Chelsea Manning’s release puts Donald Trump and conservative media in a bind

Callum Borchers writes: For most of the past seven years, Chelsea Manning has been a tailor-made villain for the conservative media. Her disclosure of secret diplomatic and military documents to WikiLeaks allowed folks such as Sean Hannity to do two of their favorite things: remind everyone of how ferociously they support the military and to blame President Obama for something at or beyond the limits of his control.

On his Fox News show in 2010, Hannity declared that Manning “needs to be held accountable” for putting “our brave men and women in the military overseas in danger,” and he wondered: “Why can’t Obama do something about the WikiLeaks?”

Now, though, things are more complicated. Obama commuted Manning’s 35-year sentence Tuesday, which in an orderly universe would have triggered a fresh round of outrage at the president, WikiLeaks and the former Army private, who is transgender and served as Bradley Manning. To be sure, there has been some outrage on the right.

But the twist is that many in the conservative media have been singing a different tune about WikiLeaks ever since the site published hacked emails that reflected poorly on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party — and especially since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Hannity in an interview this month that Russia did not supply the emails, bolstering President-elect Donald Trump’s assertion that he did not receive any significant help from the Kremlin during the election. [Continue reading…]

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