BARR HAS TURNED PROJECTION, LYING AND HYPOCRISY INTO PERFORMANCE ART*
Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 36" x 26", Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**
Mainstream media have “dropped any pretense of professional objectivity and are political actors, highly partisan who try to shape . . . a political narrative that has nothing to do with the truth.” William P. Barr
Psychological Projection: A defense mechanism in which a person attributes to others unwanted emotions or traits he dislikes in himself. “Projection is the process of displacing one’s feelings onto a different person . . . . The term is most commonly used to describe defensive projection—attributing one’s own unacceptable urges to another. . . . Unconscious discomfort can lead people to attribute difficult feelings or impulses to someone else to avoid confronting them.”
Lie: Trump has become its very definition.
Hypocrisy: With Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s recent passing and the Republicans predictably reversing themselves by racing to confirm a sixth conservative justice in the shadow of the 2020 election, the concept needs no further definition.
BARR SITS FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH A CONSERVATIVE WEBSITE
After reading Barr’s recent interview with conservative website Townhall.com, an interview in which he excoriated the mainstream media, I gained new respect for his mastery of projection, hypocrisy and lying.
Barr finds troubling what he projects as mainstream media lying to the American public to shape a highly political narrative that has nothing to do with the truth because, he concludes, such behavior is “destructive to our Republic,” “very destructive to the Democratic system.”
Barr’s recent interview with Townhall.com went like this:
“They're a collection of liars and they know exactly what they're doing,” Barr claimed, while asserting the press’s lying to the American public for partisan reasons was “destructive to our Republic.” "The press has dropped, in my view – and I'm talking about the national mainstream media – has dropped any pretense of professional objectivity and are political actors, highly partisan who try to shape what they're reporting to achieve a political purpose and support a political narrative that has nothing to do with the truth," Barr said. "They're very mendacious about it. It's very destructive to our Republic; it's very destructive to the Democratic system to have that, especially being so monolithic. It's contributing to a lot of the intensity and partisanship."
LYING TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC WITH NO PRETENSE OF OBJECTIVITY, BARR USES HIS MONOLITHIC PERCH TO POLITICIZE THE DOJ, SHAPING HIGHLY PARTISAN, FALSE NARRATIVES THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH TRUTH IN ORDER TO PROTECT TRUMP AND ADVANCE HIS POLITICAL AGENDA
Barr’s False Narratives About the Mueller Report and the Inspector General’s Predication Findings
Everyone is familiar with the near unparalleled example in Barr of what he claims to disdain in others: his use of a monolithic perch to lie to the American public to shape a highly partisan political narrative that had nothing to do with the truth – his “shameless misrepresentation” of the special counsel’s findings in which he “dishonestly obscur[ed] Trump’s efforts to obstruct the special counsel’s probe . . . . Barr flatly distorted the Justice Department inspector general’s findings that the investigation was lawfully predicated.”
Recently, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Electronic Privacy Information Center and BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold, Barr asked the court to trust the validity of the Department of Justice’s redactions of the Mueller Report without need for independent verification.
In response Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said, euphemistically, he had “grave concerns about the objectivity” of Barr’s handling of the report before its public release last year. Judge Walton said:
“True to the oath that the undersigned took upon becoming a federal judge, and the need for the American public to have faith in the judicial process, considering the record in this case, the Court must conclude that the actions of Attorney General Barr and his representations about the Mueller Report preclude the Court’s acceptance of the validity of the Department’s redactions without its independent verification. . . . Adherence to the FOIA’s objective of keeping the American public informed of what its government is up to demands nothing less.”
Barr publicly summarized his findings of the Mueller report two days after receiving it and well before its public release, claiming it completely absolved Trump. The Judge noted that Mr. Mueller took exception to Barr’s summary, that Barr “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of th[e] [Special Counsel’s] Office’s work and conclusions.”
Walton concurred with “Special Counsel Mueller’s assessment that Attorney General Barr distorted the findings.” Barr’s summary had failed to recognized the numerous contacts and ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
Barr also lied to the American public about the Report’s conclusion that accusing Trump of obstruction, of which there were some ten events and ample evidence, would be unfair to someone who could not be criminally charged and therefore lacked the forum for possible exoneration. The Judge said:
“The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the court to question whether Attorney General Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report.”
Judge Walton also explained:
“The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”
Judge Walton was kind in his characterizations of Barr’s behavior, which might better be described as flagrant lying to the American public to shape a false political narrative that did not resemble the truth.
Barr’s False Narrative About Voter Fraud with Mail-in Ballots – A Recent Example
Within the past few days, Barr, in clear violation of Department of Justice policy, revealed to the White House the early stages of a purported criminal investigation in Pennsylvania relating to fewer than ten ballots found opened and in a waste basket. Why would Barr violate DOJ policy, politicize the Department of Justice and continue blurring any lines between the White House and the Department of Justice? One reason alone: to support Trump’s false narrative of systemic fraud with mail-in ballots in order to undermine public confidence in the election, influence voter turnout and, ultimately, shape a false narrative about the reliability of the election’s outcome that has nothing to do with truth.
As Barr fully anticipated, Trump pounced.
Parenthetically, DOJ policy is set forth in writing and long historical practice. In order to protect and maintain the integrity of investigations and evidence and to avoid the unfairness of sullying the names and reputations of subjects or targets whom the DOJ decides not to criminally charge, the DOJ never announces or publicly confirms the existence of criminal investigations.
Except for Hilary’s emails, of course.
The DOJ likewise never reveals what was announced here, the details, such as the number of ballots or for whom the ballots were cast, which have no bearing whatsoever on potential criminal charges.
Moreover, the specific narrative was likewise false: military voters sent in ballots using envelopes meant for ballot requests, so officials opened them. The nine ballots had zero to do with voter fraud or voter suppression. Don't hold your breath for a criminal prosecution and don't look behind the curtain for the millions purged from voter registration rolls.
Barr’s False Narratives Surrounding Clearance of Lafayette Square
Then there’s Barr’s many lies about his issuing the order to clear Lafayette Square and the methods used to do so – for a photo op – in violation of peacefully protesting citizens’ First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. Why? To shape a false political narrative that had nothing to do with truth, of course.
Barr’s False Narratives Track and Will Continue to Track Trump’s
Flynn committed no crime because the FBI set a trap, his answers were not material to any legitimate investigation and, despite the IG’s report, no legally supported predication for the investigation existed, despite the fact that Flynn twice pleaded guilty, under oath, to having lied to the FBI with materially false statements.
The violence and destruction associated with anti-racist protests is all by radical left-wing extremists in Democrat-run cities and states.
Systemic racism does not exist in the United States or among police agencies.
Police do not use excessive force against protesters whose claim of systemic racism is simply an extremist left-wing excuse to engage in violence and destruction.
Trump’s perceived enemies should be investigated for possible prosecution.
Restrictions relating to the coronavirus are roughly equivalent to slavery.
Mail-in voting is replete with fraud, including from foreign sources.
The election results for a Biden/Harris victory are invalid.
I’ve published two posts specifically about Barr since his Trump appointment and Senate confirmation that bear on this discussion. They addressed perplexing behavior for the chief United States law enforcement officer who takes an oath to the Constitution and commits to the uniform application of law.
The first post discussed his crass political interference, on behalf of Trump’s protector Roger Stone, with the work and professionalism of line prosecutors and their strict adherence to DOJ policy in making sentencing recommendations. See
General Barr: On Behalf of a Small but Elite Class of Current and Future Criminal Defendants, Thank You https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner/general-barr-on-behalf-of-a-small-but-elite-class-of-current-and-future-criminal-defendants-45b29f580976
The second post highlighted Barr’s clear violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause in his official role as Attorney General by advocating the United States as – if not declaring it – a Christian nation. See
Trump’s Ministry of Christian Nationalism https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner/trumps-ministry-of-christian-nationalism-accd03f455e3
I published another post relevant to this discussion in which Barr figured prominently, arguing that preservation of our democratic republic requires ongoing independence of the Department of Justice and FBI from political influence and the White House in particular. See
The Attorney General Wasn’t Always a Shill for the President https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner/the-attorney-general-wasnt-always-a-shill-for-the-president-40fd3c12acbf
In a May 2020 interview with CBS news, Barr responded to a question about how history will view the DOJ’s reversal of position on the Flynn prosecution, saying “History is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who is writing the history.”
How will history record Barr’s repeated dropping of any pretense of professional objectivity and lying to the American public to shape highly political narratives that have nothing to do with truth? Will his behavior be recorded as having been “destructive to our Republic,” “very destructive to the Democratic system”?
*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com. Rob’s next novel, a beautifully written suspense drama that takes place in Utah, Wyoming and Norway, will be published by Signature Books this fall. This novel, The Contortionists, the story of a missing child in a predominantly Mormon community, is a psychological page-turner.
**Richard J Van Wagoner is my father. His list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com are hers.