Another disgraceful chapter in the decline of the establishment media continues to unfold as the U.S. military on September 14 revealed that it had been unable to corroborate the details of an alarming New York Times article from June. Although it continues to investigate an allegation that the Russian government has offered cash rewards to the Taliban for the killings of American military personnel, a senior Marine Corps general told NBC News that he had uncovered no evidence to support the story.
What is more likely, then? That high-level people are willing to go on record denying something they know is true, or that The Times’ anonymous sources either do not exist or are lying?
Falsehood Flies, the Truth Limps
When it comes to negative stories about the Trump administration, one must be careful. It is always worth weighing the likelihood that someone is perpetrating a smear against the possibility that honest government officials have uncovered a terrible secret that the president or cabinet officials have been keeping under wraps. In all honesty, both scenarios are almost equally likely when it comes to any U.S. president – or any other world leader, for that matter.
A portion of Americans will immediately choose to believe that the story in question is nothing more than a fabrication. Another group will accept without hesitation whatever accusation has been made – needing no further evidence or investigation. Therein lies the payoff for media organizations that, like The New York Times, are interested in only one thing: discrediting and disparaging President Trump and doing all they can to ensure that he does not win a second term in the White House.
These media organizations do not care if the tales they put out are debunked or later denied by numerous identified sources – as the Russian bounty story has been. Once it is out there in the public consciousness, nothing else matters. On Twitter and Facebook, the original report will be shared tens of thousands of times. The refutation, when it comes, will be passed around far fewer times. As the Anglo-Irish satirist and author, Jonathan Swift, wrote in 1710:
“Besides, as the vilest Writer has his Readers, so the greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect…”
. The special counsel concluded that there was no proof of deliberate conspiracy between then-candidate Trump and the Russians. Reams of documents have since come to light, proving multiple instances of political bias on the part of the FBI investigators. Protocols and, in at least one case, laws were broken. Still, the majority of Americans who dislike Trump to this day insist that the president and the Russians collaborated to steal the 2016 election.
So it is with the Russian bounty story. Even on the same day that General Frank McKenzie told NBC: “It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) tweeted: “Plain & simple: Donald Trump has gone 80 days without condemning [Russian President] Putin for putting reported bounties on our troops. This is unforgivable.” Despite including the word “reported,” Duckworth deliberately perpetuated an unfounded allegation for which not a shred of evidence has been presented and behind which stand only anonymous sources.
Anonymity is For Cowards
The anonymity of these sources brings up another point. Why would an intelligence official, having discovered that a foreign government was offering financial rewards to a U.S. enemy for killing American soldiers, not want to come forward publicly and reveal themselves? Because doing so would hurt their career, perhaps? Putting one’s career ahead of exposing such a scheme is nothing less than an act of rank cowardice.
Gen. McKenzie did not simply decide to issue an off-the-cuff denial, either. The military has investigated the matter, analyzing intelligence relating to Taliban attacks against American personnel over the past several years. Thus far, no connection to any agreement with the Russians has been discovered. The case is not closed yet, and McKenzie’s admission of that fact demonstrates that he is not operating with an intent to kill the story – if he were, he would have deliberately left NBC with the impression that the investigation had concluded.
The most likely scenario, here, is that The Times – probably in consultation with anti-Trump intelligence officials and perhaps even Democratic politicians – decided that this would be the perfect story to damage the president in two ways. It would maybe drive a wedge between Mr. Trump and the military and, at the same time, breathe a little air into the rotting corpse of the Russian collusion fable.
Perhaps, too, the establishment media knows that President Trump has single-handedly discredited them more than any other person in American history. For that, they hate him and they know that, if they fail to bring him down, they are finished. It is not about Russians and the Taliban – this seemingly concocted scandal is one more Hail Mary pass into the November end zone. Four more years of Trump will destroy The Gray Lady and all of her elitist media co-conspirators.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.