Not that we would have expected anything better from the mainstream media, but their coverage of the Michael Cohen guilty plea last week was nothing short of a national embarrassment. Cable news pundits were on the edge of their seat, practically giddy at the idea of Cohen being the puff of air that finally blows Trump’s house of cards to the far corners of the planet. In making a mountain out of this particular molehill, supposed journalists threw caution to the wind as they breathlessly told viewers that they were looking at the first hard evidence of COLLUSION.
It was, of course, nothing of the kind.
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board took a hard swipe at the media’s “hyperventilating” take on the Cohen plea
“If you believe the heavy media breathing, Mr. Trump is now, or once again, a goner,” the board wrote. “At last here is a clear 2016 link between candidate Trump and Russia. Cohen must know more, and it’s only a matter of time before we learn that Mr. Trump was conspiring with Vladimir Putin in return for who knows what.”
The editors noted that this was not the first time the media claimed to have turned up the “smoking gun” linking the Trump campaign with the Kremlin. They reminded readers of the Steele dossier that “turned out to be a fraud.”
“As usual, the best posture is to avoid hyperventilating and size up the evidence as it emerges,” the board advised. “There is still no public evidence proving a Trump-Russia campaign conspiracy.”
No, the most the latest Mueller bombshell proves is that Donald Trump, businessman and building developer, tried to do business and develop a building in Moscow. It didn’t work out. End of story. If Cohen was less than truthful about the specific dates, he committed a political faux-pas for obvious reasons. If the entire Democratic Party and their left-wing apparatus was not trying their damnedest to prove that Trump and Putin were assaulting American democracy, there would have been no need to shade the truth in the first place. Even as it stands, this is hardly a crime of note – much less the epic bombshell the media made it out to be.
Even if we grant the point that Cohen is in legal jeopardy, it certainly doesn’t indicate that his former boss should have anything to worry about. At best, Mueller is going to try to pinch Trump on some kind of weak perjury charge, which appears to be the only thing this investigation can turn up. And since it is the position of the Justice Department that the sitting president cannot be indicted, this will amount to nothing more than a scolding report to Congress. Big whoop.
The media should be honest about the vast gulf between what they’ve wanted viewers to believe for the last two years and what the actual evidence has turned up. But they can’t, because that admission would be the end of Big Journalism forever.