Shifting reactions to declassified intelligence

David Catron of the American Spectator highlights mainstream media outlets’ changing attitudes about transparency and the Trump administration.

When Nancy Pelosi decided to appease the impeachment hawks in her caucus by accusing President Trump of engaging in a cover-up, the media responded with undisguised glee. The New York Times, for example, ran a story that essentially congratulated the House Speaker for publicly goading the man. Trump responded by giving them transparency good and hard. He not only instructed the various intelligence agencies to assist Attorney General William Barr with his inquiry into the inception of the Russia investigation, but gave Barr authority to declassify related intelligence material. Oddly, the media have suddenly lost their enthusiasm for transparency.

Having already accused Barr of using his office to protect President Trump from the consequences of his fictitious crimes, the media were not pleasantly surprised when Trump issued his May 23 Memorandum giving Barr full authority to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General’s review.” That put the various “news” outlets in a position whereby they were forced to object to Barr’s all but inevitable declassification of documents relating to the Russia investigation even as they accused him of participating in a “cover-up.” This required some fancy editorial footwork.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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