Letter: Balentine, Trump should know better

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So John Balentine believes Donald Trump can make whatever accusation he likes, even to tweet that Barack Obama illegally wiretapped Trump Tower, so long as it “seems plausible” (“Here’s Something: We’re the hunted”). Such a low threshold is a recipe for disaster.

Balentine attacks the media for supposedly ignoring this “huge story” in deference to their preferred “all-powerful state.” He says only groups like Wikileaks, and TV shows like CBS’s “The Hunted,” get it right. But this is precisely backward. Neither Wikileaks nor any other third party have produced evidence that Obama illegally wiretapped Trump. Moreover, governments and intelligence agencies have unequivocally denied Trump’s claim. The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, for example, called the president’s accusation “wrong.” Britain, our closest ally, called the White House’s position “nonsense.” And if movies and TV are the gold standard for what “seems plausible,” then perhaps Balentine is a sleeper Russian agent or we’re all living in a computer-generated simulation?

Ironically the media appear to be the only people actually having anything to do with this issue. Trump himself has admitted he got the idea of the illegal wiretapping from news sources. The White House, in attempting to justify Trump’s position, has offered only media reports – many of which aren’t even relevant.

Which is the real problem. President Trump has a responsibility to know what he’s talking about. His words carry consequences. He, and his enablers, should know better.

Andrew J. Schaefer