Just what is it in the Mueller report that Donald Trump and his newly handpicked Attorney General William Barr are conspiring to hide? Whatever it is, they’re doing a fairly amateur job of trying to cover it up, thanks to Barr’s almost comically glowing “summary” of the report. The real question is what we, as a nation, do next to help justice prevail. Fortunately, we just got it handed to us.
In the thirty hours since William Barr released his faux-summary, large chunks of the media have been repeating Barr’s words as if they were reliable, with many headlines even going so far as to falsely claim that Barr’s words were Mueller’s words. This has been nothing short of journalistic malpractice on a stunning level. Fortunately, on Monday night, cooler and smarter heads began to prevail. That’s when, after a painfully inept stretch for the media in general, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell returned to the air.
Maddow started off by using her Monday night show to lay out fifteen questions about what’s really going on here. She used these questions to spell out in detail why Barr’s “summary” and his actions are extraordinarily suspicious, and what Robert Mueller might have really been trying to do when Barr hijacked things from him. If you haven’t yet watched it, you should. For that matter, so should every political journalist and analyst out there who has been botching this so badly.
Then came Lawrence O’Donnell, who opened his show by pointedly calling out the media for pretending that the Barr summary is the Mueller report, and other journalistic sins. One can only hope that the points he raised tonight might prompt others in his profession to start doing their jobs correctly. If America handles this situation correctly, the Barr stunt won’t get Donald Trump very far – but we’ve all got to collectively pull ourselves together.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report