Mueller report uncomfortable for media

Donald Trump. Photo: AP
Donald Trump. Photo: AP
President Donald Trump has received ''complete and total exoneration'' from the recently delivered report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller - at least according to Mr Trump himself.

Of course, the report says no such thing - even the four-page summary by newly appointed Attorney-general William Barr makes that clear. Yet it is impossible to look at the report's findings, at least those currently
publicly known, without acknowledging there has been a hysteria in portions of the media and public over Mr Trump's supposed connection with Russia.

The Special Counsel report was initiated, it should be noted, in the midst of an FBI investigation into links between associates of Mr Trump and Russian officials. It was not a pure political spectacle. There were legitimate questions to answer.

But for nearly two years, that report has run alongside Mr Trump's presidency as a sort of counter-reality for those still reeling from the result of the 2016 election. For many, the uncertainty around what Mr Mueller's report would ultimately conclude seemed a tonic - in the vacuum of knowledge, any predictions could be hoped for.

The slow unfolding of indictments, of evidence, of Mr Trump's lies being exposed and recast, indicated there was indeed fire to be found among the smoke.

While what we know of the report does not prove there was no fire, it certainly suggests there was not the sort of fire many pundits were predicting and, it seems fair to say, hoping for.

For all Mr Trump's foibles, it appears his election to the Oval Office was legitimate. No other president's election has been subjected to the level of scrutiny Mr Trump's has.

He benefited from hacking, he used division and slander to garner support, he had a campaign team chocked with criminals and, of course, he lost the ''popular vote''. But he won the electoral college, and he did so without colluding with Russia. The United States of America legitimately voted for a Donald Trump presidency.

The spotlight must now turn towards some of the news agencies across America which aggressively approached their investigation and reporting of the Mueller probe and the theory of Russian collusion. It seemed, at times, the reporting was done under the assumption the President was guilty before the report had been delivered.

That is a shame because, despite President Trump's constant categorising, the mainstream media is not ''fake''. Facts cannot have alternatives. Journalists are not the enemy of the people.

A fair, free, open and unrestricted media is essential to democracy. President Trump has worked to discredit that importance and he is wrong to do so. But so is the media wrong to bring itself into disrepute. Many Americans, mostly to the right of the political centre, now believe the media has done that. In light of Mr Mueller's findings, as we currently understand them, it is difficult to argue that point.

It should not be assumed the Special Counsel inquiry's lack of further indictments, the Attorney-general's ''no collusion'' pronouncement, nor the fact obstruction of justice could not be proven one way or another, exonerates President Trump of wrongdoing. It does not.

There is a school of thought suggesting the Attorney-general's initial report is not a fair representation of the Mueller report and that a collusion charge, as well as potentially more serious corruption and financial charges, may yet befall Mr Trump and his inner circle. That, as yet, remains to be seen.

There is still an awful lot of smoke swirling around not only Mr Trump himself, but also his presidency. This unfolding story is not over yet.

But as it continues to play out perhaps it is time the media worked to report Mr Trump in a more balanced manner; if not for his benefit, then for the benefit of the media itself and, in turn, democracy.

 

Comments

What are the far left knockers to do now / all trump wants to do is make his country safe and prosper again/ even in new Zealand the left wing media attacks / but ever notice the left are allowed to/ and other views your victimised

Oppositional view is not victimisation.

We're dealing with our own Homeland Security. Source of present danger is now known, and it's not the Left.

Nobody has read the Muller Report. It is reported on by the ATG.

 

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