It’s too early to say what President Trump’s legacy will be. However, one part of his legacy is already cemented. He has caused a large segment of America to despise the mainstream media.
The mainstream media deserves to be despised. Consider the Washington Post’s treatment of Michael Flynn’s sentencing hearing earlier this week.
At the hearing, Judge Emmet Sullivan suggested that Flynn might have committed “treason” by lobbying for the Turkish government while serving in our government. In fact, however, Flynn had not lobbied for Turkey while serving the U.S. His lobbying efforts predated his brief time as national security adviser and postdated his time in the military.
Sullivan’s erroneous rant was inexcusable. Sullivan later acknowledged that there is no basis for talking about treason, and he apologized for doing so.
In emails I received that day, several friends predicted that the mainstream media would highlight Sullivan’s treason talk, even though the judge later apologized his error. The baseless shot he took at Flynn was too tantalizing for the lefty, Trump-hating MSM to pass up.
The Washington Post did not disappoint these critics. The front-page headline (paper edition) read: “Judge excoriates Flynn, delays sentencing.” The story continued on page A-7 under the headline: “‘Arguably, you sold your country out,’ disgusted judge tells Flynn.” On the same page, in a story lionizing Sullivan, this headline appeared: “Judge is stickler for proper government conduct.”
But Sullivan’s claim that Flynn arguably sold his country out was based on his erroneous view that Flynn worked for Turkey while also working for the U.S. The Post’s use of a headline that quoted Sullivan’s baseless statement — one the judge later apologized for making — displayed dishonesty and bias of the worst kind.
You might be wondering whether the Post informed its readers that Sullivan repudiated his “treason” allegation — the one that formed the entire basis of its page A-7 headline and part of the basis for the headline on the front page. The answer is yes. The Post reported this in one sentence, buried at the end of the 27th paragraph of the story.
In its shorter story about how Judge Sullivan “is a stickler for proper government conduct,” the Post disclosed his egregious error in paragraph 11. These days, unfortunately, Sullivan is not a stickler for proper judicial conduct.
At least Sullivan tried to mitigate his error by apologizing. The Post, though, undermined his effort by magnifying the error.
They say that a lie gets half way around the world before the truth puts its pants on. Here, the Post did its best to make sure the lie about Flynn circumnavigated the globe.