Last week, I noted that O’Donnell’s Deutsche Bank smear, the lawsuit threat from Trumpworld, and the retraction by O’Donnell and MSNBC was a turning point in the media’s campaign to destroy Trump by any and all means.
The Leif Olson story may qualify as a turning point in the media’s campaign to destroy anyone in the administration by any and all means.
The Olson story follows the usual pattern.
Someone associated with the administration is accused of something. The accusation’s credibility doesn’t matter. The media pounces. The person is eventually hung out to dry with no support. (Shameful, but we’ve seen it happen more times than anyone can count.)
The Olson story seemed to be taking a similar turn. But then it turned. And what’s startling is that media outlets are disgusted by it.
The gist of it is that Leif Olson, a Department of Labor figure, was falsely accused of anti-Semitism by Bloomberg’s Ben Penn. Olson was ridiculing the anti-Semitism and other alt-right nuttiness of Paul Nehlen. That’s ridiculously obvious from Olson’s Facebook posts.
Nonetheless, Olson had to resign and Bloomberg is standing by its story.
What’s striking is the media’s turn on this. Media commentary on this is accompanied by “Olson is probably a bad person in other ways” disclaimers. But there is disgust at the story and the end result. And that is notably surprising.
Vox’s Dylan Matthews, toward the end, notes, “But precisely because accusations that a person violated those norms cannot be adjudicated in a court, the only way to provide some kind of protection against false claims is for those of us in the “discourse” to police ourselves, and call out allegations when they go too far.”
It’s rare in these times for there to be an admission that the mob can go too far. That there even is such a thing.
I would hesitate to call this a turning point. It may only be a bump in the road. But it is a moment of media disgust as its own determination to destroy anyone on the other side.