Sixteen women as of now have come forward to say they were sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. Sixteen. It is an avalanche of absolutely bad news for the Trump campaign, and it is far too close to the end of the cycle to recover from it. The Trump campaign is finished. However, each and every one of these cases is years old. The tape that showed Donald Trump talking to Billy Bush, the very tape that started this avalanche, is itself more than a decade old. Some of the stories of Donald Trump are older than that. But, we are only now hearing about it. Wikileaks seems to have provided an answer as to why, as well: The collusion between the Media and the Clinton campaign.
I use the term “collusion” on purpose here. While not exactly the proper use, it’s about the closest I can come to describing what’s going on here. The Media is not supposed to be friendly with political campaigns. Their relationship can be – and should be – cordial, but it should never be in bed with one side and actively trying to destroy the other. And, of course, we all know which side is which in this scenario. The Wikileaks releases verify for us what we really already know. The Clinton campaign has relied heavily on not only favorable, but dictated of certain political events in order to orchestrate their victory. There’s really only one way in which this could all be coming out at once:
The Media withheld stories about sexual assault until it was convenient for a presidential candidate.
Think about that.
It’s not illegal by any means. In fact, the Clinton campaign should be applauded for being able to win the media despite Hillary’s own attempts to shut them out. It says more about the loyalty she commands than it does about the Media’s own masochistic relationship with the Democratic Party. Obama’s administration can spy on them, investigate them, and withhold information from them. Hillary Clinton can refuse to let them see her, much less speak to her. And yet, they’ll take opposition research, question nothing, and run it as a news story with no apparent qualms.
Further, it is a regular thing for politicians to befriend and get cozy with certain journalists, who will then treat them better in order to not lose a valuable source. The Wikileaks documents show that this was occurring regularly, and that the journalists who participated in off-the-record dinners, etc. are the ones who are friendliest toward Hillary and more hostile to Donald Trump.
Of course, there is the usual disclaimer when it comes to Wikileaks: Do not take everything at face value. Documents can be faked, duplicated, etc., and the site itself can install malware onto your computer. However, many journalists who appear in these documents have yet to either refute the documents or even express any remorse for their actions. They see nothing wrong with this.
A few weeks ago, the Washington Post put out an op-ed in which they make the case that we should stop using the phrase “The Media” as if it were an entity that existed as conservatives claim it does. In light of the Wikileaks releases, I wonder just how anyone is supposed to take such an op-ed seriously. Coverage from the Washington Post is a bit fairer than, say, the New York Times, but it still has a noticeable lean in its coverage.
It is one thing, however, to have a lean in coverage one way or the other. It is another to work in tandem with a campaign to manipulate what people see and respond to. This was the case when the Clinton campaign asked journalists to withhold critical coverage of Donald Trump, and give him as much coverage as possible to raise his profile. They worked to handpick Clinton’s opponent. If you talk to them now, they are horrified that Donald Trump is the candidate.
None of the stories that horrify them now are new. They are years old. Decades, even. It is mind-blowing that no one decided to drop any of this before now. Unless, of course, you believe the idea that they sat on it in order to destroy him in the general. What’s more, that they did so at the request of the Clinton campaign. It is not only plausible, it is in fact the most likely scenario. It’s not like the journalists just sat on their hands for a year before dropping all this. A little research, a few phone calls, and all of this information would have been out there much sooner. But, that didn’t help the agenda.
So, while some folks on the Right can (and should) take some of the blame for creating the monster that is Republican Nominee Donald Trump, the Media cannot be allowed to feel horrified for the monster they too helped to make. This is on them. They had stories, they chose not to run them. They chose to favor a candidate. They were too afraid to lose a source.
In the end, it’s not journalism if you’re doing a political campaign a solid by running a story they give you when they want it to run. It’s lazy. These should not have been an avalanche of stories to come out all at once in a well-timed assault on a presidential campaign. As many journalists as there are openly disdainful of Donald Trump, there should have been long before now reports of these stories. These didn’t just happen between his formal nomination and right now. These are decades of stories coming to light all at once. And journalists should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for either missing them or sitting on them until it was opportune for someone else.