Hard as it is to believe, there are still Obama administration loyalists out there in the media insisting scandals are not scandals. These are just bad facts (e.g. auditing tea partyers, spying on reporters, creating a false narrative on Benghazi) on which Republicans “seize” to attack the president — for doing things like politicizing the IRS, the Justice Department and national security. it doesn’t quite make sense, but their job, you see, is to keep spirits high on the left and defend and deflect criticism of the White House.
These are the same administration spinners who said Benghazi was really important since it was a Romney scandal, whereupon it became a nothing-burger story once the behavior of the White House was called into question. We are instructed that certain things are not important (e.g. presenting a terrorist attack in a false light) and a moment later told that, besides, other people politicized other things in other cases. Somewhere. Sometime. The Obama sycophants insisted the Internal Revenue Service scandal was nothing, but then the FBI was charged with investigating it. So now it’s a really big deal that the administration has agreed to submit to a probe. As for the Justice Department scandal, well it must have been important or the administration wouldn’t have spied on all those people.
The common threads in the apologists’ tales are: 1) Nothing happened (other than four dead Americans, chilling of political opposition and press intimidation); 2) If it happened it wasn’t the president’s or Hillary Clinton’s fault; 3) Republicans are “jumping” on facts; and 4) It doesn’t matter because of 1, 2 and 3 — or maybe because George Bush did the same thing. Or something close.
In a co-dependent relationship, one side is obliged to say all sorts of silly things to stay in the other’s good graces. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of that going around. Too many in the media suspend skepticism that would be on full alert in a GOP administration. Too many parrot bogus excuses (e.g. the House Republicans received the talking points emails some weeks ago) and are all too willing to spend time nitpicking actual reporting on the scandal. You’d think the Obama-defenders were adjuncts to the White House press office. And in a way they are.
Unfortunately, in a hyper-polarized political atmosphere the temptation for liberals is to rally around the White House no matter what the facts are. This is the persistent mentality we have seen since the 2008 election in which a fleet of liberal columnists and pundits together think of themselves as members of the Obama team.
Thankfully, not all in the mainstream media are behaving this way. The pattern of abuse and excuse-mongering is apparent to even those previously inclined to defend every utterance of the White House. More and more outlets have decided that their job is to push back, investigate and confront unthruths. In doing so, they return to the proper adversarial role of the press. There will always be liberal dead-enders in the media, but now there are fewer of them. That’s good for the press, the voters and the political system.