Europeans more often than not find themselves perplexed about American mainstream media coverage of politics. So, across the pond, some of us are asking: What on earth is up with the media’s obsession with Russia? For months now, we have been hearing about an impending impeachment of President Donald Trump for his collusion with Russia, and then one fat juicy story after another turns out to be yet another Nothingburger. Nothing ever comes of it, yet the media will not let it go.
The latest in the series of non-scandals is the alleged collusion between Donald Trump Jr. and a British music publicist Rob Goldstone who claimed that a Russian contact of his had dirt on Hillary Clinton. They exchanged emails, had a meeting, and then nothing came of it. It turned out that the Russian contact, a lawyer called Natalia Veselnitskaya, had just faked her way into a meeting. She wanted to talk about Russian adoption policy instead.
The media went into a frenzy, conceding that while Trump Jr. technically did nothing illegal, the way he didn’t do it was morally reprehensible. Dilbert-creator Scott Adams has hilariously referred to this latest media outbreak as NothingGate because there is nothing there.
At first, Europeans were on board with the reports that came out of America. The American people had elected a madman who was “literally Hitler,” but as Trump kept doing one non-Hitler thing after the other, a creeping suspicion that something was wrong with the narrative has emerged.
The first question that springs to mind is: Why would Vladimir Putin be interested in colluding with Donald Trump? As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton sold vast amounts of uranium to the Russians and had a proven track-record of Russian-friendly actions. Wouldn’t Clinton be a better choice for Putin?
Second, Donald Trump has a long record as an economic nationalist going back to the 1980s. He has changed his opinion on many topics, but his slogan “America first” has been a consistent theme. Why would Putin want to back a self-avowed American nationalist? And why would an American nationalist want to collude with a foreign power to undermine the interests of the American people? On the surface, such an alliance makes very little sense. The only context in which such a connection has any meaning is if you buy into a conspiracy theory, where Trump is a Russian agent, planted to undermine America.
Seriously, does that sound even remotely credible? No one in the mainstream media has come out and explicitly made that particular accusation, probably because when stated openly, it sounds patently ridiculous.
Imagine if, after the 9/11 attacks, the entire mainstream media had been pounding on a Bush-Israel connection, month after month, trying to show that there were meetings and email exchanges between the Bush Administration and Israel before the attack. At what point would the public have concluded that the media had become tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists?
More and more people are waking up to the fact that there is something terribly wrong with the elite American media today. This need to tear apart the sitting president of the United States does seem more than a bit self-destructive to those of us on the other side of the Atlantic.
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