NY Times' Desperate Post-Report Spin for Rep. Schiff: 'Hardly Evokes an Attack Dog'

March 29th, 2019 9:09 PM

New York Times reporter Nicholas Fandos has for two years spun in favor of the Democrats’ Russian collusion theory, supporting Robert Mueller and Democrats on the committee, especially ranking member (now chairman) Rep. Adam Schiff.

He did so again after Republicans demanded Schiff resign from the House Intelligence Committee in Friday’s “Demands for Ouster at Explosive House Hearing.”

The House Intelligence Committee’s first hearing since Robert S. Mueller III completed his report had barely begun when the panel’s Republicans moved en masse to demand the resignation of the committee’s chairman.

The next sentence was revealing, showing Fandos’ apparent disdain for the Republican move.

It went downhill from there.

The acrimony on display Thursday as the intelligence committee tried to resume its work on Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election laid bare the bitter divide that persists in Congress even after Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, completed his 22-month investigation of the subject....

Fandos spread seedlings of doubt against Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, spent much of his weekly news conference comparing Mr. Schiff, a fellow Californian, to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, who fueled fears in the 1950s that Communist spies had infiltrated the American government. Representative Michael R. Turner, Republican of Ohio, played the same card in the hearing room, fuming that Mr. Schiff would not accept Attorney General William P. Barr’s word that Mr. Mueller had not found the Trump campaign to have taken part in a conspiracy to undermine the election....

The Justice Department revealed on Thursday that the report came in at more than 300 pages, raising more questions about what information was behind the four-page summary released by Mr. Barr.

Fandos gave Schiff’s side.

Mr. Schiff had many questions of his own.

“You might think that it’s O.K. that the president’s son-in-law sought to establish a secret back channel of communications with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility. I don’t think that’s O.K. You might think it’s O.K. that an associate of the president made direct contact with the G.R.U. through Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks; that is considered a hostile intelligence agency,” Mr. Schiff said, referring to Russian military intelligence and a Russian intelligence hacker.

In other words, Schiff, widely suspected of leaking damaging anti-Trump rumor to the press during the Russia “collusion” saga, said nothing that wasn’t widely circulated knowledge before the Mueller report was submitted to the Attorney General.

Fandos ignored those leak suspicions and offered the shallowest of counterarguments: Schiff doesn't look aggressive!

That has in turn enraged Republicans, who have happily embraced what they call Mr. Mueller’s absolution of Mr. Trump. They say Democrats will stop at nothing to ruin his presidency, and bristle at Democrats accusing them of turning a blind eye to the Russian threat. And at the center of their wrath is Mr. Schiff, whose doughy-faced demeanor hardly evokes an attack dog.

Fandos’s defensive crouch reporting style is no surprise, after investing so much energy casting special counsel Robert Mueller as a hero and the Democrats as the new party of law and order, writing in December 2018:

Now some Republican lawmakers are speaking out, worried that Trump loyalists, hoping for short-term gain, could wind up staining the party, dampening morale at the F.B.I. and Justice Department, and potentially recasting Democrats as the true friends of law enforcement for years to come.