Trump and Russia: Is the Media’s Reaction “Overblown?”

Since intelligence agencies uncovered that Russia likely hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server to benefit the Trump campaign, the Democratic party and many mainstream media outlets have focused their coverage of the new administration around its possible ties to Russia. In particular, the cases concerning Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions reportedly meeting with Russian representatives without being upfront about their correspondences.

While the increasing extent of the Trump administration’s Russian relations may be alarming, many independent political commentators have been critical of the Democratic Party and the media’s focus on Russia coverage.

Conservative commentators, alarmed with Russian interference in United States elections, seem to revel in what they interpret as hypocritical outrage.

“[The Democrats are] right to be upset. The notion that one of the world’s worst dictators hacked the DNC in an attempt to boost another candidate’s power should be troubling,” conservative columnist and talk show radio host Ben Shapiro says.

Shapiro also points out the apparent Democratic apathy on Russia during Obama’s 2012 campaign, noting “they haven’t typically been upset about such things in the past when they benefit Democrats.”

“The important thing to remember is Republicans are bad, so if they say Russia is bad, it’s good, and Democrats are good, so if they say Russia is bad, it’s bad.” Andrew Klavan comments in a video satirizing the Democratic Party’s shifting position on Russia and the media’s apparent bias. “That’s how the mainstream media tells it anyway.”

“If people have a suspicion that bias runs rampant throughout the media, then these numbers do not put any of those suspicions to rest,” The Blaze contributor Brandon Morse writes, referencing the air-time disparities in reporting the Sessions scandal versus the 2012 Holder scandal. “This has gotten so bad that the American people actually trust President Trump more than the media itself.”

While liberal pundits understand the concern Russia poses to American national security, many are convinced that media outrage is an overreaction and ultimately hurting the Democrats.

In a critique of the media’s Russia coverage, correspondent for the progressive The Young Turks, Michael Tracey, notes, “People […] gradually come to realize that their initial furor was probably overblown, and that a more sober look at the actual facts at hand reveal that the anti-Trump chorus probably got ahead of itself…again.”

“I think a lot of this is overblown,” Kyle Kulinski, host of progressive talk show Secular Talk, echoes Tracey, citing the Democratic Party’s fixation on Russia as the reason behind the party’s 38 percent unfavorability rate. “The election interference is mostly made up. People are going too far, and, they’re being too punitive, and they want to escalate with Russia too much because of it.”

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald is also critical of the scandal’s media coverage as well as the effects on the party’s platform: “The Democrats’ obsession with Russia has not just led them to want investigations into allegations of hacking […] It’s done far more than that: it’s turned them into increasingly maniacal and militaristic hawks–dangerous ones,” Greenwald comments. “And the most ironic – and over-looked [sic] – aspect of this whole volatile spectacle is how much Democrats have to repudiate and demonize one of Obama’s core foreign policy legacies while pretending that they’re not doing that.”

Interestingly enough, backlash on the media’s reaction to the Russian “scandals” are beyond the Democrat and Republican division. Among independent journalists and commentators, concern about media coverage of Russia is widespread and transcends party lines.

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