Recently, Obama opined that there were no scandals while he occupied the Oval Office, which is of course, preposterous. The only reason former president Obama could make such a statement with a straight face is that the mainstream media insured that none of the rampant abuses of power that occurred during his tenure saw the light of day.
One of the reasons for the rock bottom approval ratings of journalists was their manifest lack of interest on reporting about the numerous scandals that occurred during the Obama Administration. In short, they dropped the ball and were missing in action for the past eight years.
Writing in The Federalist, David Harsanyi notes,
“Now, perhaps the president didn’t experience the fallout from a scandal, which is very different from never having been involved in one. For this confusion, Obama can thank the political media.”
After Trump was elected, some journalists claimed that his attacks against the press were responsible for creating a “Renaissance” among members of the Fourth Estate to now, after an eight year absence, hold those in power accountable. This naturally raises the question, if there is currently a Renaissance in the world of American journalism, it must have been preceded by an historical period that can only be characterized as the Dark Ages.
Harsanyi lists several indisputable abuses of power in the Obama Administration and how it makes the media’s current pretension that its sacred duty is to hold government officials (Trump, not Obama) accountable laughable.
Here are a few examples Harsanyi notes that demonstrates the double standard.
An Obama official famously bragged to The New York Times Magazine that he could rely on the ignorance, inexperience, and partisan dispositions of reporters to convey administration talking points to help push through preferred policy. Rather than being hurt or embarrassed by this kind of accusation of unprofessionalism, many reporters are more reliant on the same people than ever before.
Yet many professionals who supposedly deplore the authoritarian nature of an administration that doesn’t answer CNN’s questions were generally quiet when Obama spied on reporters. The Obama DOJ spied on the Associated Press in an attempt to crack down on internal leaks. The DOJ tapped around 20 different phone lines—including cell phone and home lines—that snared at least 100 staffers who worked for the outlet. The Justice Department spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2010, collecting his telephone records, looking at his personal emails and tracking his movements.
Color me skeptical, but somehow I doubt similar Trump efforts would be framed as a “rare peek into a Justice Department leak probe,” as if we were pulling the curtains back on a fashion show. It would be, rightly, depicted as an assault on democracy.
As I noted in my book Election 2016,
“Despite its imperial nature, or perhaps in spite of it, there was a complete lack of accountability for malfeasance and incompetence in the highest levels of the government. The Obama Administration used the IRS, to silence conservative political opponents. Lois Lerner, who was responsible for denying conservative groups tax exempt 501(c)(3) status, operated inside the agency with impunity. When her malfeasance was later discovered, she took the Fifth Amendment and went on administrative leave with full pay.
No executive administrators at the Veterans Administration were disciplined for the negligence that led to the deaths of many former servicemen. Indeed, in many instances, these same individuals who were part of the problem received promotions.”
Given this reality, all of the caterwauling by the media about Trump’s alleged abuses of power can’t be taken too seriously.