by John Gibson
That didn't take long.
First Susan Rice as much as admitted that she had requested the unmasking of Trump and associates caught up in surveillance of foreign figures, while insisting "I didn't leak nothing to nobody."
In what can be described as a DC Minute the worker bees in the twin capitals of the news and commentary media--New York City and Washington D.C.--jumped to the defense of Susan Rice almost the very instant she was revealed as the Obama official who requested the "unmasking" of Donald Trump and his associates in secret reports on surveillance of foreign diplomats.
The general theory of the Rice defenders is that as President Obama's National Security Adviser she had the right--some say the duty--to ask for unmasking of U.S. persons referred to in intelligence reports. Indeed, she had the authority that comes with her office, but the question is why she wanted to know the names: for legitimate national security reasons, or to gather useful political ammunition for planned Obama alumnae campaign to undermine the new Trump administration.
Richard Haas, the head of the Council On Foreign Relations, veteran of the G.W. Bush White House, and frequent guest on liberal cable channels MSNBC and CNN, said he couldn't imagine a situation where Rice would have a legitimate reason to ask for the unmasking.
But on CNN on-air hosts lectured the audience that the story of President-elect Trump finding himself the subject of spying by the Obama White House is A) false, and B) a "distraction" from the real story that Trump was colluding with Putin to upend the American election. "And we see the next piece of evidence, " declared Chris Cuomo on his CNN morning show, "the next brick in this wall of what Phil Mudd, a very esteemed CIA guy calls 'purposeful deception' with this unmasking scandal, suggesting that unmasking is leaking when it isn't, suggesting that Susan Rice was undertaking this crooked scheme of surveillance of the Trump folks, which is demonstrably untrue."
OK, how's that for playing it right down the middle?
But it wasn't as dramatic as fellow CNN host Don Lemon, who promised the audience he would not touch the story because he "won't aid and abet people trying to push this 'diversion'."
However, in furtherance of this Lemon Doctrine, both he and contributor Van Jones claimed that Rice was being "tarred and feathered" for doing her job.
MSNBC decided to declare the investigation into Rice's role in unmasking Trump and his associates both "racist and sexist."
What all this mean? It means the media wants the public to believe Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to alter the outcome of the election. No evidence of that, so far, of course.
On the other hand the evidence is piling up that the Obama White House did surveil and spy on Donald Trump and his team.
The former is a theory. The latter is a face.
But in the newsrooms the fact is a diversion, a distraction from the theory.
That's how the news media works these days.