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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent trip to Sochi to meet with the Russian president and foreign minister has heads exploding. Many in the media, it seems, will not tolerate a shred of diplomacy with Russia.
By all indications Tuesday’s meetings in the Russian resort city of Sochi were productive, with both parties showing a desire for warmer relations. Pompeo told Russian FM Sergey Lavrov that President Donald Trump “is committed to improving this relationship.” But much of the mainstream media, to nobody’s surprise, was having none of it.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes remains fixated on the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory, months after Robert Mueller’s seemingly endless investigation discredited it. Hayes saw the meetings as an opportunity to breathe new life into the idea of “collusion.”
What else could they possibly discuss?
CNN’s coverage was no less hostile, with analyst Stephen Collinson musing that Russian President Vladimir Putin “got the last laugh,” taking advantage of hapless American leaders who are “tying themselves into knots” in Washington.
Even in its nominally hard news coverage, CNN chose to emphasize “red lines” and “warnings,” overshadowing the overall positive tenor of the meetings.
The usual Russiagate suspects have also joined the peanut gallery, egging on the secretary of state to pick a fight with the Russian officials.
Though the meeting was cordial, FM Lavrov later warned that President Putin’s politeness should not be interpreted as weakness, adding that Moscow is open to talks but “will not make concessions” to the United States that “go against Russian interests.”