The psychedelic balloon of liberal hope in Robert Mueller is no more. It started to leak helium months ago, and some liberals worried that his final conclusions might be ... "disappointing."
They wanted the special counsel to deliver the goods, the evidence of collusion. This would not make Donald Trump an ordinary run-of -the-mill felon. This would make him complicit in an effort to subvert the federal government. Donald Trump would be a traitor.
What a pound full of sick puppies.
To wish this against your own president is its own form of anti-Americanism, if one contemplates the ensuing constitutional upheaval at home and the truly frightening international scenarios abroad. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea would run wild, as would every dangerous terror movement across the globe.
A patriotic liberal would set aside personal and political hostilities and celebrate the vindication of his president. We're not seeing this because the loudest of President Trump's detractors — especially in the press — are radicals, not liberals, and they're quite willing to endure existential chaos if that's the price for Trump's removal.
We have counted almost 2,300 minutes of Russia-scandal coverage on just the ABC, CBS and NBC evening-news programs during this presidency. Then add hundreds of hours of cable speculation on CNN and MSNBC, virtually none of it lacking in opinion.
Day after day, night after night, they imagined the deepest trouble for Trump, breathless in anticipation of the report that would surely result in criminal indictments of the worst sort.
Morning after morning, the "prestige" papers were boiling over with hype about Trump's malignant contacts with Russians attempting to undermine the American electoral process.
Time magazine inflated Mueller into a goddess, saying: "It goes back to the Greeks, who understood that the peril of kings was hubris, and that hubris was an invitation to the avenging goddess called Nemesis. In Robert Mueller, Trump may have found his." Liberals even made Catholic-inspired prayer candles with Mueller's face on them.
But their sainted figure screwed it all up. He found no collusion — no criminal conspiracy. Here they'd mocked Trump endlessly for declaring there was no collusion — and damned if that wasn't the case all along.
To be fair, most people expected some form of condemnation, even if just a wrist slap. We include ourselves in that number. Anyone who has ever been subjected to a federal investigation will tell you that the more time and money the government spends investigating you, those agents must find in equal proportion something — anything — to justify that effort. Two years, almost 20 lawyers and millions of taxpayer dollars later, they had to feel enormous pressure to deliver something — anything. But instead, Mueller closed up shop, saying he had nothing further to prosecute.
What an absolute disaster for the never-Trumpers, for Hollywood, for Democrats and for the media. It just vanished, the long-expected Best Scenario for Impeachment, the kind that would cause the Republicans to surrender to their most feverish scandal dreams.
The big question is: Why did the media spend two years endlessly speculating that Trump was toast? How could they justify the "reality" that Trump deserved 90 percent negative coverage of a fantasy of Russian collusion when their expected finale never emerged? If they expected America to believe that Mueller's team never leaked to the press, then why were they so cocky about taking him down?
They didn't spend hours wondering what it would mean if Trump were to be cleared. They took their war on Trump and packaged it as journalism, riddled with bias and falsehoods, some the product of recklessness and some carefully deliberate, because with the left, the ends will always justify the means. There were no apologies when it was over, as if anybody expected that.
When Mueller closed up shop, they went right back to their relentless crusade to ruin his presidency, placing all their hopes now on the federal prosecutors of the Southern District of New York.
Collusion was a fantasy all along, and it underscores a terrible reality. For journalists, the facts just do not come first. These self-righteous leftists who marched under the banner of "objective journalism" while advancing the overthrow of a duly elected president have lost all credibility. They have committed professional suicide.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.