“Fresh Air” has been a staple of National Public Radio since 1985 and that has made host Terry Gross, 68, something of a celebrity. Gross is the author of All I did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists and many of her interviews have become classics. On the other hand, with guests on the political side, her deft critical skills and background knowledge seem to vanish. Consider the February 19th “Fresh Air” appearance of Andrew McCabe.
The former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, was there to promote his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. It wasn’t clear whether Gross had read the book, but she seemed tuned in to what the “right-wing media” said about it. For example, she cited President Trump and Sean Hannity of Fox News, both of whom used the word “coup.”
McCabe, who was fired from the FBI before he could conveniently retire, responded: “The fact that the president uses a word, or that right-wing media uses a word, or that Sean Hannity uses the same word, simply does not make it true. I mean, we know that many of the words that all three of those folks use are frequently false and, in my own experience, proven to be slanderous and incredibly hurtful. But nevertheless, I will answer it directly: To characterize those comments by Rod Rosenstein as a ‘coup’ is just utterly ridiculous.”
Gross did not probe the actions of Peter Strzok, Lisa Page et al, and their “Mid-Year Exam” and “Crossfire Hurricane” operations. Nothing about the exoneration of candidate Clinton and the “insurance policy” to be deployed in the event that Trump won. It was audio volleyball, set-up and spike. Gross also raised Lindsey Graham’s hearing about the 25th Amendment conversation.
This “will be a very short and uneventful hearing,” McCabe said. “I invite the committee, or any other committee on the Hill, to look beyond that, to ask themselves why is it two of the highest ranking officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI in May of 2017 had to even consider the fact that the president of the United States might pose a national security risk to this country. I think that would be a much broader hearing and a much more interesting and important one.”
Gross then wondered why the FBI would believe the president posed a threat to national security.
“The president was clearly dissatisfied with or angry about the existence of the Russia Investigation,” huffed McCabe. Trump insisted the director announce that he was not under investigation then the president “fires the director of the FBI” and talks about it. “All of those circumstances,” McCabe said, “put us in a position where we couldn’t any longer deny the fact that we were in possession of articulable facts that might indicate a national security threat could exist.”
Terry Gross brought up nothing about Christopher Steele and the DNC-Clinton-funded dossier. Likewise, Gross showed no curiosity about DOJ boss Bruce Ohr and his Sovietophile wife Nellie, who was working for Fusion GPS at the time. But Gross did want McCabe’s take about being fired from the FBI.
“The president has a pretty well-known and well-established habit of attacking people who say things that he doesn’t like,” McCabe said, “and he attempts to destroy first someone’s credibility so that others won’t listen to what they say, or believe what they say. So the fact that that’s exactly what he has done to me here really shouldn’t have been a surprise. I think I probably should have seen this coming.”
And so on, not an interview but in effect a staged reading. As for McCabe’s title about protecting America, Gross might have raised the case of Richard Miller, the 20-year FBI man who gave classified American national defense information to the Soviet Union, or the FBI show of force to arrest Roger Stone. That and a lot more escaped notice, but the show still proved enlightening.
Establishment media outlets like CNN and MSNBC also fail to mount any challenge to the Clinton coup clan and attack their opponents in the “right-wing media.” The difference with Terry Gross and “Fresh Air” is that National Public Radio gets funding from the federal government. American taxpayers don’t get the evenhanded approach they have a right to expect. The same is true on the Public Broadcasting Service.
PBS’s new “Firing Line” host is Margaret Hoover, great granddaughter of Herbert Hoover and wife of CNN anchor John Avlon. Hoover comes billed as conservative but she’s no William F. Buckley, who hosted the show from 1966 to 1999. PBS and NPR are part of the old-line establishment media, but unlike CNN they get government funding. Your tax dollars at work.