By Brian Klose
For the past three months, President Donald Trump and his administration have consistently been the subjects of numerous controversies and allegations, both as suspects and accusers. Claims of wiretapping and Russian collusion are the most recent and noteworthy controversies flooding media coverage. While these allegations certainly have dramatic implications, right now they are a distraction from the domestic political happenings taking place in the background. The threat of President Trump’s proposed budget in particular has taken a back seat to the constant coverage of the executive controversies.
President Trump and his team have been met with suspicion regarding ties with Russia since the last days of the 2016 election season. After the inauguration, various have investigations revealed a number of Trump’s staff members, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, had plausible connections to Russia. A series of anonymous investigations and leaks, notably Buzzfeed’s leak of an unverified British intelligence dossier detailing ties with Trump associates and Russian ambassadors, intensified the suspicions and have kept the administration on its toes.
Most recently, FBI Director James Comey confirmed the beginning of an investigation into the possibility of connections between Russia and Trump’s campaign. Trump quickly responded in a series of Tweets.
“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it,” Trump Tweeted. “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”
President Trump’s quick dismissal of the investigations as fake news continues his trend of damning any reports that question the validity of his position. His language, in an attempt to dismiss the investigation, only amplified the coverage, dragging it on for ffurther.
The media overexposure is especially apparent in the wiretapping allegations from the Trump administration. In early March, President Trump took to Twitter to accuse former President Barack Obama of illegal surveillance during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism,” he Tweeted.
A number of Republicans quickly criticized President Trump for his lack of evidence supporting the allegations.
“I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower and that Mr. Trump, if taken literally, is simply ‘wrong,’” California Representative Devin Nunes said.
Weeks following the initial allegations, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer alluded to possible information confirming Trump’s suspicions. Comey denied any claims of surveillance on behalf of the Obama administration.
Since the allegations arose, much of the drama has happened behind closed doors involving members of the congressional intelligence committee and revealing no tangible evidence of any wiretapping.
As the wiretapping saga continues to dominate the media, news and issues affecting the American people appear to be afterthoughts. This is especially true with the worries surrounding Trump’s proposed federal budget. While the budget caught the media’s attention immediately after its release, there has been very little coverage on its progress and consequences. Even the failure of the Republican Affordable Care Act replacement had little staying power in the eyes of most major news outlets.
The appeal of covering these controversies is understandable, but concerning. The allegations of Russian collusion and wiretapping attract immediate attention because of their ambiguity, giving reporters and pundits plenty to discuss. Covering general legislature does little to entertain a news outlet’s audience, but does the most to inform those who would be affected by it. These over-sensationalized stories do little more than distract the American population from what is really happening in Washington D.C.