Are we finally seeing strong signs that the establishment media’s clinging obsession with the Russia collusion narrative is becoming untenable? Despite former special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-anticipated report turning out to be a soggy fizzle, notorious Trump-bashing media outlets like MSNBC and CNN have continued to beat the drums for impeachment. It appears they are doing so to diminishing returns, if ratings are an indicator. Meanwhile, even Democrats are tiring of having to expend so much energy on the matter.
All Impeachment, All the Time
In a revealing appearance on MSNBC show The Beat, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) groaned that he can’t get invited on TV unless it is to talk about impeaching the president. “Actually, I’ve been trying to get on your show to talk about the Saudi nuclear program, and if it was my time we’d be talking about efforts to control drug prices,” he told surprised and seemingly piqued host Ari Melber, when asked yet again about impeaching the president. “There’s this image in this country that Congress is focused on impeachment. That’s the only thing I can get on TV to talk about, but it’s not really what I’m working on.”
Melber was not the least bit sympathetic to the congressman’s lament, responding, “I don’t know what you’re doing, sir,” when Sherman initially expressed his reluctance to discuss the I-word.” The television host later scolded Sherman by describing his remarks as “interesting.”
“Well, look, we do a lot of subjects here, and we can get into a lot of stuff,” Melber told Sherman. “But Bob Mueller broke his silence yesterday and said this is an issue for the Congress if there’s a wrongdoing to be accused, so it is a big news story. I don’t think that’s in debate.”
It’s certainly a big story for MSNBC, which refuses to stop flogging the Mueller horse even as it lies dying in the dirt.
Network host Rachel Maddow has set the benchmark for Trump-Russia fixation at MSNBC, and her ratings are now paying the price. Numbers for May with the key 25-54 age demographic were her lowest since President Trump took office, the Washington Examiner reports. Maddow’s show was crushed by timeslot rival Sean Hannity of Fox News in the May ratings race, and it also trailed behind Fox’s Tucker Carlson. Maddow lost 500,000 viewers the Monday after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the Mueller Report that concluded there was no evidence to be found of Trump collusion with Russia.
The news was even worse for CNN, which came in a distant third after Fox News and MSNBC in the May primetime ratings. The impeachment-trumpeting network’s total day ratings are down a stinging 15% from its May 2018 numbers, Mediaite notes.
Pockets Were Lined
Is it mere political bias that keeps MSNBC and CNN hot on the Trump conspiracy beat, even as the country appears eager to move on? Hyping the Mueller probe proved to be a cash cow for the networks and their on-air talent for two-plus years, and they certainly have no wish to let that go. As The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald pointed out after the Mueller washout in March, “Rachel Maddow makes $10 million a year. Every month, more money is put into her bank account by a major corporation than most people make in a lifetime, literally. She went on the air for 2 straight years & fed millions of people conspiratorial garbage & benefited greatly.”
Remember the comments made in 2017 by a CNN producer captured in an undercover sting led by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas? John Bonifield was caught on a hidden video saying the Trump-Russia issue was “mostly bulls**t” and that “the president is probably right to say, like, ‘look you are witch hunting me.’”
Explaining why CNN continued to lead the media charge nevertheless, Bonifield spelled things out in crystal clear terms: “It’s a business. People are, like, ‘the media has an ethical’ phssssss … All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, ‘that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business.’”
All Bluff, No Substance
Leave it to another Democrat to describe just how damaging this odious brand of “journalism” is to the national discourse. Julian Epstein, chief Democratic counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton administration, told The Hill in March that, “the mainstream media really, really overplayed its hand with the breathless coverage [of the Mueller probe] every day that we’re just at the precipice of something that is going to be impeachable.”
Epstein voiced the same sentiments that the exasperated Rep. Sherman expressed to MSNBC. “When the political class and the media class becomes obsessed in a story that is not leading anywhere for two years, it suffocates out conversation about other things that we out [sic] to be talking about,” he said.
It is beyond irksome that the establishment media can blithely ignore facing up to their gross irresponsibility on the phony Trump-Russia narrative for over two years and face no real repercussions for their self-serving duplicity. All disgusted Americans can do here is turn the television dial and hope more of their fellow citizens follow suit. The May ratings certainly indicate that a profound turning-away may be afoot. Perhaps MSNBC and CNN will eventually be forced to learn that forfeiting lasting trust is a devastatingly high price to pay for peddling “conspiratorial garbage” for short-term gain.
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