Entry from May 13, 2020

Though he may take small comfort in the fact, the government prosecution that all but ruined General Michael Flynn should be a good lesson to the half of the country that still pays any attention to what the media have to say. If the ever holier-than-thou press corps are incapable of admitting to error in a case of so obvious an injustice as General Flynn’s, you can be sure they will never admit to error, except of the most trivial kind, about anything. This amounts to a claim to infallibility on behalf of the media “narrative” — a patent falsehood and the best of reasons why nothing they publish can ever be trusted again.

You might think that the Flynn case would have offered the media a chance to regain some of the credibility lost over their obsessive coverage of the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion, which turned out to be similarly, and spectacularly, wrong. There, the sheer volume of fake news was so great that any admission of fakery would have been tantamount to suicide. But General Flynn was a peripheral figure, and the media’s stake in publicizing his crime and punishment was comparatively small. An admission of error by saying that they themselves had been deceived by the partisan prosecutors and the rogue FBI agents who, as we now know, entrapped him would have shown that they were still capable of fair-mindedness towards at least one of those they have pursued with such single-minded purpose for the last three and a half years.

Failing that, why did the narrative-pushers not just drop the whole business down the memory-hole along with the rest of the “Russian collusion” narrative and treat it as if it had never been? Instead they have re-doubled  their efforts on behalf of the false narrative even as its falsity would seem to have become undeniable by even its most fanatical believers? Both The New York Times and The Washington Post, have echoed former President Obama’s claim that “our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk” because of the Justice Department’s dropped prosecution of General Flynn.

The “lunatic certitude” (in Camille Paglia’s words) of the media’s Alice-in-Wonderland world reached its zenith with the Times headline:  “Dropping of Flynn Case Heightens Fears of Justice Dept. Politicization.” Who in this age of reason and Science can be so stupid as not to be able to see that this is the exact reverse of the truth: that it was the politicization of the Justice Department under President Obama, James Comey and others which had produced the bogus crime for which General Flynn was prosecuted? Who cannot see anything so obvious as that Attorney General Barr was correcting for that politicization, not engaging in it himself.

But I guess that this is what happens when you exchange news for narrative — except that nobody exchanges news for narrative in the first place without what William James famously called “the will to believe,” and this belief in the narrative is so strong that it must be proof against even the most solid evidence to the contrary. Here, as elsewhere, the media narrative is supreme. The narrative requires General Flynn to be guilty, and guilty of more than just a “lie” to the FBI, and the narrative, by definition, is never wrong. “Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all,” as Tennyson wrote, and faith in the inerrancy of the media narrative must be upheld in every case, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant it is.

Chuck Schumer let the cat out of the bag before Mr Trump even took office when he warned the President-elect that “You take on the intelligence community [and] they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.” How could that have been anything other than an acknowledgment that the President’s constitutional authority over the intelligence services was effectively a dead letter? So much for the “rule of law” that President Obama purports to fear for. But the rule of law is not the rule of law anymore either, not unless it fits the narrative, which is sacrosanct. At least the millions who still, apparently, believe the media should be able to see that now — and so to understand what it is, exactly, that they are continuing to believe in with their touchingly child-like faith.

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