Why Legacy Media Won't Cover The CIA's Alleged Attempt To Influence The 2020 Election
Authored by Jonathan Miltimore and Julian Adorney via The Epoch Times,
On Thursday, former CIA Director John Brennan “will sit for a transcribed interview” with members of the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, according to sources who spoke to the New York Post.
The interview comes days after the release of an email showing a correspondence between Brennan and former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, in which Morrell asked the former CIA boss to sign a public letter (pdf) alleging that Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop was likely a Russian plot to discredit the Biden family.
“Trying to give the campaign, particularly during the debate on Thursday, a talking point to push back on Trump on this issue,” the Oct. 19, 2020, email reads (pdf).
The email between Brennan and Morell, which was first published by Just the News, comes two weeks after it was revealed that Morell admitted in sworn testimony that he orchestrated the “Russian disinformation” letter in an effort to help then-candidate Biden win the 2020 election.
Under questioning, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Morrell why he wanted to help Biden.
“Because I wanted him to win the election,” Morrell bluntly responded (pdf).
It’s an astonishing admission. The testimony and documents suggest that former CIA chiefs used the prestige of the intelligence agency and broader intelligence community to influence a presidential election. Yet this bombshell story has received almost zero mainstream news coverage.
As liberal journalist Matt Taibbi wrote for Racket News, “An all-time media blackout is in effect.”
“Outside of conservative outlets, who naturally are eating it up,” he says, “there were exactly two serious stories done about this on the national level in an appropriate response time.”
Centrist Isaac Saul, of Tangle, concurs. “This is a big story,” Saul writes, “and it is very discouraging how little attention it’s getting from certain corners of the media.”
So why is the story mostly being ignored?
First, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first media blackout in the past few years. For several years, most news outlets refused to give the COVID-19 lab-leak theory any serious consideration. It was mocked as a “fringe conspiracy theory” and a “deliberate, even xenophobic attempt” by the Trump administration “to deflect blame” for Trump’s handling of the pandemic. When Jon Stewart dared to suggest the idea might be plausible, he faced instant backlash.
In the past few years, we’ve seen the media refuse to cover a number of stories with anything resembling journalistic skepticism. In “How the Media Fell for A Racism Sham,” liberal reporter Jesse Singal recounts the story of how a Duke University volleyball player accused Brigham Young University students of shouting the n-word at her every time she served. The mainstream media, including the New York Times and NPR, ran with the story uncritically. The only problem was that the accusations weren’t true. “There isn’t even evidence a single slur was hurled at her and her teammates,” Singal says, “let alone a terrifying onslaught of them.”
So why does so much of the media steadfastly refuse to cover certain stories? One big reason is that a new wave of young, progressive journalists increasingly see themselves as activists.
In a widely watched TED Talk, decision-making expert Julia Galef identifies two mindsets that people can adopt: “the soldier” and “the scout.” The scout is the epitome of the traditional reporter. She wants to understand. She wants an accurate picture of the situation, and she works hard to be unblinkered by ideological biases and motivated reasoning. By contrast, the soldier just wants to win. He doesn’t want to understand the other side, and he’s only interested in information that helps him defeat the enemy.
Most progressive journalists see themselves as soldiers.
They see the world in us versus them terms, and they don’t want to do anything that might be construed as helping the other side. Skeptical reporting of a claim of racism might be used by political opponents to say racism isn’t real. Credible reporting on the lab-leak theory means admitting Trump might have been right about something. Neither can be tolerated.
A related phenomenon is that many publishers are terrified of their progressive base.
Social media has enabled cancel mobs to quickly form and coordinate action against a single person and ruin careers. In the middle of protests after the death of George Floyd, David Shor, a progressive policy analyst with Civis Analytics, tweeted a study that suggested that violent protests may harm political causes. The online mob accused Shor of “anti-Blackness” and he was promptly fired.
As renowned sociologist Jonathan Haidt notes, “The Shor case became famous, but anyone on Twitter had already seen dozens of examples teaching the basic lesson … Don’t question your own side’s beliefs, policies, or actions.”
It’s not that all journalists suddenly decided activism is an essential part of their jobs. The reality is many are scared. In October 2022, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple wrote an article stating that many in the media privately agreed that former New York Times editorial-page editor James Bennet did nothing wrong when he ran a 2020 op-ed written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for the National Guard to assist in quelling violence in U.S. cities. Yet Wemple admitted journalists remained silent when Bennet was fired because they were scared.
“It’s also long past time to ask why more people who claim to uphold journalism and free expression—including, um, the Erik Wemple Blog—didn’t speak out then in Bennet’s defense,” Wemple wrote. “It’s because we were afraid to.”
If Wemple and his media colleagues are afraid to challenge NY Times staffers and woke Twitter mobs, imagine how they feel about taking on CIA bosses like Brennan and Morrell.
This is unfortunate. The truth is, the most powerful people in Washington allegedly used their clout as former intelligence community leaders to falsely accuse the Russians of sowing “disinformation” in an effort to help a presidential candidate win an election. And it worked.
That’s a story, even if many in the media refuse to talk about it.