agencies that came out strongly with the story of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction years ago?

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William Dunkerley is author of the books "Ukraine in the Crosshairs," "The Phony Litvinenko Murder, "Litvinenko Murder Case Solved," and "Medvedev's Media Affairs," published by Omnicom Press. Mr. Dunkerley also has authored several monographs (more...)

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