One of the main takeaways from the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s “Russia investigation” is that the national media — especially the cable TV news networks — are not serving the Republic well.

For nearly two years, commentators and panels convened nightly to pick over the daily dose of “breaking news” from the Mueller investigation, acting for all the world like a coven of Roman Haruspices studying the liver of a sheep to divine the future.

And they were just about as effective.

CNN and MSNBC look particularly ridiculous at the moment. Their rooting interest in the outcome of the Mueller investigation was as transparent as the much-derided in-the-tank bias of Fox News. Having speculated endlessly and breathlessly for months and months about the potentially explosive, presidency-imperiling revelations that must surely be at hand, they were completely unprepared to deal with a damp squib, which is pretty much what they got.

MSNBC instantly lost some 500,000 viewers, who must have felt like they had been watching Geraldo Rivera uncover Al Capone’s secret vault. Or, as columnist Rich Lowry notes, “it’s also possible that the Mueller disappointment drove loyal viewers away in much the same way that people avoid looking at their 401(k)s when the stock market is down.”

“We don’t have anything new on the Russia investigation tonight and it would be irresponsible to merely speculate; we’ll get back to you when we have something substantive to report” doesn’t fill the voracious maw of the 24-hour news cycle, and it probably isn’t good for ratings either. Nor, apparently, is simply reporting the news. The pressures are understandable — but the ultimate result is that, despite a daily torrent of “information,” we are probably less well-informed now than we were when we got our TV news from a half-hour nightly newscast.

The big push now is to insist that Attorney General Barr release the full Mueller report. And he must. We paid for it, after all; it belongs to us and we should read it for ourselves. Download it, study it, mull its implications — then head on down to your favorite Sisters watering hole and hash it over with your friends. It’ll be a lot more edifying than watching Chris Cuomo or Rachel Maddow examine the pigeon entrails and pronounce upon the nature of the Emperor’s destiny.

 

 

 

 

Jim Cornelius

Editor in Chief