As always, leave it to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to pithily assess the flood of media stories about Donald Trump Jr.’s 20-minute minute meeting with a Russian lawyer in June of 2016. Appearing on Fox’s My Story, hosted by Martha McCallum, Gingrich had a two word description for all the frenzied coverage: “fevered insanity.”
To which can only be added another two words: “selective outrage.”
The breathless reporting of this story revolves around the absolute certainty on the part of the media and angry Democrats who are still agog that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. There had to be a reason other than a bad candidate for the upset loss. So the excuse of choice is that somehow, someway, her loss is all the Russians’ fault.
“Collusion” is the word of the moment. And because Don Trump, Jr. said yes to this meeting thinking he was going to get some dirt on Hillary — which turned out to be not forthcoming — this is proof positive that Hillary was cheated. (And NBC has excitedly now reported that there was a one-time Soviet intelligence officer in the meeting as well.) After all, if an American presidential campaign is conniving with the Russians to win an election, this is self-evidently a huge story.
Over here at Newsmax in December of 2016, Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, told a story about someone who was conniving with the Russians to win a presidential election - and it wasn’t Don Trump, Jr. Here’s some of what Mike Reagan — no Trump fan — had to say.
In the closing days of the 1980 presidential campaign, while trailing Ronald Reagan in the polls, Jimmy Carter sent a political ally, industrialist Armand Hammer, to a secret meeting with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin at the embassy in Washington. Hammer asked the Soviets to help Carter win votes in key states by allowing Jewish "refuseniks" to emigrate to Israel. The Soviets rejected Hammer’s request.
In January 1984, former President Carter approached Ambassador Dobrynin in person. Carter wanted to derail President Reagan’s defense buildup, and asked for help from the Evil Empire in unseating President Reagan. It’s not clear if the Soviets gave Carter what he wanted.
Then there’s Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O’Neill. He privately told Ambassador Dobrynin that it was in everyone’s best interests if the Soviets would help the Democrats keep "that demagogue Reagan" from being re-elected. O’Neill warned Dobrynin that the ‘primitive instincts’ of this ‘dangerous man’ would plunge the world into war.
Yes, you read that right. Mike Reagan is saying flatly that in the campaign of 1980 the then-President of the United States sent an emissary literally to the Russian Embassy in Washington to see if the Soviet Ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin, would collude with the Carter campaign in order to manipulate the Jewish vote in key states in Carter’s favor. He further says that Carter tried the same collusion four years later, when Carter’s vice president, Walter Mondale was the Democratic nominee.
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As if an effort by a sitting and former American president to rig not one but two presidential elections wasn’t enough, the sitting Speaker of the House - Tip O’Neill - made the same pitch for collusion to Dobrynin in 1984.
Remember the massive media coverage of all this? The endless cable shows, the investigations by NBC, CBS, ABC and all those blaring headlines on the front pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times? Neither do I.
In his appearance with Ms. McCallum, Newt Gingrich illustrated exactly how this selective outrage works. Without mentioning Politico he referred to the ho-hum media treatment of this story that appeared in Politico back in January of this year. The headline:
Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
The story by Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern said, in part, this:
Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
…Manafort’s work for Yanukovych caught the attention of a veteran Democratic operative named Alexandra Chalupa, who had worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration. Chalupa went on to work as a staffer, then as a consultant, for Democratic National Committee. The DNC paid her $412,000 from 2004 to June 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records, though she also was paid by other clients during that time, including Democratic campaigns and the DNC’s arm for engaging expatriate Democrats around the world.
A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants who maintains strong ties to the Ukrainian-American diaspora and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Chalupa, a lawyer by training, in 2014 was doing pro bono work for another client interested in the Ukrainian crisis and began researching Manafort’s role in Yanukovych’s rise, as well as his ties to the pro-Russian oligarchs who funded Yanukovych’s political party.
The story goes on to say Chalupa was in “high demand” and “that with the DNC’s encouragement, Chalupa asked embassy staff to try to arrange an interview in which (Ukrainian President Petro) Poroshenko might discuss Manafort’s ties to (ex-President Viktor) Yanukovych,.” The story also says explicitly that the Ukrainians “were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa.”
Like the Mike Reagan tale of Jimmy Carter and Tip O’Neill, this story vanished into the Internet ether. There is no “fevered insanity” from the media about a foreign entity colluding with an operative tied to the Democratic Party and “the Hillary team”.
And why might that be, you ask?
The answer is as simple as can be. And its the same answer about the liberal media whether the subject is presidential campaigns in 1980, 1984 or in 2016.
The answer is called “liberal media bias.” A recurring phenomenon across the decades that gives the liberal media the right to say what is - and what is not - news.
Shocker, yes? No.