In aftermath of Durham report, will media hold itself accountable?

In aftermath of Durham report, will media hold itself accountable?

In aftermath of Durham report, will media hold itself accountable?

The mainstream media is being accused of "malpractice" following Monday's release of more than 300 pages documenting a detailed investigation into the alleged "collusion" between Russia and Donald Trump leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Monday's release of four years' worth of work by Special Counsel John Durham (pictured above) confirmed breakdowns in the federal justice system in how the FBI handled its probe into Donald Trump's alleged relationship with Russia. The Durham report concluded the FBI went hard after Trump, the Republican presidential candidate in 2016, but used a different standard in weighing concerns about possible election interference from Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent.

If the idea of the government picking a favorite, then using its power to affect the other guy is disturbing, that's not the biggest problem, according to author and Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett. He says the media coverage of the FBI's Russia probe picked a side too.

"It was the worst case of media malpractice in my lifetime," Jarrett said on American Family Radio Tuesday.

Hoax became 'truth' … truth became 'hoax'

Steve Jordahl (AFN)

Gary Bauer of American Values says the Durham report is all the proof he needs that the Justice Department and the FBI are profoundly corrupt. "[It] was final confirmation that corruption inside the FBI in 2016 took a hoax and turned it into – quote, unquote – 'the truth,'" he tells AFN.

Bauer, Gary (American Values) Bauer

Along with a compliant media, Bauer says Democrats used the hoax to undercut Donald Trump's foreign policy.

"They did it to try to destroy the Trump presidency," he argues. "He still got his four years – but people's lives were ruined, people were financially broken, and the president was hobbled by this corrupt action by the FBI."

And although Hunter Biden and his laptop were not part of the Durham probe, Bauer says the corruption of the FBI tainted that scandal as well.

"After having taken a hoax and turning it into 'the truth,' they took the truth – which was on the Hunter Biden laptop – and they turned it into a hoax."

Durham concluded that the FBI relied on "raw, unanalyzed and uncorroborated intelligence" to launch its investigation.

Much of that intelligence came from the infamous dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which has been discredited and challenged. More than a year ago, the Federal Election Commission fined the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton for paying Steele to produce the dossier.

Jarrett argues mainstream media had no interest in uncovering flaws in the document that would have portrayed the FBI investigation in a different light.

"They convicted Trump in the court of public opinion, and they didn't have any supportable evidence. They didn't bother to look for it," Jarrett told show host Jenna Ellis. "And what did they get? Their coveted Pulitzer Prizes.

"The conduct of the media was shameful and disgraceful," he continued, "but they don't care because their mission was accomplished. They sued Trump and they made his presidency miserable over a lie: the Russia hoax. And you know, none of them have ever apologized."

Durham's investigation resulted in charges for some, however. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement, admitting he doctored an email that was submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Clinesmith received a "slap on the wrist," according to Jarrett, and others were not convicted.

"In Washington, DC, you're not going to get a conviction [against a Democrat]. What was it, 95% of the people in the jury pool voted against Donald Trump?" Jarrett noted. "The other people involved in this will never be held accountable. The mainstream media were driven by bias. They hated Trump. They happily became the witting accessories to the collusion lie."

Media reports, analysis confusing to the public

Jarrett pointed out that televised media during the Trump-Russia probe repeatedly presented the Steele dossier as true, which led to a confused public.

The report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, released in 2019, cited Trump for obstructing the investigation but did not find collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

Jarrett recalled that two months before the release of the Mueller report, CNN was proclaiming the truth of the dossier.

Jarrett, Gregg (Fox News) Jarrett

"They were saying the dossier was mostly true. They went through various parts of the dossier and claimed all these lies were true, and they weren't," he said. "That's horrible journalism, and CNN never apologized for it. In fact, they kept that story up on their website until the report came out – then it suddenly vanished. It's a sad commentary on mainstream media."

According to the Fox News legal analyst, there's no way to hold journalists accountable other than to stop consuming their product.

"People have to stop watching a lot of these networks and stop reading The New York Times and Washington Post. Some of the work the Times and Post does is good," he acknowledged, "but when it comes to matters like this that are so politically infused [and] I open their pages, I start with the premise that they're wrong. Usually I'm right about that."

Jarrett also pointed out that former intelligence officials – he cited former FBI head James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, among others – continue to appear as expert guests on MSNBC and CNN.

"They're all portrayed in the Durham report as liars who abused their position of power. [Yet] they continue to spew their nonsense [through the mainstream media]," Jarrett said. "I guess the gullible, the naïve continue to believe what they see on television. It's up to us to tell them not to believe. It's an uphill battle."

Shocking revelations

Talking about this Monday evening on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said every American should be shocked by the findings in Durham's report.

Johnson, Ron (R-Wisc.) Johnson

"[It] reveals the fact that President Obama, Vice President Biden, CIA Director John Brennan were all briefed in August of 2016 that the Hillary Clinton campaign had a scheme to falsely accuse Donald Trump of colluding with Russia," Johnson shared.

"So, the FBI knew, for example, the Steele dossier contained Russian disinformation – and yet they continued on with their investigation, they set up a special counsel, they put America through the political turmoil of literally the entire four years of the Trump administration."

Like Gregg Jarrett, the senator urges the public to hold the media's feet to the fire.

"The real question on the table right now is will the media hold anybody accountable? Will the media hold itself accountable?" Johnson asked. "Because they have been covering this up certainly for the Democrats [and] the Bidens – and for themselves – for years now."

It's not only about the media

Political commentator Todd Starnes (right) told Ellis that the continuing anger aimed at Trump during his time in office was there because so many believed he was not supposed to win – not because of votes cast but because of efforts to get Clinton elected.

"People need to understand this is the reason why Hillary and the Democrats and the Deep State have been so enraged over Trump. We call it Trump derangement syndrome: They're angry because they knew he was not supposed to win the presidential election because they had fixed it so that he would not win," said Starnes.

"What Hillary did was a modern-day coup. They were unsuccessful in 2016 – but here's the question people need to be asking: What did they do in 2020? How did they sabotage the 2020 presidential election? Because whatever that was worked like a charm."

Starnes says the only way Republicans will win elections moving forward is to unify. But in his opinion, that's sometimes easier said than done with a potentially divisive figure like Trump at the head of the ticket.

"We've got to stand with one voice on this one issue no matter what people think about Donald Trump: This is not about Donald Trump – this is about the republic," Starnes emphasized.

"The Democrats know that the American people have the attention span of a gnat. [That's why] we all need to stand together with one voice on this issue. Donald Trump is on the ballot in 2024, but he's not going to be in 2028."

Sidebar added after story was originally posted.