Several months ago, the Yorktown News stopped appearing in my mailbox every week. While I missed your coverage of local news, I noticed that my blood pressure normalized, perhaps because I was no longer subjected to the vitriol spewed by columnist Andy Bazzo. I picked it up this week at a local merchant and despite my aversion, I was drawn to Mr. Bazzo’s column comparing the Obama administration to Nixon’s Watergate era.
While I understand that Mr. Bazzo is an honor graduate of the Donald Trump School of Alternative Facts, where if you repeat something over and over again and intersperse “This we know. It’s been confirmed. We know that it happened,” some folks will believe you. Despite these assertions, the truths of Mr. Bazzo’s alt-right claims have been challenged by many leaders, and not just liberals.
Regarding Trump’s claim that the FBI spied on his campaign, Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a strong supporter of the president, stated on Fox News, “President Trump himself in the Comey memos said if anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it, and it sounds to me like that is exactly what the FBI did.” House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that he agrees there is no evidence that the FBI planted a “spy” in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in an effort to hurt his chances at the polls. Finally, Fox commentator and Trump supporter Andrew Napolitano has stated that the claims that the FBI placed an undercover spy on Trump’s campaign “seem to be baseless.” Sorry, Andy, it’s not just liberals who are challenging your undisputable assertions.
So, we also “know” that the FBI wiretapped Trump’s phones. “I think the term wiretap is thrown around very loosely and by a lot of people. So we have to understand exactly what they’re talking about,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on March 5, 2017. “Suffice it to say, I don’t have any basis— I’ve never heard that allegation made before by anybody.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said March 5, 2017, on Fox News Sunday that he’s “seen no evidence of the allegations we’ve seen in the media. Whether that’s a potential FISA court application or denial of that application, or a resubmission of an application or surveillance for that matter.”
What we do know is that several associates of President Trump had business and personal relationships with Russia: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page to name a few. We also know that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian operative offering opposition research on Hilary Clinton in June 2016. It is also widely acknowledged by intelligence officials that Russia did try to influence the 2016 election.
So, the question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia and then tried to cover it up is an open one, despite President Trump’s repeated declarations of “NO COLLUSION.” So, the connection to the Watergate scandal is tenuous at best. Did the Nixon administration try to spy on the McGovern campaign because of alleged ties to Ho Chi Minh or Mao Tse Tung? Clearly not. If there had been evidence of such ties, would a complete investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department have been warranted? Without question, YES.
In closing, I ask that the editor of the Yorktown News do his job by providing editorial oversight of his regular commentators. I believe in the right to express alternative opinions, but not alternative facts. If a commentator writes a column filled with questionable facts, it should remain your decision whether to publish it. Mr. Bazzo’s “liberal” counterpart Jim Martorano has, as far as I can ascertain, never distorted or misstated facts when expressing his opinion. Although a partisan, he has published interviews with candidates of both parties. In comparison, Mr. Bazzo reflects politics at its ugliest: attack your opponent without regard to the facts. Mr. Bazzo’s weekly column is a blight on the reputation of the Yorktown News.