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News that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia during the 2016 US presidential campaign has left the mainstream media in somewhat of a quandary.
Along with fellow Trump-hating US counterparts such as CNN and MSNBC the impartial BBC had been hoping and praying that the Mueller enquiry would lead to the impeachment of Donald Trump.
That dream however is now over, shattered, broken, and not before time.
Today, the US and British mainstream media has serious egg on its face. Not only did these organisations bet the house on Mueller, they staked their reputations too – what’s left of them. As fails go the Mueller verdict is epic, the ultimate nothing burger and as such should stand as a salutary lesson in how not to do journalism for years to come.
Pity the BBC then. The broadcaster has effectively spent two years incessantly promoting lurid Trump-Russia headlines wherein it has only been too happy – eager – to echo what have essentially been talking points floated by a rabidly anti-Trump US mainstream media. The corporation has spent its time promoting the biggest fake conspiracy theory of modern times – not through any sense of journalistic integrity or duty, but simply because its management and staff hate the US president.
The BBC hates Mr Trump’s wealth. It hates his brashness. It hates the way he talks. It hates his values. But most of all it hates the US president’s opposition to its ‘progressive’ globalist agenda. Since 2016 and beyond Britain’s impartial ‘national’ broadcaster, backed by the British establishment, has been on a mission: to take Trump down.
Running with the ludicrous propaganda circulated by Trump-hating professionals however was a disaster just waiting to happen. Where it should have scrutinised and investigated, the BBC merely amplified and augmented, devoting generous time and resources to the rumours and innuendos concocted in and around the studios of CNN. MSNBC and others.
Indeed, scanning the BBC news website returns 100s of Trump-Russia stories largely based on the hunches and ‘sources’ of the US chattering classes. In other words, rather than reporting objective fact, the BBC has been happily spreading anti-Trump gossip these past couple of years, the more lurid the better. Remember ‘piss-gate?’
Take another example – BBC Panorama’s imaginatively entitled ‘The Kremlin Candidate,’ a programme which attempted to portray the American president as a Putin proxy, and whose breathless hypothesis was based on nothing more substantial than scurrilous gossip, part of a sustained BBC effort to do everything possible to undermine the Trump administration.
Browsing through what is a frankly disturbing and embarrassing BBC Trump-Russia archive should become required training for any aspiring journalist, a warning how journalism can so easily morph into hard-core political activism.
Following on from Mueller, mainstream media contrition is predictably in short supply. Fake news is re-grouping. In fact, in the US questions regarding Mueller’s probity are already being floated. The same Special Counsel upon whom the Democrats and their allies in the US mainstream media built their hopes is himself now coming under scrutiny.
Fake news has simply pivoted from doubting Trump to doubting its own counsel! Hitherto a white knight of impeccable credentials, since delivering the wrong outcome Mr Mueller has gone from hero to zero in the space of just a few short hours.
What this course of action – turning its guns on one of its own – will do for the already tarnished reputation of the US mainstream media is anyone’s guess. When the bottom is reached, just keep digging and whatever happens never, ever apologise. The media response has been as iniquitous as it has predictable.
So will the BBC follow its US counterparts over the same cliff edge of paranoia and obsession? Will Britain’s national broadcaster blindly follow the post-Mueller conspiracy theories starting to creep out from the likes of CNN and MSNBC, two networks whose credibility currently dangles by the thinnest of threads?
While there is some evidence of contrition today from Jon Sopel – the BBC’s chief anti-Trump mudraker – the signs suggest this mood of introspection will not last thatlong. Sopel has already greedily seized upon the same crumbs as the US anti-Trump circus.
Sharing his thoughts on the case, Sopel writes:
“Mr Mueller has a very interesting sentence: “While the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Yet if there was ever a time for journalistic integrity, that time is surely now. The BBC faces what should be a no-brainer but what for it will invariably prove to be a painstakingly difficult choice: follow the US media down the never-ending gutter of innuendo and gossip or act like a detached, ethical, tax-payer funded broadcaster as per the requirements of its Royal Charter.
Tough call. But it really shouldn’t be.
So, will the BBC be able to resist temptation? Will it choose integrity or dishonesty? While post-Mueller Monday brought a brief moment of circumspection, for peddlers of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory, come Tuesday it will be business as usual.