Media Frets Over Russia — But Ignores Almost Everything Else

COMMENTARY Election Integrity

Media Frets Over Russia — But Ignores Almost Everything Else

Jul 31st, 2018 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Tommy Binion

Vice President of Government Relations

Thomas is responsible for Heritage's many programs on Capitol Hill and its engagement with the administration.

Key Takeaways

We are bombarded every morning and every evening with breaking “news” about the Russia investigation.

The sanctity of our elections is very important. But to the Left, it is only important while they are accusing President Trump of collusion.

The Russia investigation has had precisely zero impact on our day-to-day lives.

Every single American is personally affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Tens of millions of Americans are now receiving a larger paycheck. Millions received a bonus of from their employer. The stock market is soaring. There are six million job openings. Best of all, the rising tide of economic growth will continue to lift these boats for quite some time.

All of this is fantastic news. It’s too bad it doesn’t actually make the news.

Instead, we are bombarded every morning and every evening with breaking “news” about the Russia investigation. There is no evidence that President Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election. None.  If you doubt that statement, consider the fact that if there were actual evidence, the cable-news networks, perhaps even the regular networks, would break in and cover that story wall to wall for days.

Even without evidence of collusion, we’re forced to consume “news” about every statement uttered by anyone in government about anything having to do with the special counsel’s investigation. The investigation leaks its latest direction, and it’s treated like a shifting tectonic plate that will shatter the political realities for decades to come.

The sanctity of our elections is very important. But to the Left, it is only important while they are accusing President Trump of collusion. It is distinctly unimportant when they are impugning voter ID laws meant to prohibit voter fraud.

The Russia Investigation is over a year old now. The 2016 election was over 18 months ago. However, not one day has gone by that this story wasn’t in the news. On the hand, the TCJA passed in December, and it generates new, positive economic outcomes every single day. Yet most Americans who watch the news have forgotten it ever existed.

It’s always been true that the mainstream media covers bad news more often than good news. Maybe bad news sells more papers, or maybe bad news has more implications for our everyday lives than feel-good stories. None of these explanations applies to the difference in coverage between the TCJA and the Russia investigation.

The Russia investigation has had precisely zero impact on our day-to-day lives. It has neither proved, nor provided any probative evidence that President Trump colluded with the Russians. It’s not good or bad news because it’s not news at all.

On the other hand, the TCJA has sweeping implications for all of us; not to mention the effect on both the short and long term economic health of our nation.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Russia investigation do have this in common: Both have sweeping political implications. The TCJA is a positive story that favors Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. The Russia Investigation, if it actually produced evidence, would be a scandal that helped Democrats in those midterms.

Perhaps it’s the difference in political results that is driving the coverage disparity. Despite all the good reasons to cover the TCJA, and all the reasons to ignore the Russia Investigation, we’re fed a steady diet of the opposite.

As a news consumer, I’d rather be treated as customer than a target.

This piece originally appeared in The Hill on May 31, 2018