Ambrose: A news outlet that's out of bounds

Ambrose: A news outlet that's out of bounds

  • 0

Imagine you see someone standing on the sidewalk as a car passes by, going through a mud puddle that splashes all over him. The next day you read about the event in a newspaper. The headline says, “Auto Driver Tries to Drown Pedestrian,” and you realize you are reading The New York Times, the same paper that tried to make it sound evil that President Donald Trump had a telephone call with the prime minister of Australia.

The call was not all that extraordinary, just the kind of thing presidents sometimes have to do. The Justice Department, you see, is investigating whether the Mueller probe into Trump allegedly colluding with the Russians was baselessly instigated by government officials. We already have had some scary developments along those lines, and, if it should be true, this could be even worse than Russian interference with our elections. If our own government and partisan politicians get away with turning laws and principles upside down so that bureaucrats instead of voters decide with help from members of Congress who presidents are, the America republic is gone, kaput, finished.

They are at it again, with the usual assistance of certain news outlets that are more nearly views outlets. Part of the Justice Department probe concerns Australians playing a role in the shenanigans, and so, before department agents started checking out these people, Trump was asked to call to assure the prime minister’s concurrence. As a signal of the threats to our system of governance, sources of some devious kind related the call’s content to the Times, which had this to say, high up in a front-page story:

“The president is using federal law enforcement powers to aid his political prospects, settle scores with his perceived ‘deep state’ enemies and show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt, partisan origins.”

This opinion, which does not belong in a straight news story, runs counter to the fact that Trump’s phone call was run-of-the-mill stuff in this sort of situation. What’s more, the idea of “corrupt, partisan origins” of a two-year, multimillion-dollar effort finding nothing is hardly a Trump invention. It is the consequence of revelations the Times surely has noticed. 

Of course, the media focus has lately been on Trump’s impeachment-inducing Ukrainian phone call, which could be serious if Trump is proven to have had ulterior motives in temporarily withholding aid to Ukraine. The whistleblower seems to have based his or her charges on what others said, not direct knowledge, and now he or she wants to remain unidentified. The reason cited is fear of physical attack when the real fear may be that the whole truth comes out. 

This business of revealing what is said in presidential phone calls is itself frightening, to say the least. How can presidents and foreign leaders have candid, strategic exchanges if the whole world has a chance to learn what was said. Those telling us it’s wrong to try harder to protect the information would probably advise unlocked doors after burglaries.

What I am writing is a self-confessed opinion article, not a straight news story, and so I think it is OK for me to end with a sentence about the Times like the sentence I quoted by the Times: The newspaper is using freedom of the press to aid its get-Trump agenda, flatten those whose common sense gets in the way and show that this president is guilty of everything and anything no matter what the facts are.

Ambrose writes for Tribune News Service.


Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

In July 2001, a 28-year-old woman named Lori Klausutis fell and hit her head on a desk at work in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. She was found dead the next morning. The medical examiner concluded that there was no foul play, and it later turned out that Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition. There would be no reason today to publicly discuss this tragic accident, but for the fact that ...

As a child, I grew up in abject poverty with our family being evicted often. A number of times I found myself in a poor African American neighborhoods or public housing. During those times, I was often the only white child in my class. I can say in total honesty, I was never happier as a child than when I was in those neighborhoods, housing projects or those classrooms. Ever. During the rare ...

Imagine if you killed somebody on your job, and all you got that day was fired. You go into work the next day, return the keycard you swipe every morning when you get on the elevator, pack the things from your desk, toss out whatever food you have in the pantry refrigerator and say goodbye to your co-workers before two security guards escort you out of the building. And, let's just say this ...

It's clear from Jared Kushner's sticky little fingerprints and crayon scratchings all over the country's domestic and foreign policy that he's President Donald Trump's right-hand man. Why else would Trump put him in charge of Middle East peace, criminal justice reform and the 2020 campaign all at the same time? Kushner follows in a long line of such advisers tracing back to Alexander Hamilton ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News