Coverage of the Mueller probe and the closely related “Russiagate” controversy has been central to the Democrats’ strategy of casting themselves as the antithesis to Trump.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Trump’s post-midterm election decision to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions has predictably resulted in mass protests in cities throughout the country due to fears that Sessions’ removal from the top post at the Department of Justice could threaten the future of the legal probe into alleged Russian interference led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In major U.S. cities, protests against Sessions’ firing have attracted thousands of participants from Los Angeles to Chicago to Baltimore to New York, with many holding signs reading “No one is above the law” and “Save Mueller.”
Several of the speakers at the different rallies stated that Sessions’ temporary replacement, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, was a threat to the Mueller-led probe given that Whitaker had previously claimed that the probe had overstepped its bounds and that there was “no collusion” between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. No evidence has yet been released by the Mueller probe showing that any such collusion took place even though the probe has been ongoing for over 17 months.
Yet while the firing of Jeff Sessions has provoked a fierce response from parts of the U.S. electorate, what is particularly striking about these protests is the fact that other notable scandals, past and present, have failed to generate the same level of outrage and protest.
Indeed, Washington’s role in the mass murder and starvation of millions of Yemeni civilians, its repeated and continued use of internationally banned chemical weapons in Syria, and its role in arming Ukrainian neo-Nazis have all failed to generate mass demonstrations from the so-called “Resistance” led by members of the Democratic Party.
Why then, has the firing of Sessions – who was once deemed too racist to become a federal judge, who supported draconian sentences for marijuana users, and who crusaded to erode the freedom of the press and prosecute arbitrarily detained journalist Julian Assange – so incensed the “left”?
Though it may seem paradoxical, the frenzy of a portion of the American “left” that has followed Session’s abrupt firing is a perfect example of how U.S. corporate media has the incredible power to push certain issues to the forefront of public consciousness while burying others.
MSNBC tabloid coverage, Russia obsession wins top cable news ratings
Despite being the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, the U.S.-supported war in Yemen has received dramatically little media attention, particularly at the media outlet of choice for the anti-Trump “Resistance”: MSNBC. Indeed, throughout the entire year of 2017, MSNBC aired just one single segment on coalition airstrikes in Yemen killing civilians, while no segments were aired about the nation’s cholera epidemic or famine, which have reached historic proportions.
However, during that same time frame, MSNBC reported on “Russiagate” 5,000 percent more often. As Ben Norton reported earlier this year at FAIR, “in the four days from December 26 to December 29 (2017) alone, MSNBC said ‘Russia,’ ‘Russian’ or ‘Russians’ nearly 400 times in 23 separate broadcasts on all of the network’s major shows, including Hardball, All In, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word, Meet the Press Daily and The Beat.” Norton also noted that on Dec. 26, 2017, MSNBC mentioned Russia twice as often in just six hours of coverage than it mentioned Yemen during the entire year.
Since 2017, the trend has largely continued given that from July 2017 to July 2018, MSNBC devoted 455 segments to porn actress and alleged Trump mistress Stormy Daniels while not covering the war on Yemen a single time over that same time period. In August, MSNBC had well over a million viewers every day. The Rachel Maddow Show, which airs on the network and is well-known for its obsession with “Russiagate,” was the top cable news show in the 9 p.m. timeslot in August among adults 25-54 and averaged 3.3 million viewers in the last week of August.
As the previous examples illustrate, issues in dire need of media attention are often passed over by those that are more sensational and help to foment the “left”/”right” divide. Indeed, issues like the Mueller probe or the Stormy Daniels controversy are entirely partisan, meaning that the widespread coverage of these issues will keep Americans divided based on which of the two establishment-approved political parties they support.
Coverage of the Mueller probe and the closely related “Russiagate” controversy has been central to the Democrats’ strategy of casting themselves as the antithesis to Trump and his administration even though many Democrats are equally supportive of corporations, banks, weapons manufacturers, and apartheid Israel, among others.
Liberalism in the service of the U.S. establishment
The near-constant coverage of the Mueller probe by “liberal” pundits on corporate media outlets have been used deftly as the crux of Democrat-led anti-Trump efforts that have allowed elected officials from the party to avoid catering to actual Democratic voter interests by allowing them to cast themselves as “champions of democracy” defending the U.S. from alleged Russian influence.
A separate but related consequence has been to normalize Mueller-centric and Russophobic political dialogue among left-leaning Americans, taking attention away from common progressive concerns and policies like Medicare for all and halting Washington’s never-ending imperialist wars.
Ironically, the Mueller probe and Russiagate have instead helped to bring U.S.-Russian relations to a dangerous new low and have arguably done considerable damage to U.S. democracy due to its effects on social media censorship and distracting attention from more concrete election interference concerns.
Issues such as U.S. imperialism and military adventurism receive far less media coverage because the support for those policies among the political class is bipartisan. Even though a large portion of the U.S. population is against foreign wars and militarism, adequate media coverage of the consequences of those policies — no matter how immoral, disastrous or newsworthy they may be — don’t serve a “divide and conquer” strategy, and instead place both parties, and the entire U.S. political establishment, in an uncomfortable situation.
While the imminent deaths of up to half of Yemen’s population through a U.S.-supported artificially-imposed famine would undeniably make for scandalous and viral news coverage, media coverage of that story would not serve the interests of the U.S.’ corporate and political classes to which the corporate media answers even though such coverage would undeniably be in the public interest.
It is for this reason that “liberal” media outlets and the so-called “Resistance” have avoided delving into the much more convincing case that the Trump campaign colluded with Israel, not Russia, in 2016. Support for Israel is bipartisan in Washington and investigating Israeli collusion in the Trump campaign specifically as well as in U.S. politics generally would likely unveil a hidden power structure that would ensnare just as many Republicans as it would Democrats.
In contrast, the Mueller probe is focused exclusively on Trump and Russia. Though no tangible evidence of Moscow’s collusion with the Trump campaign has been forthcoming, the probe and any coverage around it has served to demonize Russia in the minds of many Americans — which very convenient for the U.S. military-industrial complex, given that Russia is named as one of the top threats to American global hegemony in the current National Defense Strategy.
The thousands of “liberals” across the country now protesting the firing of a right-wing, racist attorney general every bit as “fascist” as Trump to “protect democracy” and the “rule of law” are merely pawns in the long-standing, corporate media-driven effort to instigate a new Cold War and keep America divided.