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Commentary: Biased reporting needs to stop, locally and nationally

By Wes Mader Community Columnist Jan 14, 2020

An article in the Dec. 21 edition of the Prior Lake American reported that Rick Olson, a self-declared Republican candidate for U.S. Representative for the state’s 2nd Congressional District, agreed with current representative, Democrat Angie Craig, that President Donald Trump should be impeached. This is fair news. However, the rest of the article would indicate that the PLA has clearly taken a partisan view of the impeachment drama. If our local newspaper is simply going to parrot the views of national news services that have already lost much of their credibility with the American public, why bother to read it?

I’ll be specific. The referenced PLA article reports that Jonathan Turley, a nationally-respected professor of law at Georgetown University, stated that “Trump mis-stepped” in his telephone communication with Ukraine’s president. What the PLA chose to ignore is that Turley, a Democrat, testified with clarity that the Democratic-controlled House would be guilty of abuse of power if they voted to impeach based upon the flimsy evidence they presented. What is more newsworthy, abuse of power by the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives or a president’s misstep in a telephone call? For our local newspaper to use a half-truth to justify partisan narratives of The Washington Post or The New York Times, is disingenuous.

For over two years, Russian collusion was the phrase of the day in the national news media, kept alive by a hell-bent-for-impeachment mentality by leadership in the Democratic party and by a gullible and partisan national press. Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted, trying to dig up evidence that didn’t exist. When that effort finally withered on the vine, quid pro quo became the new phrase of the day. If our local newspaper wants to present itself as a credible source of news on the subject, it ought to include a story about former Vice President Joe Biden’s publicly-recorded boast of a real Ukrainian quid pro quo. Biden publicly bragged about the Obama Administration withholding a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine, to force them to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor he disapproved of. While President Trump’s effort to check into Biden and son Hunter’s activities in Ukraine may have been a “mis-step,” the Obama Administration’s action was textbook quid pro quo.

The above sounds penny-ante as compared to the mother of all quid pro quos. In the middle of the night on Jan. 16, 2016, an unmarked plane landed in Tehran to deliver wooden pallets loaded with $400 million in cash for the Mullahs of Iran — without traceability or restriction on how the cash would be used. It came from the so-called Judgement Fund administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury, which allowed President Barack Obama to send the cash to Iran without congressional oversight or approval. The $400 million represented partial payment of $1.7 billion that went to Iran to sweeten and seal the controversial nuclear deal. Why cash on wooden pallets in an unmarked plane in the middle of the night? Undoubtedly it was a quid pro quo that Americans weren’t supposed to find out about. What sickened me most was Iranian TV flashing pictures of the cash-loaded pallets to their Iranian audience, presumably to demonstrate how Iran’s leaders had outsmarted ours.

Our nation is tragically divided. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows 48% in support of and 48% opposed to impeachment. Democrats in the House of Representatives supported impeachment (with a couple of defections) and Republicans unanimously disapproved. Our country’s division (that existed even before the 2016 election), was heightened when the choice for president was Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. While Hillary Clinton was the choice of the Democratic establishment and the national news media, some voters couldn’t stomach the fact that she appeared to use the office of Secretary of State for the Clintons’ personal benefit, even reportedly erasing emails and smashing electronic devices when suspicions surfaced. Her allegation that Trump’s temperament made him unfit for office also rang true for many, so on Election Day, voters on both sides of the aisle held their noses and voted.

It’s sad that Donald Trump’s arrogant and often mean-spirited behavior didn’t improve when he was elected president. It’s sad that the Democratic leadership who couldn’t stomach the fact that he won, is continuing an effort to destroy his presidency, instead of doing what’s right for our country. And sadly, our local newspaper that could provide some balm to help bring local citizens with opposing views together, has chosen instead to take sides and rub salt into the wounds. Sad indeed.

Please read more from the Prior Lake American: https://www.swnewsmedia.com/prior_lake_american/news/opinion/columnists/commentary-biased-reporting-needs-to-stop/article_b0dedec2-71d6-5b6e-851e-9e729c1312f2.html

Wes Mader is a former Prior Lake mayor. Following retirement after serving as president of Bowmar Aerospace and Defense in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Wes and his wife Char retired in Prior Lake.