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Mueller report enables Trump to renew attack on media already under widespread criticism

President Donald Trump is looking hungrily at the Mueller report finding of no Russian collusion, relishing the opportunity to strike back. Trump’s communications director promptly warned TV producers against giving Democrats air time who had claimed there was evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia to throw the 2016 presidential election. (The Associated Press, March 25, 2019, by Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller with contributions from Hunter Woodall)

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat of The New York Times, March 26, 2019, accuses certain liberals in journalism and cable television of succumbing to “conspiracy-laced alternative reality that they believed themselves to be resisting.” Douthat writes that the paranoid center takes real threats and inflates them while the paranoid fringe identifies failures and corruptions and over-imagines conspiracies. But the center is more dangerous as it commands the “formal power of institutions and the cultural power” to set the agenda.

With left wing commentators Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi blasting the media for their overreach on the Russian collusion story, news outlets are assessing their record. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times defended their coverage as well-sourced and accurate. Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote the media “should (not) allow themselves to be bullied about the important work they’ve done, and must continue to do.” (Poynter, March 25, 2019,m by Tom Jones)

Michael Calderone in Politico, March 24, 2019, writes that it is “premature to castigate the news media” when no one has read the report. The Mueller report found insufficient evidence to say Trump committed an obstruction of justice crime, but it does not exonerate him either. Investigations continue and the Mueller team already indicted a number of Trump associates.

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