A national news crisis

Media covering Trump should take deep breath, stick to facts

The media and Democrats, someone else noted, have become like car alarms: honking the horns so much that people have started ignoring them.

 

We don’t know at this point whether the Trump administration is, indeed, causing a national news crisis seemingly every day – or if the media are going on and on about nothing.

“Mainstream” news outlets were whirring that the republic was teetering this week because Trump spilled some intelligence beans about ISIS to the Russians in an Oval Office meeting. Officials at the meeting dispute the anonymously sourced news account.

Then there’s the Comey Memo, which alleges Mr. Trump suggested that the FBI director make the probe against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn go away. Obstruction? Or, if true, an innocent hope for an innocent, beleaguered friend? We just don’t know – and it may simply be in the eye of the beholder.

Either way, of course, if he even broached the probe with then-FBI Director Comey, it’s a complete blunder by the president. Surely even a non-politician such as Mr. Trump should realize the impropriety of even hinting that an investigation of his campaign should be swept away.

Still, even months into all these contretemps, one has to wonder how much fire there is to go with all this smoke.

In any case, the nation’s capital is nearly incapacitated by it all; Democrats issue new calls for investigations and impeachment almost daily – and threaten to hold the vacant FBI post hostage until there’s a special prosecutor; and work-weary Americans come home each night to new allegations and partisan attacks that seem to shake the very core of the country’s foundation.

How much longer can we go on this way?

Again, how much of this is Trump stumbling – and how much should he be forgiven it, as our first non-politician/military veteran president – and how much are the kneejerk media being manipulated by Trump enemies across the aisle and inside the shadowy bureaucracy and intelligence “community”?

Again, we just don’t know.

We wish the national media would, as former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw implored, take a deep breath, calm down and stick to facts.

To that we would simply add: There’s never been a greater danger of reporters being used by disgruntled and ill-intentioned government workers under the cloak of anonymity. Remember: In many ways, the entrenched, murky bureaucracy is what our first true citizen-president has been sent to Washington to do battle with.

As journalists ourselves, we’ve occasionally availed ourselves of sources who felt compelled to remain unnamed for their safety. But it’s been done sparingly, and never under such an electrical storm of partisan warfare.

Maybe it’s time the anonymous sources in Washington started standing up and being held accountable for their leaks and allegations.

In any event, everyone involved in this Kabuki dance – from the president to his staff to the federal workforce to the news media – need to be more cautious than they ever have been in their lives.

The stability of our nation seems to rest on it.

 

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