The American political and media elites that spent the first two years of the Trump administration promoting the Russian collusion hoax have some explaining to do. And not merely explaining: They owe the president an apology.
As Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday before releasing the Mueller report, “After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.”
And yet nearly the entire complex of elite media was actively complicit in promoting the biggest political conspiracy theory in American history: that Hillary Clinton lost the election because Donald Trump conspired with Vladimir Putin to — well, that was always a moving target — but to somehow deprive Mrs. Clinton of victory. What we now know definitively is that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, and a team of very accomplished, mostly Clinton-supporting, prosecutors were unable to find evidence of a conspiracy that had been taken as an article of faith by Trump haters.
Journalists don’t like being called “fake news,” but too many of them uncritically accepted the Trump-Russia narrative, probably because of their strong distaste for Mr. Trump himself. But that lack of objectivity represents a major professional failure, and it’s Exhibit A in why Mr. Trump’s taunt resonates with so many Americans. Gallup polling shows that for 69 percent of Americans, trust in the media has fallen over the last decade. Among Republicans, it’s 94 percent; for independents, it’s 75 percent and for moderates it’s 66. Only among self-identified liberals and progressives does a majority continue to trust the media. They like what they hear.