“An incendiary idea first put forward by right-wing radio host Mark Levin is now burning across Washington, fanned by President Trump’s tweets and a huge number of supportive commentators and websites — even though the facts don’t back up the conclusion.” reports CNN.
Breitbart News has given the conspiracy theory a name: “DeepStateGate.” Others are going with “ObamaGate.” And Fox News host Sean Hannity is asking: “What did OBAMA know and when did he know it???”
Levin’s original idea, advanced on Thursday, was that former President Barack Obama and his allies have mounted a “silent coup” against Trump using “police state” tactics. Levin cherry-picked news stories that supported his thesis and omitted information that cut against it.
The next day, Rush Limbaugh echoed Levin’s “silent coup” language, and Breitbart columnist Joel Pollak published an “expanded version of that case.”
That’s how the idea reached Trump’s radar. The Breitbart article “circulated” in the West Wing, a White House official told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, and the information “infuriated” Trump.
To be clear, Levin and Limbaugh and Pollak didn’t publish any original reporting. They merely claimed to have connected some dots.
The latest invisible dot the crazies are connecting is that the NY Times reported on wiretaps back on Janury 20, 2017. Michael S. Schmidt reported that team Trump had Russian connections, and to support his point he said that Trump’s people were wiretapped.
President Trump is gambling a good deal of credibility with his accusation of Obama wiretapping. The Obama officials and Big Media outlets sitting across the table from are also. Complicated controversies usually have complex outcomes, so the smart bet is that both sides will end up with something that allows them to claim vindication, and we’ll most likely have another credibility smackdown. Meanwhile, we’ll probably see a sharp decrease in reports based on leaked material the media insisted was genuine, right up until the moment Donald Trump believed them.