First of all, who are we talking about, anyway?
Is it Admiral Michael S. Rogers, the holdover director of the National Security Agency since 2014? Is it U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama? Or is it Mike Rogers, the former seven-term Congressman from Michigan’s 8th CD.
In this case, it’s the last-named Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and U.S. Army officer who chaired the House Intelligence Committee for two terms before stepping down in 2014 to launch a syndicated radio program on Sirius.
End of confusion, right? No, it’s just beginning. While the Mainstream Media (MSM) obsesses and speculates about the Donald Trump presidency, it has so muddled the narrative of Michigan’s Mike Rogers since the aftermath of the 2016 election as to be incomprehensible to the American public. The media provide no context or cogent analysis for the story of how Rogers’s name has once again been thrust into prominence following Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey last week. If the MSM can’t do a better job of making sense out of this narrative and asking the right questions about what is going on, why should the MSM be trusted to be offering information to the U.S. electorate on anything else, especially how and why decisions are being made in the Trump White House? It gives “fake news” a bad name.
Make no mistake about it — Mike Rogers has talent. He’s smart, articulate, attractive, energetic, and ambitious with a dash of charisma. He rose to become majority floor leader in the Michigan Senate after only a single term in public office before he left the body when he was elected to Congress in 2000. He rose quickly through the ranks in the U.S. House to achieve a top committee chairmanship. He was one of eight candidates interviewed Saturday by the U.S. Justice Dept. for the position of FBI director. It would be a point of pride for many in Michigan to be able to see him elevated to that post.
But Mike Rogers has some powerful enemies, and nobody’s talking about it — at least not now.
Remember, Rogers was part of Trump’s transition team working on national security issues before leaving the team suddenly in November at the same time New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got the heave-ho as head of the new president’s transition operation, being replaced by Vice President Mike Pence. The widely-circulated MSM story then was that Rogers was “too close” to Christie and that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had masterminded Christie’s ouster as “payback” for past criminal/political transgressions involving Kushner’s father. About this time, Rogers’s Sirius radio gig came to an end. In other words, Rogers was “out,” although he quickly became a senior fellow at Harvard University and continued to be a “Distinguished Fellow” at the Hudson Institute; a member of the Advisory Board at George Mason University’s U.S. National Security & Law Policy Institute; and a regular contributor on CNN-TV.
Remember, too, that when he was still in the House it was Rogers who, as Intelligence Committee chairman, produced a report on the 2012 Benghazi debacle in Libya that led to the death of the U.S. Ambassador, among others. The Rogers report drew bi-partisan support from other members of the Intel committee and was deemed “fair and balanced” by Democrats and most of the MSM because it largely exonerated the Obama Administration (and Hillary Clinton) from charges of a “cover-up” of the Libyan atrocity. The report concluded that were no major intelligence failures leading up to the Benghazi attack. However, Rogers’s report was roundly criticized by many conservatives, including some of his fellow Republican Congressmen, especially U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who was leading his own investigation into the Benghazi affair. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (also R-SC) called Rogers’s effort “a piece of crap.” In a Detroit News article today (5/15) about Rogers’s prospects to be FBI chief, none of this is mentioned.
Now, however, Rogers is back in the news as if none of this had ever happened. Four years ago, when Robert Mueller stepped down as head of the agency (remember when there was such a thing as an uncontroversial FBI director?), Rogers was viewed as a possible replacement, even while Barack Obama was still president. In fact, Rogers got the backing of the FBI Agents Association, an organization made up of some 13,000 former and current agents. Now, he’s got it again.
The MSM is not monolithic, as we’re constantly reminded. It is very diverse ideologically, as well as in the ways its component parts reach the public. But regardless of political philosophy or modus operandi, something is wrong when most of the media practice what is called “pack journalism,” seizing on a leak and covering it ad nauseum for a brief time, only to desert the story for five months, then return to the subject (Rogers) with a completely different plot line which bears no connection with anything that has been cited earlier.
So, here are questions that should be asked, and that the MSM should be providing a “timeline” on for their American readers,. Maybe they could toss in a little elementary analysis as well:
— Did Rogers leave the White House transition last fall because of the Kushner connection? Because he was too close to Christie? Because there were knives out for Rogers from many Republicans and in the intelligence/security community who were angered over the Rogers Intel Committee Benghazi report?
—- If any of the above is true, why would Rogers be seriously considered by the Trump White House for FBI director now? If the White House has done what the MSM describes as one of its ridiculed “about-faces” and decided that all is forgiven and that it really likes Rogers and badly needs him to rescue the nation in its hour of peril, why, still, would the White House risk nominating someone who must be confirmed by the Senate, where prominent members of his own party plainly don’t like him? Even if Democrats were mollified by the Rogers Committee Benghazi report three years ago, would they want to save the GOP’s bacon by voting to confirm a new FBI director who for much of his political life has been a partisan? After all, Rogers was first elected to the House in the closest U.S. House contest in the country (in 2000, replacing a Democratic incumbent), and Democrats tried vigorously to knock him off in successive elections. Rogers was appointed Intel Committee chief by former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
— Why is Rogers being resurrected now when there are so many other qualified candidates without Rogers’s partisan coloration? Where is his support coming from? Yes, the FBI Agents Association. Really? Is that the extent of it?
The Rogers Saga deserves far better elucidation than we’ve been getting from the MSM. Paraphrasing what Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy: “You’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.”
Bob stafford says
Really good job
I’ve meet him a few times and am impressed
Bill Bishop says
Hi Bill….we need to sit down over cigars and discuss this MSM mess. How in such a short period of time could the MSM leave it’s post as a source of essentially trustworthy news and information and become a muck raking and solely partisan body of so called journalists who no longer even pretend to be objective? Is there ANY news report we can trust any more? Perhaps only the Ballenger Report!
Cheers from the other BB
JD Winegarden says
Is Rogers Purer Than the Driven Snow?
That Close to Trump in the past. Well!?!
Peace and Impeachment ! Great Article.
Best to My Good FRIEND Bill Ballenger
J Dallas Winegarden
PS who would want to work for
The Fire ER and Chief anyway
Walt de Vries, Ph.D. says
Bill: Good, solid, well-written piece. If you want some stories about “pack journalism,” I have a few from George Romney’s national press coverage during the 1960’s. Today, as a matter of fact, with the 24-hour news cycle and multiple “news” sources, the competition has intensified and it gets more difficult to find the truth in reporting and commentary. But, I believe that as more and more voters become aware of this situation, we shall as an electorate better able to discern the facts and direction of our democratic society.
Bruce Rosborough says
Insightful & Delightful.
Also particularly useful, as I together with several couples holding wildly different political understandings have reserved places at the Chautauqua Institution’s week dedicated to the Media and Politics this August. It should be an educational and entertaining time, but is almost certain to be our last trip together.
Margaret Currie says
I agree with others in that this is a good article. Unfortunately, I believe it is difficult to find well-qualified, ethical people to hold positions of importance. No matter who is selected, President Trump will axe him on a whim if he wishes. Sorry to be so negative. Thank you, Bill for writing so clearly and frankly.