(First rule of media: don’t be boring or too much work!)
Imagine that you have three minutes to tell 300 people your sales pitch. If you nail it, you’ll get all 300 people to buy your product. To engage your target audience, you need to keep your narratives simple and on point. Anything that requires other people to use a lot of brainpower figure out your narrative connections will come off as too much work and people will walk away and/or ignore you. This is critical for voter outreach in politics and media: if you can’t make your point inside of three sentences you will not reach your target audience. In regard to the Russian investigation, the left cannot do this……while the right can with the Spygate scandal.
There are two dueling investigations in the media- the Russian and Spygate investigations. It’s really easy for the right to explain how the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign during the election, and then tried to overthrow him after he won the Presidency. It’s a lot harder for the left to explain the current state of their Russian investigation. I’ll first explain the left’s attempts to connect the Mueller dots, and then explain how conservatives are setting their spying arguments up.
The left needs a lot of heavy lifting in order to explain how Trump is connected to the Mueller indictments (to date). Mueller has to find ties between Russian intel agencies, the Trump campaign, and Wikileaks (who obtained the DNC documents in the first place). We have Papadoulous and Manafort’s indictments, random Russian businesses charged with allegedly meddling in the election, the raid on Cohen’s law offices, and a lot of leaks about Trump finances and business ties to the leftist media that oftentimes contradict each other. However, none of the indictments are connected with each other, and some of them are in court for stuff that happened decades ago. The media wants the audience to fill in the missing gaps with what amounts to a circular argument- Trump must have colluded with Russia because Russia did bad things in the election. It’s a lot of “trust us, impeachment is right around the corner!”
(This is what I call the “Pretzel syndrome”)
Here’s where the left has to pretzel their argument. The indictments, to date, have nothing to do with Trump, his campaign, or Wikileaks. Papdoulous was arrested for lying to the FBI and the Trump campaign, which makes him useless as a witness to the prosecution (and he probably didn’t know anything). Manafort was indicted for what amounts to paperwork processing errors for stuff from 10 years ago (which may or may not be money laundering, depending on who you talk to). The Russian businesses that were indicted are too small to influence and shift voter attention during the election- and some of the Russians were made up by the Mueller team- they never existed! The raid on Cohen’s offices was likely designed to grab any information that Cohen had on Trump’s legal stuff, but it looks like desperation from team Mueller with extremely questionable legality (notice that no one’s talking about it anymore?). Oh! Maybe Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey or telling him that Flynn was a friend, or that he begged Sessions not to recuse himself! But let’s ignore the direct legal powers of the President and that the obstruction meme is a useful goalpost shift!
(This is what the leftist media looks like, right now)
All the left has to show for their investigation is lot of hot air and narrative exhaustion. If the left wanted to sell their audience on the existence bigfoot, they might have better chance of proving it at this point.
The left has to pretzel themselves in order to “tie” the various strands together to make their narrative work. It’s a lot of ifs, ands, and buts with no direct evidence pointing to collusion or obstruction. The only way that it works is if they “fill in” the gaps with wishful thinking. But the name of the game is to convince the voters’s a lot of work, and most people won’t care to do that.
However, on the right we have the Spygate investigation. This is a lot more straightforward. Hillary hired Fusion GPS to create the fake Russian Dossier in 2015. It was then used by the US and British intel agencies to spy on Trump (to help Hillary) during and after the election. There are lots of documents, emails, and text messages from various federal officials and Hillary contractors supporting this narrative. I’d recommend checking out the various text messages from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and testimony included in the House and Senate DOJ/FBI hearings and memos from the Inspector General and other departmental whistleblowers (like we see in the Nunes Memo). And there’s also a whole series of bureaucratic documents relating to the FISA unmasking and spying and also a financial paper trail with Fusion GPS and the Department of Treasury. See how easy it is to craft the narrative? This happened. Documents. That happened. More documents. And this eventually happened in the end. More documents. Boom, boom, boom.
(A lot of people on the right agree with the world’s greatest detective)
Which one will fly in the media? The leftist pretzel narrative, or the straightforward conservative one?