Beginning a season of tar and feathers

By Paul Ackerman | May 17, 2018

After what seemed to be a wintry pre-spring, we finally have turned the seasonal corner, and along with all the enjoyable aspects of true spring have come the beginnings of the typical tar-and-feathers negative campaign mailers and ads. These have come a bit early for the midterms in November, but I gather Maine’s leftists are flush with cash and think getting their digs in early is a good “investment." More on the local mud-slinging in another column.

This smear tactic is also apparent in the national media, replete with supposedly expert opinions telling us 90 percent of the time that "up is down." Given that MSNBC,CNN, ABC, CBS and NPR have such a sterling record of opinion polling and “impartial reporting” of the results — especially in the last election cycle — it is obvious their negative reporting on all things Republican is cut of the same cloth.

Of late there have been some fascinating examples of media double standards smoothly applied to national reporting. The New York Times, CNN and others steeped their columns and broadcasts with endless “expert” speculation about Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's being charged with a violation of the Logan Act for having had discussions with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition period.

The Logan Act is an arcane law from centuries ago that has never been used to convict anyone, yet it threatens penalties for anyone trying to affect American foreign policy outside of the direct U.S. government bureaucracy.

The 218-year-old law (18 U.S.C. § 953) prohibits people outside of the U.S. executive branch from interfering in U.S. foreign policy and reads:

"Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

"This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects."

Michael Flynn was simply doing his job, as national security adviser, during the transition when he spoke with Ambassador Kislyak by phone.

Fast-forward to the past few weeks, and it has been reported -- first by the Boston Globe shockingly, then elaborated upon by the Washington Post — that former Secretary of State John Kerry has held two secret meetings with Iranian Foreign Ministry representatives to undermine the Trump administration’s foreign policy initiatives in the Middle East, and specifically that relating to the Iran Nuclear deal -- the JCPOA.

No doubt this would clearly violate the Logan Act, and perhaps a few other federal statutes. Is CNN or NPR giving this any airtime? New York Times above-the-fold coverage? Portland Press Herald front page? Crickets, please.

If they cover it at all, it would only be to rationalize it as necessary to match their own bias. These are the same people who formed the Ben Rhodes “echo chamber” to sell the lie that the Iran “deal” was the crown jewel of Obama’s “brilliant” foreign policy.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu made the stunning presentation a few weeks ago of the trove of Iranian nuclear program documents his government has obtained — proving that the Iranian regime has been lying all along; it does have a nuclear weapons program and this included intentions to use ballistic missile technology for delivery — the tone in most of the media was generally ho-hum.

Astoundingly, the Iranian regime’s abject denials of all of this were given print space and airtime. No doubt Ben Rhodes and John Kerry were high-fiving over that, at least until President Trump announced he was terminating U.S. involvement in the JCPOA.

Realistically, if the JCPOA were not a fatally flawed, preposterous agreement, Obama would have submitted it to the Senate as a treaty. He did not, as it never would have gotten the votes to ratify it.

Now we get to endure weeks, if not months, of the media outlets' tar-and-feathers routine because President Trump has pulled out of this agreement to nothing, provable by no one, for which the Obama administration gave the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism about $1.7 billion in cash. If he walked across the Potomac River, the New York Times headline would read “Trump Incapable of Swimming — Crisis Ensues.”

And they wonder why the public holds the media in such low esteem.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.