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article imageOp-Ed: Publishers circling around Mueller report, but to publish what?

By Paul Wallis     Apr 20, 2019 in Politics
Washington - The Mueller report, like Trump’s presidency, is one of the more polarizing elements in a highly polarized environment. The question now is what’s going to happen when it’s published. What will be published, what won't?
The media maelstrom
There’s no lack of news, or spin, on the Mueller report. Everything is an issue. Twitterstorms from the President and everyone else are now like the weather. In this very shaky environment, news is now expected to be opinion. The Mueller report is the motherlode for every sort of spin, and not, apparently, for any adult consideration of facts.
The Mueller report is taking up more media space than anything else on Earth. Forget 85,000 dead kids in Yemen, various wars, and a massive backlog of serious public issues. The brattish doings (or not-doings) of a few American politicians are the only show in town according to publishers of all types.
The actual legal situation regarding the Mueller report is that the report does not exonerate Trump. It says there is insufficient available evidence to charge him. That means that new information may change things drastically. Evidence standards are critically important. Mueller, the guy who laid charges against mob boss “Teflon Don” John Gotti, would know all too well what and how high those standards are.
The publishing issues
Actual publication could be a true hog wallow for publishers – Dirty, unsanitary, and full of pigs. Publishing a redacted document like the Mueller report comes with more than a few caveats and many risks.
Redaction means “to edit to remove sensitive information”. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It may also mean that some information is still current, and shouldn’t be disclosed because it may compromise other operations or legal actions. It also means that information may not be available to deliver a complete version of the information.
Redaction also relates to who redacts what, and why. Redacting any sort of document is very much a matter of judgment, and trust in those doing the redaction. That trust doesn’t exist in the American political environment just now.
The other classic issues here include the potential for spin. Does the publisher simply select what to publish? Perhaps not. Remember that there are other publishers involved. This is a public document, and major omissions won’t look good.
Some analysts say the media should not be intimidated and see the full report from Special Counsel R...
Some analysts say the media should not be intimidated and see the full report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, seen in this picture
The public image issues
In this case, however, looking good isn’t the only issue. Looking literally unimpeachable is the issue for Trump, and anything else naturally comes a poor second.
Looks aren’t great, in so many ways:
** The Justice Department has said that a subpoena of the full Mueller report is “premature and unnecessary”, an interesting combination of terms. How can something unnecessary be “premature”?
** Information that Trump staffers disobeyed instructions to take illegal actions doesn’t look good, either. Nor does the apparent fact that his staff don’t listen to him much.
**Claiming exoneration, when exoneration has specifically not been given in so many words, simply looks childish. It also looks illiterate, but who’s surprised at either?
**Another, stunningly dull, and very stagnant look is the instant polarization of the news media. FOX et al are all saying the report vindicates Trump. It doesn’t, in so many words, but when have facts ever been relevant to anything? Not since 2016, that’s for sure.
**The other side of the media are talking impeachment, but in obscure terms. If anything more about the Mueller report hits the fan in an election year, the news will be equally polarized, and equally unsatisfactory in terms of hard facts. You can either impeach Trump, or not.
The total dysfunction of political America on any and all subjects is now considered normal. Publishers should remember that the Trump circus isn’t going to be in town forever. They should also remember that this report may well contain the only hard facts available.
The proper advice for publishers is don’t get too cute with those facts. Facts can fight back, unlike the American public. The American public has been totally let down and betrayed by these wannabe National Enquirers, and it’s not feeling at all well. Just so you know. After all - It's not like you’ve ever paid the slightest attention to the interests of the American public since Watergate, is it?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about mueller report, publication of mueller report, publishing redacted documents, United States evidence standards, John gotti
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