After the Durham indictments, the media is pretending to take the question of why it promoted the Steele Dossier seriously. The Washington Post admitted little in the way of fault, but offered a few corrections. The New York Times ran an op-ed titled, “How Did So Much of the Media Get the Steele Dossier So Wrong?”
Come on, man. As Biden would say.
The media didn’t get the Steele dossier wrong, it got it exactly right.
The Steele dossier was an opposition research smear disguised as an intelligence briefing meant to generate a basis for legal investigations, political witch hunts and more general delegitimization of President Trump.
The media did what it saw as its job, which is helping leftists and destroying conservatives, by unquestioningly promoting it, and trying to undermine every new revelation about its provenance. How often did the media claim that the Steele dossier began as Republican opposition research? Even now it argues that the complete discrediting of the Steele dossier in no way undermines its Russiagate hoax.
The media’s treatment of the Steele dossier wasn’t a factual or ethical error. To give the media some credit, it presumably assumed that the materials were more grounded in fact than they proved to be, but the media’s priorities were and are political.
Or, as a recent New York Times interview argued, that the goal of “journalism” was to end ‘bothsidesism’ coverage and view the political landscape as a battle between “pro-democracy” forces (Democrats) and “anti-democracy forces” or Republicans.
Most media coverage now follows this familiar lens in which the media is both State TV and a political resistance, depending on who’s in power at any given time.
The Steele dossier, a pretext for an investigation of the political opposition, allowed it to play both ends of the game.
The media got the Steele dossier right. What it got wrong was destroying its credibility by becoming State TV. And fake attempts at pretending that it made a mistake, rather than doing what it did on purpose, won’t turn that around.