On Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a memo written by staffers for Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA22). This memo alleges that the Obama-era FBI abused surveillance laws to spy on Trump officials, creating the “witch hunt” of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The HPSCI voted along party lines to allow the memo to be released, and the White House approved its declassification. This was to the dissatisfaction of the FBI and Justice Department, who saw it as partisan and undermining to the work that they do within the agency.
After reading the memo, I was shocked at how incredibly dull it was. The memo was talked up by Congressional Republicans to be shocking and earth-shattering. It wasn’t. It not only failed to live up to the hype, but also failed to even unite the party. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was furious at its release saying, “We are doing Putin’s job for him,” insinuating that the Russian conspiracy will undermine the public’s faith in American Institutions.
What is just as concerning is that the HPSCI did not allow for the Democratic Party’s response memo to be released. The memo they had written was largely ignored— even though it is said to have been a fair and balanced rebuttal to the original memo.
Clearly, we are seeing a deepening divide between the vocal American right and the federal government. The distrust of public institutions is what led Donald Trump to victory, and it appears that he is using the same ideology to stop the investigation into possible collusion with Russia.
Every American should be outraged by the continued effort to smear the Mueller probe into election tampering and potential collusion. The purpose of such investigations is to do exactly what the public wants: preserve the integrity of American elections, which serve as the foundation of our democratic republic.
The messages given by Fox News and other partisan networks don’t help our nation and only add fuel to the fire. Though I would not attempt to call Fox News (or any legitimate news station) “fake news,” the partisan spin that they place on their information is very obvious to a member of the opposition or someone who has heard coverage from a multitude of networks. So how do we stop allowing our perceptions being warped to create our reality?
My suggestion is for students and all Americans to get their news from multiple outlets and stick solely to the facts and not the interpretations. If something seems fishy, then it is worth a quick Google search. I cannot begin to say how many times I have used Congress.gov to either corroborate or refute wild Facebook conspiracy posts about people saying that the DNC will take their guns.
To me, the moral of this story is to not give into the hype surrounding political issues. I have danced around directly stating this, but the perception of the world or situation in front of us is our reality. A constant barrage of hyper-partisan information from any party will distort our reality and only place us against each other. This is not what we need, especially with a legitimate and very serious investigation going on. A cordial attitude and levelheaded analysis of facts will preserve our nation.