My favorite candidates lost in the Republican presidential primary, I admit it. And I've never seen a president use his own sense of self-importance to such strategic advantage as President Trump does.
Don't think for a minute I haven't noticed the ugly war CNN in particular is waging against the president, his family and his administration, while the vast complement of daily news goes begging.
Every day in Washington lawmakers discuss health care, the tax code, finance and banking, energy, education and any number of foreign policy issues including immigration and Korea. Where is CNN? On the Russia, Russia, Russia story.
I'm talking about 95 percent of the 24/7 news cycle, from my calculation: The network that colludes with Democrats is doing little more news coverage than building a case against the president -- never mind his family, it's Donald Trump CNN wants -- for collusion with Russia over hacked emails.
In a hidden-camera Veritas video in late June, John Bonifield, a supervising producer at CNN Health, talks about CNN using the Trump-Russia allegations to boost ratings and how directions to focus on it have come from CNN’s CEO Jeff Zucker.
When asked by the Project Veritas reporter, “But honestly, you think the whole Russia shit is just like, bullshit?” Bonifield replies, “Could be bullshit. I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now. Like we, don’t have any big giant proof.
“I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch hunting me. Like, you have no smoking gun, you have no real proof,” he adds.
Here, as reported in The Daily Caller, are five important issues CNN underreported because the Russia story crowded them out:
Sanders investigation: The FBI investigation into Jane and Sen. Bernie Sanders for allegedly committing bank fraud began in 2015, but barely mentioned, if ever, in the last year.
Va reform: On June 23, President Trump signed a bipartisan bill into law reforming the beleaguered Office of Veteran Affairs that has been the subject of mismanagement and subpar care for veterans in recent years, resulting in lost lives. The bill hastens the processes for VA Secretary David Schulkin to fire employees for misconduct, and bolsters legal protections for whistleblowers inside the department.
Regulatory reform: The GOP and Donald Trump were elected in part to roll back many of the Obama-era regulations. By mid-May, the Republicans had successfully removed 14 of the 15 Obama rules adopted at the end of his administration. Moreover, the House passed a bill that dismantles parts of the Dodd-Frank banking regulations fulfilling a major campaign promise.
War on terror: Donald Trump delegated the authority of managing troop levels in Iraq and Syria to Defense Secretary James Mattis. Shortly after, Mattis, representing a major shift in U.S. military strategy in the Middle East, announced the president had ordered an “accelerated campaign” against ISIS, no longer waging a war of “attrition” but surrounding the enemy to “annihilate” them. On June 14, President Trump delegated the authority of managing troop levels in Afghanistan to Secretary Mattis, rounding out Mattis’ control of troop levels in the Middle East.
Infrastructure: On June 7, Trump gave a speech in Ohio outlining the details of his $1 trillion infrastructure plan. The president’s plan is to rebuild the “nation’s roads, bridges, highways, dams and inland waterways” only using American inputs. The president cited the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act as a means to “leverage cash” with federal, state, and private sector funding.
The Russia story a la CNN is like a soap opera you can miss for a month, then pick up again and figure out in 10 minutes you haven't missed a thing. Only, you've missed a whole bunch of other things.
Is collusion with Russia news? You bet it is. Anything that's part of an FBI investigation to see what illegal transpired between a presidential candidate's camp and the Russian government is news. It demands daily coverage. But, folks. It's only one story in Uncle Sam's nation of citizens who care more than anything else about their jobs, their health and opportunities for their children.
Maybe that's why, as the president's first-100-days benchmark was approaching, there was almost no buyer's remorse among the voters who put him in office.
None of the media, struggling to survive in the age of the Internet, is the white knight of democracy. But CNN, all by itself, is the most mean-spirited, one-note-Johnny of the lot. In recent years it has developed a sense of itself, as if it had some unifying political purpose.
To send a clear message, CNN chooses as its chief guest analyst Bob Woodward, one of the men who exposed the Watergate scandal that toppled Richard Nixon. Its message: The press is not only here to hold President Trump accountable, but to bring him down.
Listen to Woodward when you get a chance, tone and content. It's unmistakable. He's gone from being a journalist reporting on a war to a soldier fighting in it.
You can find "collusion" defined on Google as “secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.”
In the case of President Trump, collusion is anything the media and Democrats say it is. And on CNN in particular, the goal posts are movable. Any fact that supports the narrative that Trump is an illegitimate president is fit to air, while facts that don’t fit the narrative are either uninvited to the network's panel of talking heads or quickly dismissed by "moving to commercial."
I don't know about you, but I'd like to wait to hear the FBI's final report.
The last straw for me with CNN was a near-three-minute analysis of a handshake between President Trump and the president of France.
Admittedly, the White House seems disinterested in learning new crisis-handling skills. But what I'm seeing now are Americans who once weren't so sure about Donald Trump, slowly but surely beginning to sympathize with him. CNN's strategy is backfiring miserably. It didn't win the Hillary vs. Donald war (even though Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and others made Hillary believe they would). Frankly, it's doubtful they'll win this one either.
Instead of bombarding Americans with anti-Trumpisms and preaching to the converted, wouldn't they have a better shot at winning minds and hearts in middle America by playing the Russia story straight and reporting all the news?
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith