Dinesh D'Souza is one of a number of people who has made a good living over the years trafficking in anti-liberal screeds, culminating in his book The Roots of Obama's Rage and follow-on film 2016, in which he charges that President Stokely Charmi—excuse me, President Barack Obama is consumed with anti-white racism, hatred of America, and generalized fury because he's living out the "Kenyan anti-colonialism" of the father he barely knew. It's a story pitched to the deranged, but there's a healthy market for that in the right, as we know.
So when D'Souza was charged by a U.S. Attorney with violating campaign finance laws with a straw donor scheme, it wasn't surprising that some conservatives ran to his defense. You might think they'd take the opportunity to attack the law as unjust, particularly since D'Souza's lawyer all but admitted his guilt, essentially saying that sure, he violated the law, but he only did so out of friendship for the candidate in question and not for corrupt purposes ("Simply put, there was no 'quid pro quo' in this case, nor was there even any knowledge by the candidate that Campaign Finance Rules may have been violated. Mr. D'Souza did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever. He and the candidate have been friends since their college days, and at worst, this was an act of misguided friendship by D'Souza"). But no.
Instead, you get the conspiracy theories, which Ben Dimiero helpfully gathered here. Matt Drudge tweets, "They are going after the Obama critics with indictments. VA Gov. Now Dinesh D'souza. Holder unleashing the dogs..." Nationally syndicated radio host and frequent Fox news guest host Laura Ingraham says the indictment "is more about stifling political dissent and intimidating other people from speaking out than it is about any real serious allegation of wrongdoing." Rush Limbaugh, the most successful radio host in America, tells his listeners that the Obama administration is "trying to criminalize as many Republicans and conservatives as they can."
To be sure, plenty of conservatives think that's ridiculous. But think about the argument here: Do these folks actually believe that the Attorney General of the United States is sitting around with his aides and says, "I've had enough. That D'Souza? I want him taken down! He's been a thorn in our side for too long." Then he places a call to the White House. "Mr. President? Good news. I think we found a way to get Dinesh D'Souza." "Thank God!" replies Obama. "He could destroy this entire presidency if we don't deal with him."
The answer is, of course they don't think that. But they think their audiences do. They think the people who read their web sites and listen to their radio shows are so stupid that they'd believe there's a conspiracy at the highest levels of the federal government aimed at...Dinesh D'Souza.
The left's media stars may be far from perfect in a variety of ways. But one thing you can say about them as a group is that they don't assume their audience is made up of idiots.