I think timelines matter. So let’s get something straight here. And let’s use some emojis, too. Why emojis? I’ll tell you at the end.
It was alleged by the press on Monday that, when meeting with Russian officials, President Donald Trump revealed to them classified intelligence that came from a U.S. ally. ?
After the report was published, first by the Washington Post, the bulk of conservative writers, bloggers, television pundits, and randos on Twitter called it bunk and fake news. Any conservative heretic who suggested it might be true was given the usual Trump era treatment: accused of being liberal, accused of being “unhinged” or haters, or accused (STILL!!) of hoping Hillary will soon win the election last year. ?
Over the course of the evening on Monday, this became a hill to die on. The new “smart set” got down to the business of proving that they are definitely not haters but instead know the real enemy is the Washington Post. This kind of grandstanding, when it comes from the other side, is referred to as “virtue signaling” by the exact sort of people the “smart” set pander to. You know the sort.
(I can’t hazard an informed guess why proving something to that particular crowd is so dear to the hearts of so many right bloggers and pundits, except to say that last year the group who call themselves deplorables were quick to lob accusations of grubbing for money or favor at Trump doubters, so it would certainly be fair turnabout to say the new virtue signalers are dancing for a sweet, sweet retweet high and clicks infusions.)
In any case, back to the timeline. After this hill was fought for relentlessly, after declarations of war were made and the WaPo was properly denounced as liars, and sparse administration denials were trumpeted as pure and beatific exoneration, after the ones who entertained that he might have actually done this were properly mocked and trolled, Donald Trump got on Twitter and admitted to the whole thing. ??
Yes, he admitted to it. Sorry, spin doctors, but that is precisely what happened. Trump said he did it, and McMaster, who only hours earlier called the story false, admitted it as well. Trump shared the intel. And his new reasoning was essentially ‘because I can.’ He did it, he’s glad, screw you. Not in itself a terrible way to handle some things, mind you, but it’s definitely NOT “this didn’t happen.”
Now you may wonder whether the above-mentioned conservative panderers were forced to eat their unequivocal declarations of absolute falsehood on the part of the WaPo, and the answer would be “no.” They ate no such thing. They simply changed their argument just like McMaster did. “Yeah, he shared the intel. So what? He’s legally permitted to do so and also he won.” ?
That was Tuesday morning. This new reasoning was then offered repeatedly throughout the day, shored up by the secondary argument of “oh now the media cares but why not when Clinton blank blank blank??”
So now it’s Tuesday night (as I write this) and there is another Big Story out there. This one is from the New York Times and it’s about a supposed memo they had read to them over the phone by some guy. I wouldn’t call it poorly sourced. “Comically” sourced, I think is more appropriate. In the wake of it, the same conservatives are skeptical to the exact same degree, with the exact same amount of fervor, and with the exact same level of contempt for any who dare not immediately exonerate Trump as they had on Monday night.
Two stories in 24 hours, one credible and well-sourced, one comically sourced and completely without context. But the exact same reaction from Republican and Trumpublican media figures and writers. And that matters.
A favorite talking point on the right is that the MSM deserves no credibility when they freak out about Trump because they freak out about every Republican. Democrats, liberals, the left, the press, they all melted down over Romney with the same fervor, the same level of contempt, the same skepticism of motives. John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Donald Trump get the exact same reaction. See where I’m going here?
If we can’t trust the MSM because they can’t be discerning and differentiate one Republican from another, why should we trust conservative pundits who can’t be discerning and differentiate between one news report and another?
Of course, this comparison won’t matter to them. They won’t care. Because screw you. You see? They’ve adopted the Trump doctrine.
Trump’s answer to the charge that he shared sensitive information that he ought not to have shared was “I did it, I’m glad, screw you,” and that’s exactly how some Republican outlets are about everything now. They justify it because they are fighting the war, they say, they know the enemy, they claim, and the time for half-measures and kid gloves is over. Or whatever “tough guy” language they choose to clumsily adopt. It’s become a matter of defend at all costs. It’s sad. ?
Republicans or conservatives or Trumpists or whatever you want to call them – the right side of politics – is still in a civil war. The same one from last year: The Trump War. The only difference is that there’s a new faction who are desperate to prove they aren’t *gasp* #NeverTrump. Somehow, the mad scramble to prove they can praise Trump when he does something right has devolved and warped into a sustained and relentless defense of Trump against any criticism. ? Their favorite weapon is to accuse others of hating Trump or refusing to give him a chance, but that is not actually the thing they expect of you.
They expect you to pick up a rifle and man a post with them. To defend him, Trump the bringer of chaos, against any and all attackers. Because the media isn’t fair. (Another favorite Trumpism that is fully adopted now.) They have become him. Destroyer of worlds. No apologies.
I would add now, as I have in the past, that for people who constantly pat themselves on the back for knowing who the “real” enemy is, they sure spend a lot of time fighting with and trashing fellow republicans for the mere and fleeting sin of not embracing this one particular politician. If “don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good” was a rationale for accepting Trump, why isn’t it rationale for remaining allies with those who agree with you about everything BUT Trump? Funny, that.
Yes, the media are still biased jerks. Yes, there are many guilty parties here and it’s a complicated issue. But the point is, these were plausible accusations in both cases. No, that doesn’t make them true, but neither does the fact that the MSM reported them make them untrue. Trump hasn’t changed from last year when you were saying you would “hold your nose” and vote for him He’s the same guy. You’re just becoming nose blind.
But good job on Gorsuch, though. #Praise
Oh, the emojis? Simple. I used them, I’m glad, screw you. That’s why. ?