So that’s it. According to the mainstream media, the Donald Trump – Michael Cohen bribery scandal is already over. The Wall Street Journal is pretty sure there were only four corporations involved, even though it couldn’t possibly have any way of knowing this. NBC News is pretty sure these bribes weren’t really bribes, even though anyone with a dictionary knows differently. So why is the mainstream media so desperate to preemptively limit the scope of this scandal?
Even as the Wall Street Journal was reporting today that Michael Cohen sought “consulting” fees from Uber, adding it to the list with AT&T, Novartis, and Ford, it also tried to paint this as being limited to the four companies. Here is the WSJ’s rationale: it contacted a whole bunch of Fortune 100 companies, and they all “said they hadn’t received any overtures from Mr. Cohen or had any contact with him.” Oh, okay then. As long as they’re denying it, then it can’t possibly have happened (eye roll).
Nevermind that Fortune 100 companies are so large and vast, they wouldn’t necessarily immediately know if Cohen had gone to one of its executives with his hand out. Internal investigations take time. We’re supposed to believe all of these giant companies have already managed to rule out the possibility that Cohen approached them? These must be the quickest internal investigations of all time. It’s not even possible for companies this large to know for sure yet that they weren’t involved. That’s even before getting to the question of whether we should just take them at their word.
Then there’s this abomination from NBC News which insists that we can’t refer to these payouts as “bribes” because they don’t meet the legal definition of illegal bribes. But that conveniently ignores the fact that not all bribes are illegal. Of course these were bribes. Cohen wasn’t even trying to hide the nature of these payoffs. The only question here, and the one to be decided by judges and juries, is whether these bribes were illegal bribes.
But the big question is why the mainstream media is working overtime to try to limit the scope of this scandal, even as they try to milk it for ratings. We saw the media (on the left and right) initially do everything it could to downplay the Trump-Russia scandal, for reasons that never were entirely clear. But now, even as the media plays up the Trump-Cohen scandal and the payoffs involved, it’s trying to convince us that A) no other companies were involved, and B) they weren’t really bribes. Should we start asking if major media outlets are worried that the money trial will lead back to them or their parent companies as well?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report