For years, Trump and his enablers in Congress and on Fox News have accused Hillary Clinton and then Joe Biden of doing exactly what Trump has done, or worse. And the mainstream media has usually played along by making false equivalences.
But of course there’s never been any valid comparison. Trump repudiated the Constitution and staged an attempted coup, which he’s still mounting, among other things.
And now we have the specter of Biden being accused of having done exactly what Trump did when Trump brazenly stole top-secret documents from the United States.
But let’s be clear: The Biden documents were discovered by Biden’s own lawyers, who then reported the discovery to the Justice Department. The Trump documents were requested repeatedly by the National Archives. Trump repeatedly refused to produce them. They were then found by the FBI over the objections of Trump and his lawyers.
Democrats have an old-fashioned belief that democracy requires truth, facts, and logic. So when mistakes are made, they usually try to explain them to the public, as the White House is now doing with regard to the documents found in Biden’s possession.
Unfortunately, the White House did not disclose their discovery to the public for two months, apparently waiting until after the November midterm elections before which the disclosure could have been damaging to Democrats.
Yesterday, Attorney General Merrick Garland, citing what he called “extraordinary circumstances,” appointed a special counsel to investigate the handling of the documents — inviting more false equivalence between two investigations: Biden’s unknowing possession of such documents and Trump’s knowing possession.
Republicans have no such qualms about democracy, facts, and logic. A Republican House hellbent on investigating Hunter Biden, the FBI, and anything they can find to embarrass Biden and the Democrats is already making as much political hay as possible out of the discovery of the documents in Biden’s possession, as are their mouthpieces on Fox News.
The task for Biden and the White House will be to keep an even keel by not getting distracted by this commotion, and continuing the important business of governing the nation.
Over the long term — in particular, during the next two years of run-up to the 2024 election — the contrast between the House Republicans’ zany partisan escapades and Biden’s seriousness of public purpose will offer the most potent means of avoiding all false equivalences.
I agreed with everything right up to the last. But the best way to avoid false equivalencies is for the responsible press to stop making them. It was press coverage, mainstream as well as partisan, that weaponized Benghazi and emails against Hillary.
Exactly. Ignore the distractions and get on with the agenda.