Dan Gainor: Media won't touch Russian uranium story tied to Hillary, and other epic journalism disasters

It’s been nearly a year since President Trump was elected and the media have been trying to tie him to Russia for most of it. Finally, after 11 months, there’s strong evidence linking Russia to a 2016 presidential candidate. But the candidate is Hillary Clinton.

According to The Hill, the FBI, “obtained an eyewitness account – backed by documents –indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation.” Even worse, that was “during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.”

Our guardians of press freedom ran from that story like it was the radioactive uranium itself, diving for cover under desks as kids did during 1950s nuclear bomb drills. Forget tough questions. It’s duck and cover. No wonder Americans “believe the news media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump and his administration, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.” It’s not just making up the stories – it’s hiding stories.

In response, President Trump launched into an attack on “fake media” for understandable reasons. “The problem is mainstream media does not want to cover that story because that affects people they protect," the president argued.

He’s correct.

The broadcast networks have suppressed the scandal, finding time for the health benefits of walking or a date when all major U.S. sports played, dubbed a “sports equinox.” This is the latest example of how the media downplay the disaster that is the Clinton Foundation, giving scandals at the operation almost no attention in more than two years.

We finally have a compelling Russia story and the news media report on it like they did Harvey Weinstein for decades – by cowering under their desks.

2. A General Disaster For The Media: Journalists have spent days trying to create a national crisis out of President Trump’s phone call to Myeshia Johnson, whose husband Sgt. La David Johnson was one of four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger on Oct. 4. It took Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly slightly more than 18 minutes to destroy that argument. Kelly delivered what The New York Times called “a searing, personal defense of President Trump’s phone call.”

The press conference was captivating and heart-wrenching. Kelly, who lost his own son in Afghanistan, said the criticism of Trump was unfair. He slammed Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., for her attacks on Trump. “I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” he said.

Kelly then said he would take one or two questions from reporters but with an unusual rule. “Let me ask you this: Is anyone here a Gold Star parent or sibling? Does anyone here know a Gold Star parent or sibling?” he asked. Only those journalists were allowed to ask questions.

Several journalists skewered the general, doing exactly what the media have criticized Trump for – attacking a Gold Star parent. Former Hillary Clinton spokesman turned CNN political contributor Brian Fallon outdid himself. “Kelly isnt just an enabler of Trump. He's a believer in him. That makes him as odious as the rest. Dont be distracted by the uniform,” he tweeted.

MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid was just as bad. “Just landed and thanks to spotty wifi, just learning that Trump sent General Kelly out to use his son’s death to defend Trump. Unreal.” Yes, that assessment is certainly “unreal.”

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow had an unusual view of Kelly’s actions, tweeting: “I keep telling y'all about John Kelly. He signed up to make Trump's craziness look less crazy. That make Kelly himself VERY dangerous.”

Hollywood joined in the hate fest.

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times: This was an awful week for the New York Times. Let me count the ways:

1)  A University of Florida professor filed suit against the Times and one of its reporters for a 2015 story the professor said depicted him unfairly as an “operative” for Monsanto. The case revolved around the issue of genetically modified organisms. The suit’s only for $75,000, but in the post-Gawker world, news outlets fear precedent more than smallish cash payouts.

2) Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet issued new social media guidelines to try and rein his openly biased news staff. Baquet admitted: “I’ve spent full days policing our social media.” Based on some of what has gotten through, what he’s caught must be awful.

3) Then came Project Veritas and conservative videographer James O’Keefe. He targeted the Times with his latest video exposés. Last week, O’Keefe caught one of the Times’ editors admitting he spun the news and that, his “imprint is on every video we do.” This week Baquet responded angrily, calling O’Keefe, “a despicable person who runs a despicable operation." He further said the undercover interview was a “mortal sin.” At least we finally found a Times editor admitting sin exists.

Baquet did everything he could to downplay the Veritas video. But he wouldn’t be playing social media cop if he wasn’t worried about how openly biased his left-wing staff appears. Maybe he ought to try some intellectual diversity at the Times and hire conservatives who don’t turn around and say the Second Amendment needs to go.

4. NFL Sacked by Protests Once More: The NFL protests continue and league owners are either unable or unwilling to stop them. Commissioner Roger Goodell, several owners and player representatives met this week with no clear result. Goodell released a weak statement, claiming “we believe everyone should stand for the national anthem.”

Prominent player protesters Michael Bennett and Eric Reid are continuing their demonstrations, at least for now. Unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick has charged the league with collusion for keeping him out of a job, unaware, perhaps, of the concept of cost-benefit analysis. Like all lefties, he blames Trump.

The fight has put a dent in NFL ratings. Deadline headlined its latest ratings story: “‘Monday Night Football’ Ratings Fall To Season Low As Titans Break Colts’ Streak.” That’s at the end of six weeks of a 17-week season. Where will ratings be when the NFL rushes into the playoffs? And then, as fans adjust to the reality that the players don’t respect them or the flag, how many supporters will return in 2018?

Things are so bad that broadcasters now hide the protests. But with stadium capacity at 60,000 or higher in most cities, social media spreads the word anyhow. The outlook looks bleak for what used to be the top pro sport in America.

5. Weinstein Whitewash: The news about Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood sex harassment goes from bad to horrendous. So many stars have said they were victims of either Weinstein or some other Hollywood power that their stories are getting lost in the deluge.

Director Quentin Tarantino admitted in an interview with the Times: “I knew enough to do more than I did” about Weinstein. The apology sounded especially lame since Weinstein has been a force behind many of Tarantino’s films and even threw the director an engagement party just a few weeks ago. Actress Lupita Nyong’o wrote a Times op-ed to tell of her harassment by Weinstein. And the #MeToo hashtag continues to go strong as women reveal their own stories of harassment.

Actress Evan Rachel Wood made an ominous statement on Twitter. She retweeted a story about Hollywood pedophilia with the comment: “This will be the next dam to break.”

Hurray For Hollywood: Paid cable has a reputation as the place where obscenity meets violence and gives birth to new programming. The latest example is the Showtime comedy “White Famous” that included 150 F-bombs in the first two episodes.

Actress “Hanoi” Jane Fonda is still at it, hating on America and defending her infamous visit to North Vietnam while American troops were dying fighting the war in Vietnam. Some things never change. When asked if she was proud of America today, she gave a resounding “No!” Then she admitted “I’m proud of the resistance.”

The world of Netflix did get a bit brighter. Foul-mouthed, conservative hater Chelsea Handler lost her show after two years. Handler vowed to “devote as much time as I can to becoming a more knowledgeable and engaged citizen and to focus on projects that have significance to me.” Given how bizarre and uninformed many of her comments have been, we should hear from her in the year 2525.

Hollywood celebs haven’t learned their lesson, releasing yet another clueless video that calls for voters to oppose the National Rifle Association on guns. It starred many actors who made their career in violent movies, including perennial anti-gun nut Julianne Moore. She’s currently featured in the latest “Kingsman” movie, which delivers enough gun violence to overthrow a small nation.

ABC’s “American Housewife” tried a new way to promote abortion – compare babies to ‘lice.” The episode titled “The Lice Storm” compared how one character had lice and another was three-months pregnant. “So, I also have a parasite sucking the nutrients out of my body,” one character said. 

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.