Accuracy in Media

A year into his first term, Donald Trump already presides over the most corrupt administration in history, according to a story in Newsweek.

Trump has not “drained the swamp” as he promised on the campaign trail.

Corey Lewandowski, the president’s first campaign manager, came to him from a job with an “access-peddling lobbying firm.” Michael Flynn, his national security adviser for 11 days, had “troubling foreign ties.”

There’s Trump being sued, ludicrously, for violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution because he owns a hotel near the White House. Another former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was indicted on money laundering charges – 10 years before he went to work for Trump.

Moreover, there are six cabinet officials being investigated for exorbitant travel expenses.

All of this was enough for Zephyr Teachout, a radical left law professor at Fordham who wrote a book about the “corruption” involved in the Citizens United court decision, to declare this “the most corrupt presidency and administration we’ve ever had.” And for presidential historian Robert Dallek, another left-far-leaning academic, to declare Trump to be “worse than both Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding, presidents who oversaw the most flagrant instances of graft in American political history.”

Trump is not just allowing corruption, Newsweek tells us, he’s encouraging it. “The fish rots from the head,” it quotes Dallek as saying.

The lion’s share of the “corruption” Newsweek identifies has to do with cabinet members flying on military planes, a soundproof booth EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt installed in his office, the fact Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin went to Kentucky on business at about the time of the eclipse and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke flying on two chartered flights.

Nancy Pelosi was known to commandeer government aircraft to fly home to California almost every weekend. She said it was more convenient because she would not have to transfer, and the mainstream media accepted that explanation without question.

Either way, if cabinet members or other government officials are wastefully sticking taxpayers with hefty costs for transportation, then they deserve the negative publicity that comes with that – in roughly equal amounts to those at the General Services Administration who were throwing themselves lavish parties and conferences in exotic locales during the last administration.

But none of Newsweek’s reporting on Trump’s alleged scandals concerns a trillion-dollar stimulus bill the proceeds of which vanished and have never been recovered. None concerns anything along the lines of Operation Fast and Furious, in which the U.S. government deliberately armed Mexican drug lords, leading probably to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jamie Zapata.

Newsweek reported nothing along the lines of Operation Choke Point, in which the government turned its regulatory bodies against legal businesses, such as gun and ammunition producers, by threatening banks with harassment if they continued to serve these customers.

It did not mention that the only cabinet member ever held in contempt of Congress was not in this administration but the last, when Eric Holder, then attorney general, was punished for refusing to respond to questions about Fast and Furious.

President Trump certainly has a rocky relationship with the media, but no one has accused him yet of spying on reporters, bugging their phones, eavesdropping on their computers, as Sharyl Attkisson has alleged. Nor have they accused him of using the IRS to target political groups opposed to his agenda or of brazenly lying about computer disks that contained the most critical data.

No one has accused anyone in the Trump administration of installing their own server and creating a fake employee, as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson did, to avoid Freedom of Information Act scrutiny.  

These were real instances in which government power was used against citizens to keep them from doing their business or accessing information about the government they pay for and live under.

None of what Newsweek alleges about Trump comes close to these allegations – all proven – against the previous administration. In short, Trump is no worse than the second-most-corrupt president because the previous administration has him beat hands down. 




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