The Nunes Memo and the death of American journalism

Savage clearly isn’t shocked. But he shouldn’t be, at least not outwardly—not in his reporting on the document. His job is to be dispassionate. On the other hand, neither should he reveal his own stark bias through deft selections on what precisely he wishes to annotate and how he wishes to do so.

Charlie Savage is not alone. The country’s liberal establishment has joined ranks in dismissing the memo. It has attacked its veracity, portraying it as a conscious effort to mislead the American people on FBI and Justice Department efforts to get a surveillance order on a U.S. citizen connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. This intense spin was on full display even before the memo was released, and then reached full flower afterward.

This was not surprising. The hysteria reflects a recent development in American politics whereby disturbing facts and suspicions, if they contradict the embraced narrative, are simply ignored or dismissed as combatants hammer away from their usual scripts. This isn’t confined to liberals; you can see it at a high pitch every night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program.