The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.
(NewsNation) — If you watched partisan cable news over the weekend, here’s a story you probably didn’t hear about since it was somewhat inconvenient for both the left and the right. The story involved the Justice Department actually stepping in to protect or avenge former President Donald Trump.
The left-leaning media may have downplayed the story because it paints Trump in a sympathetic light or at least as the victim. For the right-leaning media, it doesn’t fit into the narrative that the DOJ under Attorney General Merrick Garland is out to get the former president at all costs.
A former IRS contractor was charged Friday with leaking Trump’s tax information to The New York Times from 2018 to 2020. The contractor, Charles Littlejohn, was charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information in connection with that leak, as well as the leak of tax information on other public figures such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to the news outlet ProPublica.
The DOJ alleges that Littlejohn “stole tax returns and return information associated with public official A and thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, including returns and return information dating back more than 15 years. He thereafter disclosed the tax information associated with public official A to news organization one and other tax information to news organization two. Both news organizations published numerous articles describing the tax information from the defendant.”
Now, you can debate whether Trump should have to disclose his tax returns as a candidate, but the fact is that this guy had absolutely no right to allegedly take it. Trump, Bezos, and Musk’s private information was stolen, and they were the victims of a crime.
The left-leaning media doesn’t like to tell their audience that Trump was wronged. The story received no coverage on MSNBC. None at all. It had one segment on CNN when the story broke and a few other passing mentions.
But, it’s not like the right-leaning media was shouting this one from the rooftops, either, and it’s easy to see why. For so long now, the mantra among many on the right has been the witch hunt. They want to argue the DOJ is out to get Trump and will stop at nothing to get him.
But here the DOJ is once again, as we’ve talked about, going after someone in defense of Trump. It doesn’t fit the right’s narrative of the politicized DOJ.
On Fox News, they’ve done just a handful of reports about the story. And on the network’s highest profile opinion shows, only Jesse Watters covered it by spinning a conspiracy theory around it.
If this was of more value politically to one side or the other, it would have been everywhere.
For Trump, the story is particularly tricky since he’s made no bones about the fact that in a second term, his Justice Department will target political enemies. On Glenn Beck’s show, he talked about Hillary Clinton.
When asked, “Do you regret not locking her up?” Trump replied: “The answer is you have no choice because they’re doing it to us.”
That obviously stands in stark contrast with how the DOJ is supposed to go about its business. Sunday evening on “60 Minutes,” Garland made clear he wouldn’t tolerate requests from the president to target his top political opponent.
Scott Pelley asked: “If President Biden asked you to take action with regard to the Trump investigation, what would your reaction be?”
Garland responded: “I am sure that, that will not happen. But I would not to do anything in that regard. And if necessary, I would resign, but there is no sense that anything like that will happen.”
Would Trump’s potential next attorney general say the same? That’s what makes this story about Trump’s stolen tax returns so tough for the right-leaning media to cover.
It’s hard to imagine, based on what Trump is saying, his administration’s Justice Department would do anything to avenge a wrong to Biden.
More broadly, the partisan media owed its viewers more. Left-leaning media ran wild with the salacious details of the Trump tax returns. Right-leaning media cried foul for weeks for those tax details being published.
When it came to light that Trump was the victim of a crime with the release of those returns, left-leaning media got quiet. And when it came out that Garland’s DOJ effectively had Trump’s back on this, right-leaning media got pretty quiet, too. It’s a disservice to the rest of us. It’s a big story.
Littlejohn was charged over an issue everyone on cable was talking about for months, if not years.
So, while the right obsesses over Hunter Biden every night and the left dissects every piece of minutiae of any legal motion involving Trump, neither of them seem particularly interested now when justice is seemingly meted out in a nonpartisan way, since it doesn’t benefit either side’s narrative.