The FBI’s inexcusable failures to properly follow up on warnings about Nikolas Cruz before he committed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last week are serving as a very convenient scapegoat for the Trump propagandists at Fox News to assign at least some of the blame of the whole crime on the Russia investigation.
First, let me say I am not defending the FBI’s derelict conduct in failing to follow its own protocols after it received a warning tip in January about Cruz. But that failure happened in a Miami field office. In a bureau of more than 30,000 staffers, there’s no evidence that this failing has anything to do with the Russia investigation or the capability of the Bureau at large.
But if you work at Trump TV, aka Fox News and Fox Business, where you're ever on the alert for ways to undermine the Russia investigation on behalf of Dear Leader Trump, the FBI’s fumble was a golden opportunity to make political hay. Especially when Republican BFF, Rick Scott, the gun-loving governor of Florida has aleady paved the way by demanding FBI Director Christopher Wray’s resignation.
FBN host Trish Regan accused the FBI of being "too busy" with the Russia investigation to do its job
Last night, guest hosting on Lou Dobbs Tonight, Trish Regan even worked in a swipe at Fox’s uber-FBI scapegoat, former Director James Comey, as she pushed the anti-FBI talking points with retired Special FBI Agent Bobby Chacon.
REGAN: Isn’t [Wray] accountable for the organization, itself? Or maybe this is perhaps blame that should still be put on Comey and this was Comey’s FBI. I mean, I just look at it and say, “Look, they’re so busy focusing on that Russian dossier and they’re not actually doing what they need to do, Bobby.”
At the end of the discussion, as she and Chacon agreed on the need for laws to take people like Nikolas Cruz “off the street before they commit a crime,” Regan just happened to return to her talking point.
REGAN: I’m with you, Bobby, but I still think the FBI needs to do a much better job at its job.
FNC host Neil Cavuto wonders if the Russia investigation "is getting in the way of its regular job" and caused the slip up that led to the Florida shooting
Today, the same “blame the Russia investigation” talking point arose when Neil Cavuto hosted Rep. Eric Swalwell, of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.
CAVUTO: Others have said, Congressman, that the FBI is so distracted on so many other issues, including the Russian thing and all that. It seems a bit like apples and oranges to me but that that is getting in the way of its regular job just protecting people, keeping people alive, including letting a slip up like this in Florida happen. What do you think?
Swalwell, of course, disagreed and pushed back. Although he said the criticism of the FBI is fair in the Florida shooting case, he called for accountability “from those who were in the chain” of receiving warnings about Cruz, but did not see it as something the FBI director should resign over.
“I don’t see a larger issue where the Russia problems are affecting the day-to-day business of the agents on the street,” Swalwell said. He called it “disheartening” to see FBI agents coming “I think unfairly, under fire” because “they don’t really give a rip whether a Republican or a Democrat is in office and they don’t tailor their cases to the politics of our country.”
Watch a talking point we’re sure to see more of below, from Fox Business Network’s February 16, 2018 Lou Dobbs Tonight and from Fox News Channel’s February 17, 2018 Cavuto Live.
(H/T NewsHound Richard)
Not excusing the FBI’s slip-up on the Cruz matter at all, but I think we’d be able to make a fairer assessment if we knew how many unsolicited tips the organisation handled each day, both nationally and in individual states.
This has become a standard Fox [Isn’t] News meme. Maria Bartiromo basically quoted this on her show this morning too.
Problem is there is no evidence this is the case. Previously, Fox [Isn’t] News argued the ‘dodgy dossier’ was what kicked off the FBI investigation only to find that’s a pile of steaming bull. Fox [Isn’t] News just keeps making convenient assumptions which it pretends is hard news to undermine the Mueller investigation.
That’s why we refer to Fox [Isn’t] News as Trump TV.