Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center intern Ryan Foley spent a March 20 post presenting as credible a Republican congressman's argument there really is a massive "deep state"-type conspiracy going on against President Trump:
During a Monday night interview with Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz (Fla.), CNN's AC360 host Anderson Cooper dismissed the idea of a "secret society" within the FBI, arguing that the text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page alleging the existence of such a society were "lighthearted." When Gaetz suggested that an "informal cabal" committed to taking down President Trump may actually exist, Cooper dismissed Gaetz’s premise: "that sounds like a massive conspiracy theory."
Gaetz did not seem confident in Cooper’s assertion of the text messages as “lighthearted remarks”, adding “there are still messages we haven’t seen” and implying that the 1.2 million records the House Judiciary Committee has requested may prove the existence of “an informal cabal functioning in secret with a societal goal of hurting President Trump without any evidence.” Cooper remained dismissive of the idea of corruption at the FBI and an “informal cabal” at the FBI, telling Rep. Gaetz “That sounds like a massive conspiracy theory.”Gaetz again made the case that the conspiracy presents a threat to American democracy, citing the Inspector General’s report advocating for McCabe’s firing as a validation of “many of the concerns that I’ve raised along with many of my colleagues.” McCabe received a pink slip on Friday, mere hours before his retirement was scheduled to go into effect.
Along with some of his fellow House Republicans, Gaetz has advocated for a second Special Counsel to examine the work of the Inspector General and Congress in addition to taking legal action against any purveyors of wrongdoing at the FBI and the Department of Justice, which the Inspector General’s Office does not have the authority to do.
Gaetz will continue to have a hard time convincing Cooper and the rest of the media that some at “the upper echelon” of the FBI have an out for President Trump and want to use their power to take him down. The media will never openly admit it but many of them have the same exact goal.
Despite this embrace of right-wing conspiracy-mongering, the MRC's Tim Graham just five days later blamed this exact thing not on right-wing politicians desperate to defend Trump no matter what but, rather, on ... Hollywood? Yes, Hollywood:
It’s self-evident that the vast majority of our government is unelected – 536 officials supervising a federal workforce estimated at 7 to 9 million people (including contractors). But what about the secret manipulation of policy? One blatantly obvious current illustration of a “deep state” is the current and former unelected officials who hide behind a wall of anonymous sourcing as they direct the news media on how to report on government and public policy.
But if [Chris] Matthews wanted to complain about the public being overly concerned about secret manipulation of government, there is an obvious culprit in building this viewpoint: Hollywood.
First, think of the decades of movie plots centering on government conspiracies, from George Clooney’s Syriana to Oliver Stone’s JFK. The X-Files has been a movie and a TV series (now making a second run for the ratings under Trump). Everything we believe about the history of America, and our belief in the goodness of America, is mocked as naïve by films like this.
Then think of the TV shows. These days, we are loaded with TV shows with secret government machinations: Scandal and Designated Survivor on ABC, Blindspot and The Blacklist on NBC, Snowfall on FX and Homeland on Showtime. Even the police procedurals, from the Law & Order franchise on NBC to the NCIS franchise on CBS, have featured plots exposing nefarious government conspiracies.
Yet we doubt Graham will be lecturing Gaetz anytime soon about his inability to differentiate between fact and fiction.
Graham then tries to push his claim one step further:
Hollywood focuses all of its venom on Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex.” It’s easy to build suspicion about our intelligence agencies and the Pentagon abusing their Top Secret clearances for greedy ends. There’s zero chance of a plot on a large government-funded abortion conglomerate outrageously selling the body parts of aborted babies. They’d probably suggest that’s too over-the-top for a fictional program.
That might make sense, too, if 1) any federal money to Planned Parenthood actually paid for abortion, which it doesn't, and 2) numerous state-level investigations hadn't found there was no actual evidence Planned Parenthood sold body parts.
Graham would seem to deserve being mocked for going conspiratorial.