Accuracy in Media

Looking for a new narrative after a Trump-Russia collusion story fell apart last Friday, the mainstream media circled back to Russia — and how President Trump should focus on Russia anyway.

Trump declared victory after Special Counsel Robert Mueller put to rest the narrative the president colluded with Russia with his indictment of 13 Russians for attempting to use social media and political protest organizing techniques to disrupt the U.S. election in 2016 and beyond.

The tweets, Facebook posts, news articles and other misinformation appeared mostly to discourage support for Hillary Clinton, but some of the communications opposed Trump, and the group sometimes organized dueling for-and-against rallies on the same day in the same cities.

In a series of tweets over the weekend, the president said he had been exonerated by the Mueller indictments. Mainstream media responded by saying that while Trump does not appear to have colluded, he won’t take on the Russians forcefully enough about their tiny, ineffective, insignificant effort to meddle in the U.S. election.  

Never mind that the Russians spent less than $100,000 on the effort, that it had had no measurable effect on voters and that some of the spending occurred on ads after the election. It was dereliction of duty, a violation of his oath of office, that he has not already expanded sanctions against Russia.

“Our democracy is in danger,” wrote Tom Friedman of the New York Times.

“President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way, he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.

“That is, either Trump’s real estate empire has taken large amounts of money from shady oligarchs linked to the Kremlin – so much that they literally own him; or rumors are true that he engaged in sexual misbehavior while he was in Moscow running the Miss Universe contest, which Russian intelligence has on tape and he doesn’t want released; or Trump actually believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says he is innocent of intervening in our elections – over the explicit findings of Trump’s own CIA, NSA and FBI chiefs.”

At CNBC, the headline read: “Trump blames Obama, lashes out at Schiff and Democrats, but spares Russia criticism in weekend tweet storm.”

The story recounted the president’s tweets on Sunday morning.

“Finally, Liddle Adam Schiff, the leakin monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 election,” President Trump tweeted. “He is finally right about something. Obama was president, knew of the threat and did nothing. Thank you Adam!”

It also pointed to his tweet that said, “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election. I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400-pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russia ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did.”

“Trump’s tweets fit a pattern for which he is often criticized – that he avoids directly attacking Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin, over what U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have described as widespread Kremlin interference in the campaign.”

Politicus USA headlined its story, “Adam Schiff Slams Trump for Being A Coward Who Won’t Stand Up To Putin,” and in it said, “Trump has never shown any inclination toward standing up to Putin” and that Trump “was reportedly livid when Congress passed the bill sanctioning Russia.”

Mueller declared Trump didn’t collude with the Russians, but according to mainstream media, Trump is not being tough enough on the Russians and their amateurish efforts to influence the U.S campaign.  

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