Susan Rice! I mean, squirrel!

Sorry for the slow blogging of late.  Spent a good part of Monday hosting Jamelle Bouie– which was awesome– and yesterday catching up for Monday.

Anyway, I haven’t followed the news as closely as usual, but what I have seen is pathetic.  While at dinner Monday night, the restaurant had CNN on TV and, from what I could tell, the entire time they focused on whether Susan Rice had illegally spied upon or illegally leaked about Trump.  Of course, there’s no evidence that she’s actually done anything wrong, just lots of conservatives and conservative media pretending like they have evidence she’s done something wrong.

Yesterday afternoon, the NPR news update had this as one of the top stories of the day and then featured a news story a few minutes later that discussed how serious these allegations might be, then admitting there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.

Ugh!!!  Conservatives gin up some non-story, push it like hell, and the “liberal media” gives it all types of attention.  Very nice explainer on what’s really going on in Vox:


The Rice flap, on close inspection, isn’t a story about the Obama administration purportedly spying on the Trump campaign. It’s a story about how far the conservative media and some congressional Republicans are willing to go to muddy the waters around Donald Trump’s wildest and least defensible ideas.

Alas, this isn’t just a story of “conservative media” it’s a far more disturbingly a story of how “mainstream media” will let the conservative media set the news agenda with some new, shiny object.  Again, there’s no actual evidence, just innuendo, that Rice did anything wrong.

So who’s right? Well, the actual experts on intelligence and national security who have followed this story — regardless of their political affiliation — have nearly uniformly backed Rice.  [emphases mine] They believe there would have been nothing worrisome about Rice asking for the names of Trump officials to be unmasked while in her post as the administration’s top national security official.

“Nothing in this story indicates anything improper,” Susan Hennessey, a former attorney for the National Security Agency and current Brookings Institution fellow, tweeted. “What we’re seeing here is US officials doing jobs to respond to what had markers of a counterintelligence threat: the Trump campaign.”

There are two important things to note about this controversy. The first is that the revelations about Rice do not in any way support the president’s claim that team Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower during the campaign. The timing is off — the intercepts Rice sought access to cover the transition, not the campaign — and getting the name of an American caught up in lawful US surveillance of foreign nationals is completely different from an illegal wiretap targeting the president’s chief political opponent.

The second is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Rice’s behavior was improper.

Again, I expect this stupidity from Fox News, etc., but this shows how the so-called liberal media follows news routines, in which pushing a liberal ideology just not a concern.  Alas, following the latest, bright shiny object is not exactly a great sort of approach, either.

Image result for squirrel dug

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Susan Rice! I mean, squirrel!

  1. Terrant says:

    I think part of the left leaning media’s problem is that they are pressured into reporting falsehoods from the right. If they don’t they are branded as biased which plays into the GOP’s narrative.

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