2016 Election

Stepping Over Mueller’s Cadaver


- July 31st, 2019
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There are few hoaxes in the history of journalism as disgraceful as Russiagate, and few events underscore the media’s shame quite like its tragic, unintentionally humorous  coda.

Liberals expected Robert Mueller’s testimony to be a moment of truth for Trump; but it turned out to be the only truthful moment in this soap opera. How quickly fact goes to work; in an afternoon, the number one “news” story in America for two years had completely evaporated, along with the reputation of its protagonist.

Had Mueller given a lecture on German idealism, his testimony would have been more intelligible and more worthwhile. Testifying about what had been built up as the most important investigation in modern political history, the man who liberal hagiographers had likened to an American giant seemed faintly familiar with his report. To the amused shock of the Right and the horror of the Left, it was revealed that the colossal shadow belonged to a senile old man.

The real Mueller painted, in strikingly ironic visual language, the malignance and power of the national news media that contrived, out of nothing, a deranged conspiracy theory that dominated American politics for the better part of two years.

It is difficult to grasp the profundity of this farce. Absurd as it was, this Russian fairy tale was no mere comedy; it contained elements of great tragedy as well.  People were hurt. A country was torn apart. Strangest of all, it destroyed Mueller too. How ironic, that he should become a casualty of his own witch hunt.

Even those who knew that Mueller’s probe was a sham were not prepared for the comedy that ensued. After months and months of gaslighting, here at last was the grotesque, ridiculous truth. The media could spin whatever tales they wanted about an ongoing investigation. They could pivot from collusion to “obstruction” and chatter about “OLC opinions” and whether the Sphinx of the Justice Department “meant” to say that Democrats should impeach Trump during his cryptic press conference. But here was the man himself, and he hadn’t even read his own report.

Mueller’s pointless, destructive testimony made for a fitting conclusion to this pointless and destructive drama. Like the probe that he was called to discuss, Mueller was preceded by great pomp and expectation. He was supposed to deliver the most spectacular indictment of a president in modern history. He ended by exposing the media’s self-importance and tarnishing his own legacy.

This painful self-parody was inevitable. A lie like this one could only grow so big before it collapsed under its own weight. It was abundantly clear when Mueller finished up months ago that the emperor had no clothes, but the media wouldn’t leave well enough alone. Too much had been invested in the story. The hero couldn’t exit the stage without making a speech.

Mueller didn’t want to do it, but larger forces had decreed that the Bad Orange Man must go down. So Mueller was summoned to drive a stake through Trump’s heart, only to embarrass himself and discredit his own work (assuming, of course, that he was actually involved in any of the work.) His feeble performance just accented the banality of the tragedy: what was all of this national panic even for?

For two years, all else fell by the wayside of a political counter-revolution staged by center-left partisans in the press and their Democrat handlers. The country was distracted, lied to, and deeply hurt. Nothing changed when Mueller finished up without the smoking gun. Accountability did not arrive for the hoaxers, who instead subjected the country to another four months of baseless, fevered conjecture about whether the president broke the law by wanting to end the inquisition.

Through it all, the media revealed its selfishness like never before. They were out to get Trump. It didn’t matter what was true or who got hurt in the process. Americans were divided against each other, their faith in democracy shaken. People like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, who were never found to have committed any collusion related wrongdoing, were threatened, shaken down, and charged with spurious unrelated crimes. Just when it looked as though Mueller would escape unscathed, #TheResistance decided it needed him for one last impeachment push.

That any of this happened is a testament to the media’s destructive power. But Mueller is no victim, either. He was an active participant in the farce. This national embarrassment could have stopped at any point. It could have ended when Mueller realized he had nothing. It could have ended when Mueller submitted his report. But that is not what Mueller chose to do.

At each step, Mueller obscured things further. What was there to justify all the frothing hysteria, the libel, the early morning raid on a man’s home? Mueller could not say. Instead of closing the case and shutting up, he invented a singular standard of justice to penalize one specific person. Trump did not collude with Russia, neither was he charged with obstruction, but he was “not exonerated,” either.

Mueller’s even more confused testimony laid bare the inanity of the whole probe over six hours of agonized interrogation. He added nothing to the nothing that came before while muddling the whole.

Now, as they have done before, the media will congratulate themselves for a job well done and move on to the next hoax. They will pretend that they never beatified and built a national savior cult around a 74-year-old bureaucrat. Down the memory hole with Robert Mueller and all of his “bombshells.”

They will separate the Mueller report from its author and do what they can with his product. Even now, anyone who still questions the gravitas of that profound canonical work will fall under suspicion of insanity, while those who worshiped its creator for two years will give themselves a pat on the back for their devotion to the “truth.”

But the truth has, for once, come to light, and Mueller has been swallowed up in its monstrous absurdity. The media will gladly take the report and step over the cadaver.

Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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