Media bifurcated bigly in reaction to Attorney General Bill Barr’s letter on Robert Mueller’s Report wrapping his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible Trump campaign collusion or obstruction.
Just because Barr says Mueller did not find enough evidence of Donald Trump’s campaign or associates conspiring with Russia to charge, and did not make a determination of obstruction, does not mean there was not misconduct or collusion or obstruction, MSNBC insisted.
The fact that POTUS could not be charged is not the end of the conversation, Ari Melber and his panel of legal pundits agreed.
“It found a lot of crimes,” Melber reminded, of Mueller’s probe. Trump, he reminded, had more criminals advising him than any president in U.S. history, at this point in their presidency.
Which, Melber added, the American public only found out about because Trump fired FBI Director James Comedy “In such a stupid and brazen way that he triggered appointment of a special counsel.”
His panelists skewered Barr for having pulled an Al “I’m in charge here” Haig when when Mueller punted on the issue of obstruction.
Barr, they insisted, should have recused himself when Mueller decided not to make that call, leaving it to others. That’s because Barr previously wrote a memo back in June, when he was auditioning for the job of AG, calling Mueller’s probe grossly irresponsible, fatally conceived and potentially disastrous.
Barr put his body on the track for Trump because, with Mueller punting, the call would otherwise have been handed off to Congress, they explained.
Meanwhile, over at CNN, Anderson Cooper gave his interpretation of a man trying to shift lanes in heavy traffic. Repeatedly he insisted it was a good day for Americans, to learn their president did not collude with Russian tampering the 2016 election, adding that if Democrats are unhappy about that it said something about them.
But CNN contributor Mike Shields, a former RNC chief of staff, warned Cooper Sunday was a day of reckoning, not just for Democrats, but for media.
“Media organizations should go back and talk to the people that shaded their coverage toward collusion, and ask some really tough questions so that the public starts to regain their trust in the coverage,” Shields scolded, on the network Trump most often brands Enemy of the People and Fake News. So much so that one of Trump’s supporters sent bombs to the cable news network.
“I believe in free media,” Shields continued ominously. “The media is incredibly important in this country,” he agreed, but said Americans have been losing faith in them for 20 years, which predates Trump in the White House. He blamed “media coverage and shading, and editors shading their coverage in a way that made it look like collusion was real.”
“Hold people accountable for that,” Shields advised CNN and other outlets. “Come out and say ‘We were wrong.’ Write some editorials. Hold some journalists accountable for mistakes they made. That would earn the American people’s trust back.”
“I’m begging media to help themselves earn the trust back of the American people at this moment,” Shields pleaded.
Or, as Fox News Channel’s biggest star Sean Hannity put it:
Hannity previewed his top-rated cable program for the coming days and weeks;