If you need proof that today’s political climate has boiled over the cusp of civility and even morality, look no further than the Paul Manafort trial. The trial has descended to a monkey spectacle in a zoo of bad behavior, and the media again gets to play the role of the bad guy; to be fair, each team across party lines has thrown an embarrassing amount of verbal excrement. It’s gotten so bad that Judge Ellis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is now under the protection of the US Marshal Service because of death threats.
Our political climate is one that’s allowed and encouraged people to act so badly where they feel comfortable threatening a District Court judge. The ramifications of the degradation of the social contract are just beginning to be realized. Media companies have profited in this particularly negative environment because people who are mad are easier to manipulate and are more likely to click on outrageous links that appeal to their emotions, which brings money; that’s plenty incentive to keep on sowing the seeds of division for the MSM. They’re getting rewarded for their bad behavior with clicks, eyeballs, and cash.
That’s not to say that the media is primarily responsible for this latest wave of threats against judge Ellis – but they are subtly encouraging it. Their vitriol towards President Trump and anyone even remotely related to him has motivated and embolden the fringe of society’s most extreme and violent individuals. Take, for example, the shooting of Republican Whip Steve Scalise last year at a baseball game. The shooter was a lifelong Democrat who suffered from serious mental health problems that were unarguably exasperated by the 90%+ negative coverage of Trump on the media. There is no shortage of ways to make people angry when they watch the news, and they must shoulder their responsibility for today’s hostile political climate. Above everything, the media must aspire to tell the truth in the most direct way possible all the time.
Part of the reason the Paul Manafort trial has exploded as big as it has is because of Manafort’s distant connection to Trump. He was briefly a member of and then chaired Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign during the summer of that year before being let go. It is critical to remember that Manafort is on trial for fraud that he is alleged to have committed over seven years ago in the Ukraine, while working with and under the direction of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s brother, Tony Podesta (you won’t hear this inconvenient fact in the media), not for anything related to the Russia conspiracy or even his short time in the Trump campaign.
Multiple media companies have petitioned the court for additional information. Included was a request for information on the jurors. Judge Ellis has denied the motion and made it clear that he will not allow the disclosure of information about the jurors due to the high profile nature of the case and the threats he has already personally received. One thing is certain – there will be some people incredibly upset with whatever decision the jury makes. The jury sat to deliberate the fate of Paul Manafort for a second time on Friday after failing to reach a verdict on Thursday. They posted several questions to the court and asked for the definition of “reasonable doubt.”
READ: In a miscarriage of justice, 3 of 5 suspects alleged to have run a domestic terrorism training camp for children are free on bail after a NM judge said that the government had failed to prove they presented a clear danger to the public
Let’s be perfectly clear: If Manafort is guilty of fraud, he needs to be held accountable, but his guilt or lack thereof can’t be conflated to even the most remote connection to Trump for something that may or may not have happened many years before Trump even knew his name.