The crowd responsible for Donald Trump’s election – the pious, self-dealing Swamp Creatures he ran and railed against – have had a bad few weeks.
Their troubles began with reports that Harvey Weinstein has been assaulting women for decades. This was an open secret in Hollywood and yet no one – not George Clooney, Matt Damon, Meryl Streep and other A-listers who love to lecture Americans – said a peep until they were forced to.
Irony doesn’t quite capture the fact that Weinstein and his pals have donated millions to Bill and Hillary and other Democrats so they could rail against the GOP’s war on women. You can’t make this stuff up.
The hiding in plain sight sexual misconduct of other Hollywood figures, including Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey and James Toback, has also been revealed. So has that of top journalists, including Leon Wieseltier (New Republic), Mark Halperin (ABC News/Morning Joe) and Michael Oreskes (New York Times/NPR). The Oreskes case is especially telling because one of his former Times colleagues who said she wished she’d confronted him about his behavior was Jill Abramson; she made her bones co-authoring a book, “Strange Justice,” which included charges that several women had not been allowed to testify against Clarence Thomas during his nomination hearings.
The same crew, then, that properly attacked Fox News titans Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes for their disgusting behavior stayed silent about the rot around them.
One might argue this just makes them human. Perhaps. But their attitude becomes blatant hypocrisy when coupled with their daily denunciations of America as a sexist, racist nation filled with deplorables. It becomes truly dangerous when we add in the fact that they also espouse a zero-sum form of identity politics and then insist that it is Donald Trump who has divided us.
Because we all know that the Bush and Obama years were a giant love fest.
The Swamp also took it on the chin with the indictment of Trump’s former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, for conspiring to launder money and his failure to register as a foreign agent. That his alleged crimes are unrelated to Trump is crucial. But so is the fact that the indictment links him to Tony Podesta, the high-powered lobbyist whose brother was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair.
As J.C. Sharman details in his disturbing book, “The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management,” many of our nation’s power brokers make a killing representing oligarchs and kleptocrats. Add that to the list of open secrets.
Still, the Swamp Creatures who’ve taken the hardest hit in recent weeks are the mainstream media, who are so invested in removing our democratically elected president from office that they have abandoned even the appearance of fairness.
In their telling, the week’s big news was that a low-level Trump campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos, had tried and failed to set up a meeting with Russians promising to deliver dirt on Clinton.
Contrast that with their ho-hum coverage of revelations that the Clinton campaign and the DNC had paid for the infamous Trump/Russian dossier – and then lied about that for more than a year. Indeed, the same pundits who suggest Jeff Sessions should be forced from office for forgetting stray remarks and casual encounters don’t seem to care that Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, may have misled PBS anchor Judy Woodruff about the unmasking of Trump officials in foreign surveillance intercepts.
While mainstream outlets see grave threats in a trip to Russia by another low-level campaign volunteer, Carter Page, they dismiss the $145 million in donations the Clinton Foundation received from people connected to the Uranium One deal.
The elite media continue to push the debunked notion that Russian Facebook ads impacted the election. They are also working overtime to misrepresent conservative questions about Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. One would never guess from Nicholas Kristof’s column, “Robert Mueller in the crosshairs,” that those concerns revolve around the key role played by the FBI, which Mueller headed until 2013, in the Uranium One deal and the dossier.
At bottom, their argument is that the powers that be are beyond reproach. To question their conduct is a distraction that risks a constitutional crisis.
The mounting evidence tells us otherwise.
Contributing columnist J. Peder Zane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.