Traditionalists in the media and elsewhere keep moaning about the modern death of what they call "investigative journalism": there are now so many people who are willing to write articles and blog posts for free that very few people are able to make a living writing serious news. This doesn't matter much for opinion pieces because the cost of keystrokes and posting an article is quite low, as we here at Scragged well know, but payment for information received matters when people need to know about complicated topics.
To give credit where credit is due, Time magazine paid journalist Steven Brill to spend a year trying to figure out why health care prices were so high and so difficult to understand. This produced a long report which, if nothing else, offered a sound understanding of the mind-boggling complexity of medical pricing. This did our society the worthy service of making it clear that fixing health care will not be at all simple.
Not long after publishing his magnum opus, Mr. Brill had a heart attack for which his insurance paid $190,000. His second article, this time from a user's perspective, emphasized once again how hard it will be to do anything reasonable about our medical system. As Mr. Brill put it, "When you're dying on a gurney, you aren't worried about price."
By covering his salary and benefits, Time insured Mr. Brill against the possibility that his year of work wouldn't turn up anything worth publishing, and they reaped the reward of their investment in his research. This sort of in-depth report is very difficult for a writer without some sort of income guarantee.
The fate of the Encyclopedia Britannica illustrates the perils of the modern "information yearns to be free" ethos. After more than a century of storied excellence, the Britannica has essentially gone out of business. Its paid staff has been replaced by the "crowd-source" team at Wikipedia who write for ego gratification or out of wanting to contribute to society. Yet even without having to pay writers, Wikipedia, along with the Guardian newspaper in the UK and an increasing number of other once-great media names claims to live perpetually at the edge of bankruptcy.
American media's supposed "finest hour" of investigative journalism was uncovering the cover-ups that led to the resignation of President Nixon back in 1974. Our media claims to be unable to afford that sort of effort any more, and even if they could, they've demonstrated over and over that they're disinclined to criticize the many obvious crimes of Democrat administrations. They have to find something else to keep them occupied when a donkey is in office.
You might think that President Donald Trump would be the last person to have a similar problem. Not only is he personally a billionaire, but he is now at the helm of a vast bureaucracy funded by Your Tax Dollars forcibly extracted. Any sort of investigating he wants done, he ought to be able to accomplish with a quick phone call.
Yet he isn't taking this route. This past weekend, instead of calling in his Justice Department to investigate allegations that President Obama tapped the phones of Candidate Trump using special secret powers intended for only the most sensitive of anti-terrorist operations - a crime which, if proven, would make Watergate look like child's play - he instead decided to tweet the accusations to the world without presenting any actual evidence.
The media predictably saw this as insanity, but if you realize that Mr. Trump has every reason to trust neither the media nor his own intelligence and investigative agencies, it's actually an act of disruptive brilliance.
In short, President Trump has figured out how to crowd-source investigations into the lies and misrepresentation of liberal politicians and liberal bureaucrats who infest our government, dragging secrets into open sunlight despite the massed best efforts of elites of all stripes.
Consider Trump's accusations that "three million illegals voted for Hillary." The MSM has spent so much time ridiculing this perfectly credible accusation that they barely reported his directive to all secretaries of state that they verify their voter lists. They've also overlooked a lot of actual, as opposed to fake, illegal activity:
"As PILF previously reported, these eight problematic jurisdictions had more than 1,000 alien voters removed from the rolls in years past with roughly 20 percent casting ballots before being caught."
This is in Virginia, which, unlike California, doesn't issue drivers' licenses to illegals, yet apparently lack of identification is no obstacle to their registering to vote, particularly if the governor won't let anyone ask prospective voters for proof of anything.
Our media have been accusing many of Mr. Trump's associates of having illicit contact with Russian officials. Mr. Trump has pointed out that Nancy Pelosi and Claire McCaskill, both prominent Democrats, have shared food with Russian officials and lied about it, so there must not be anything wrong with doing this. Indeed, Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions' meeting with the Russian ambassador was set up by Obama administration officials who are now calling it the next thing to treason.
The Washington Free Beacon and multiple other news outlets have reported on a campaign by former Obama administration officials and loyalists to leak highly classified information in a bid to handicap the Trump administration. President Trump pointed out that the leaking of classified transcripts of supposed recordings of conversations between his associates and Russian officials was good for jail time. Indeed, the Obama administration prosecuted more leakers under the Espionage Act than any previous administration, but all of a sudden, illegally revealing classified information is just as fine for low-level government employees as it was for Hillary.
It's obvious that no truth will be forthcoming from the regular media, nor from the Obama appointees and moles who infest the ranks of our investigative agencies. With The Donald's encouragement, however, other organizations are seeking the truth.
The CIA and Departments of Justice and Treasury are being sued by a prominent legal organization for their role in leaking highly classified material as part of an effort to undermine the credibility of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to an announcement.
Judicial Watch is justly famous for doggedly
pursuing all the details of Hillary's illegal mail server when the
Republicans, who controlled Congress at the time, ignored this. They too are doing the job the
media won't do, not directly at Trump's behest but the end result will
be the same.
When Mr. Trump accused the Obama administration of wiretapping his associates in Trump Tower, the media had the vapors en masse. You'd think that all the ex-Obama Administration officials would leap at the chance to deny these smears and brand Mr. Trump once again as a liar.
You would be wrong; the denials are becoming more and more pro forma, riddled with weasel words and evasions. The best Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis could come up with was,
Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.
That is a plain lie. Mr. Obama ordered our military to track and kill an American citizen named Anwar al-Awlaki who was suspected, but never convicted, of cooperating with what the US considers to be terrorist groups.
The denial might be true in this specific case: odds are, Mr. Obama didn't know about the wiretaps in advance. It's easy to believe that his underlings took their cue from his criticisms of his political enemies and bent the law to attack them. This is how it came to pass that the IRS held up tax registrations for conservative organizations without Mr. Obama having to order Lois Lerner to do that during any of her dozens of meetings with him.
The credibility of Mr. Obama's denial took a hit from the recent Wikileak which showed that the CIA has always had the means to spy on Mr. Trump and his associates via their cell phones, computers, and who knows what else? How many Americans who remember the IRS scandal will believe anyone's assertions that they didn't do it?
Notice that Mr. Lewis never said the wiretapping didn't happen, nor that President Obama knew nothing about it. He may very well know that a zealous underling did him a "favor," just as he was proven to have known about Lois Lerner's lawbreaking long before it appeared in the papers. The question now becomes, what did Mr. Obama know and when did he know it?
We'll never get the answer to this question from the media because they'll never ask. Thanks to the Internet and President Trump's massive megaphone, though, there is every likelihood that the facts will be ferreted out by some other source. Mr. Trump has aroused an army of American citizens who happen to know one little piece of the truth and think their fellow citizens deserve to know the whole truth.
One of the reasons we favored Mr. Trump for the Republican nomination over his rivals was his proven ability to force the MSM to publish his attacks on Hillary even through the smokescreen of vehement media denials. His core competence of getting his message delivered despite the very best media efforts to block, lie, misdirect, and otherwise fail in their duty to view all politicians with alarm is required of Republicans of late because of the vast number of lies the MSM tells to promote liberal causes and damage Republicans at all levels.
Since Mr. Trump can't trust the investigative arm of the government, and knows the media is fighting exclusively for the other side, he's taking advantage of the one powerful ally he has - the American people who voted for him - and crowd-sourcing the investigations instead. By repeatedly setting the media's hair on fire, he's raising such an almighty cloud of smoke that everybody is paying attention to whatever will eventually emerge. Go Trump!
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.