Friday’s release of the “Nunes memo” aptly illustrated the liberal-media cycle on news it doesn’t like. First, they ignored it. Second, when the memo was about to be released, they hammered on how the memo’s release could damage government secrets. And third, when it came out, this allegedly horrendous release of government secrets immediately became a “nothingburger.”
On NPR’s All Things Considered on Friday night, anchor Mary Louise Kelly dismissed the whole thing as a “strange episode” where the Republicans, “the party of law and order, [was] attacking the bureau charged with enforcing law and order in this country.”
Somehow, it’s not a “strange episode” that NPR is sticking up for the integrity of the FBI, when just days ago, on January 26, they were reminding listeners of the leftist view: the FBI used to be a horrible violator of civil liberties when J. Edgar Hoover was in charge, with COINTELPRO investigations targeting radical leftists.
Here’s how Kelly presented the Memo to NPR’s two Week In Review panelists:
MARY LOUISE KELLY: You have both read this thing. Is the memo a whopper of a big deal, or is it a nothing burger, E.J.?
E.J. DIONNE: It dropped not with a bang but with a whimpering splat. There is - this is...
KELLY: That sounds like a nothing burger.
DIONNE: It's a very, very flimsy, I would say McCarthyite memo....
KELLY: And you raise a key point there, which is we have now seen this four-page memo. We still of course don't have access to the classified information that is, you know, underneath it, so we don't know what is missing from this. David, what's your top line take?
DAVID BROOKS: Yeah, I wouldn't say it's a nothingburger, more of a White Castle slider - a little meat but not a lot of meat.
KELLY: Small burger. OK.
Brooks made the point that it’s “troubling” that the Democrats paid for British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier of opposition research on Trump, but then quickly stuck up for his New York Times and said the memo confirmed that the real central figure of the Russia probe is George Papadopoulos.
Dionne then claimed the Memo underlined that the Steele dossier must have had some factual things in it since the FISA judges approved warrants to investigate the Trump campaign. Then Kelly launched her Democratic talking point about the terrible state of the GOP:
KELLY: Let me ask you both how, when we are looking back on this week and this strange episode -- how are we going to see this? David, I'll put this one to you. This is -- you know, we have seen the GOP, the party of law and order, attacking the bureau charged with enforcing law and order in this country. What does that tell us about the state of the GOP right now?
BROOKS: Yeah. I think it's a war of legitimacy. I mean, one thing people should know is we live in Washington. We spend a lot of time hanging around civil servants, nonpolitical people. They generally - they're not super partisan, most of them, especially in the FBI. I was with an FBI agent recently. He said, you know, we're not even talking about this. We're just doing our jobs. These are not partisan, like, political activists in these agencies. They're law enforcement people. And they believe in law enforcement.
Brooks says this despite the obvious counterpoint that Andrew McCabe, who just resigned from the top of the FBI, was deputy director at the same time his wife ran for the Virginia state legislature taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations through Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the longtime money man for the Clinton campaigns. Once again, it's hard to tell the liberal panelist from the "conservative" panelist on NPR.