What’s newsworthy?

Because the [Steele] dossier spells the names of some of Mr. Trump’s associates correctly, to this day some in the press insist on writing that many of the allegations in the Steele dossier have been corroborated.”

They haven’t been. The dossier remains one of the biggest red herrings in American history, a thing that had no provenance that the U.S. press should have respected. Whether by accident or design, it has occluded this more important story.

Our media continues to obsess over a document any 9-year-old with Google and an inkjet printer could have created. It has no interest in a secret government report that details how a piece of dubious Russian intelligence was used by the FBI to meddle ineptly in a U.S. presidential election.

At this late hour reporters even now cling to the hope that Mr. Mueller will validate the improbable Steele allegations. Our language casually refers to the news media,” but many in the media wouldn’t know news if it bit them in the rear end. That’s not their job. To them, the story” is whatever the social animals in their milieu say it is, even if it rests on something as fundamentally flimsy and anonymous as the Steele dossier (notice even its putative author has no interest in making the rounds to defend his work).

I am not alleging partisan bias here, partly because portraying Mr. Trump’s victory as a fluke occasioned by the actions of Mr. Comey fits neither side’s preferred narrative. I am alleging a media groupthink that has many reporters falling-down drunk with credulity for the Steele allegations even as the real story passes them by. Let’s hope once the Mueller red herring has been reeled in, the press will start doing its job again and get to the bottom of the FBIs deranged actions in the 2016 race.

Holman Jenkins, After the Mueller Report

March 23, 2019


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