by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Trump presidency is often a kind of political “Rashomon,” with partisans on either side looking at the same facts and coming to wildly different conclusions.
So it’s all the more remarkable that the central controversy of our time isn’t a fight over one story with different interpretations of shared facts, but a fight over two different stories altogether.
For devotees of prime-time Fox News, the only story that matters is how the Deep State — i.e., partisans in nonpartisan disguise at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Justice — worked to either destroy Donald Trump or anoint Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. According to this group, the allegation of Trump–Putin “collusion” is merely a frivolous conspiracy theory, and Robert Mueller’s investigation is both a “witch hunt” and a distraction from this “worse than Watergate” scandal.
For viewers of prime-time MSNBC and CNN, this Deep State stuff is the real bogus conspiracy theory, intended to muddy the waters from the actual “worse than Watergate” scandal, which is Trump–Putin collusion and the president’s attempt to obstruct any inquiry into it.
The two narratives are like a binary star system, each body circling the other, throwing off so much blinding light and heat that it becomes difficult to distinguish them. Their combined gravitational pull bends everything in their direction.
The problem is that both stories might be true.