So I fired up my laptop Sunday and the headlines on the Drudge Report were giant and red.

TRUMP WINS!

CAMPAIGN DID NOT COLLUDE WITH RUSSIANS

It’s not that this surprised me. I’ve said all along that if the Trump campaign really had been working with the Russian government, we’d have known about it long ago.

Something like that would have been impossible for leak-prone Washington to keep under wraps for the past two years.

But now Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators have determined there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which is precisely what Trump has been saying all along.

Oddly, lots of folks in the media and on the left seem disappointed, which is weird to me. Shouldn’t we all be happy that our president wasn’t colluding with the Russians?

And some are actually calling into question the veracity of the special counsel and his investigators. That’s weird, too, because I remember at the outset those guys were deified as some of the finest legal inspectors, analysts and examiners  known to mankind.

(The media writ large tended to overlook Mueller’s notorious biffs, e.g, the Hell’s Angels case or the anthrax/Hatfill case.)

Conversely, Trump supporters who characterized Mueller as a filthy, deep-state sop to the Democrats now see him as a paragon of integrity.

Ah, politics.

But after a moment’s reflection, I suppose one could see why the mainstream media would be disappointed. After all, for more than two years they have been telling us over and over that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia. And now we know he didn’t.

Each development was reported with the breathless anticipation of President Donald J. Trump and his family members being perp-walked out of the White House in handcuffs.

No. I am not making that up. A talking head on a major news network actually said that.

Countless times the president of the United States was accused of treason in the media.

Treason.

But alas, bombshell after bombshell fizzled.

• Donald Trump Jr. was offered advanced access to the WikiLeaks email archive (CNN, MSNBC)

• More than 200 websites were routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season. (Washington Post)

• Russian hackers took down a power grid in Vermont. (Washington Post)

• Russian hackers hacked C-Span. (Fortune)

• Trump’s Deutsche Bank accounts were subpoenaed. (Bloomberg)

•Trump adviser Scaramucci was tied to a Russian hedge fund and under investigation by the U.S. Senate. (CNN)

• Trump created a secret Internet server to covertly communicate with a Russian bank. (Slate)

• Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange three times in the Ecuadorian Embassy and nobody noticed. (Guardian)

• Michael Cohen would testify that Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting. (CNN) (This one was particularly egregious because CNN explicitly lied about Lanny Davis being its source on the story.)

• Robert Mueller possesses internal emails and witness interviews proving Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress. (Buzzfeed)

None of these stories were true. None. And this is just scratching the surface.

There were dozens more false stories that had to be walked back. Reporters were fired or suspended because they were so bent on being the first to report the next salacious detail they had no time to check facts.

Even mundane stories were exaggerated or misreported. Remember when for six months after Trump’s election we were told that “all 17 intelligence agencies” agreed Russia was behind the election hacks?

June 2017, the New York Times: “The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.”

It took them six months to straighten that out?

When it comes to Trump/Russia, facts don’t matter as long as there is an “anonymous source close to the investigation who could not be identified because he/she was not authorized to speak on the record.”

Frankly, I have never seen anything like it. Some stories didn’t use sources at all, just lots of speculation and innuendo based on anecdotes.

One story – in New York magazine – actually posited the theory that Trump has been a Russian agent since the late 1980s.

Why?

Because he visited “Russia” in 1987. You should read the article. tinyurl.com/y6v8zjwf

Check out the graphic that purports to connect the dots between Trump and Putin and their inner circles. It’s fantastic! And completely bogus.

The Trump/Russia narrative was set in stone, and reporters all across this great land scrambled to push the narrative. If there was anything exculpatory – and there was plenty, obviously – it was ignored.

Media Research Council, a decidedly conservative think tank that tracks such things, notes that, “from January 20, 2017 (Inauguration Day) through Saturday (the last night before special counsel Robert Mueller sent his report to the Attorney General), the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts produced a combined 2,284 minutes of ‘collusion’ coverage.”

That’s an average of three minutes a night, every night for 791 days. Nothing gets that much coverage – ever.

What about tax reform, trade, North Korea, ISIS, economy, energy, veterans, opioids, criminal sentencing reform, et. al.?

Never mind.

So far this year, MRC reports, “the spin of Trump coverage on the evening newscasts has been 92 percent negative vs. just eight percent positive.” That’s up a tick from the 90 percent negative coverage Trump got in 2017 and 2018.

And get this: Since May 2017, there have been 533,074 web articles published about Russia and Trump/Mueller, generating 245 million interactions, including likes, comments and shares on social media platforms. This is according to an analytics company called NewsWhip.

Tragically, a majority of that, as it turns out, was false.

I know Trump is deeply flawed. He’s a blowhard. He makes stuff up – lies – to suit his narrative. He doesn’t act presidential. He’s narcissistic. He’s an egomaniac. His Twitter policy pronouncements are asinine. He’s a lunatic.

But when he points to reporters at a press conference and says, “You’re fake news!” how can you blame him? After enduring two years of rampant speculation, allegations and accusations that proved to be false, I’d be a little testy, too.

The Russians couldn’t have orchestrated a better propaganda campaign than our own mainstream media.

And they couldn’t have handed Trump a better campaign issue for 2020.