Under the headline, “FBI Director Comey opposed naming Russians in hacking probe,” NBC News reports the following:
FBI Director James Comey argued against publicly disclosing the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia was behind hacks into U.S. political institutions, highly placed sources told NBC News on Monday.
A former senior law enforcement official with detailed knowledge of the matter said on condition of anonymity that Comey argued that disclosing that operatives based in Russia were behind the widespread hacking not only might interfere with the U.S. election but also could violate Justice Department guidelines.
Add to that that the FBI is taking a good look into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s dealings with Russia, and another story at Slate having to do with computer transmissions between the Trump campaign and a Putin-connected bank, and you might think every news outlet would be dropping tools to investigate. But not so much.
Maybe fatigue is starting to set in.
Part of the media’s obsession with the Comey letter to Congress is that it threatened to put the outcome of the presidential race in doubt, which is a hell of a lot more interesting for journalists than talking about how big the Clinton margin of victory is likely to be. First you talk the emails to death, and then you wait for the polls to, from the perspective is ratings-hungry networks, show a tightening. That would have been new and energizing.
Maybe we are seeing a tightening due to recent events, and maybe it’s just what happens in the closing days of a campaign. It doesn’t look like much.
Prehaps, as the final week unfolds and the Comey revelation ends up not getting much traction, we may see some attention paid to Trump’s odd relation to Vladimir Putin, but it is old news.
More likely that, due to the deft management by the Clinton team of the Comey issue, we will hear a lot more about the appropriateness of his actions and infighting at the FBI, still kind of boring.
If polls don’t move, and it doesn’t look like they will, the media is just as likely to engage in a lot of clubby restrospective talk in the final days about what an odd election cycle that was.
In other words, no story gets traction from here on out.
Even journalists get tired after a while. I know I’m tired.