New York Times Drops Another Load Of 'Both Sides' BS About Impeachment
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. It was a party-line vote, and that's Republicans' primary strategy for protecting their corrupt president. They want Americans to think this is all just a partisan food fight. The plan requires the willing assistance of a clueless media. Don't worry. They're already on the job.
Check out this headline from the New York Times.
The New York Times
The White House is probably thrilled. Trump's cronies want impeachment seen as something Democrats are inflicting on a Republican president they loathe for no better reason than he's a criminal, despite the fact that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have gone to great pains to present impeachment as regrettable but necessary. Congress as a whole is constitutionally obligated to hold the executive branch accountable. They've quoted the founders. They've used the words "checks and balances." It was all for naught.
The New York Times
The phrase "disputes over basic facts" would make George Orwell retch. The Times article describes how House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler begged his Republican colleagues to actually consider the basic facts.
NADLER: I hope that we are able to work together to hold this president — or any president — accountable for breaking his most basic obligations to the country and to its citizens.
Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner just co-opted Democrats' high-falutin' appeals to bipartisanship and constitutional order. He suggested that Democrats abandon their white whale of impeachment before they destroy the country.
SENSENBRENNER: Put aside your partisan politics because the future of our country and the viability of our Constitution as the framers decided it, are at stake.
The exchange reminded me of an amusing scene from the series "Angel." The good guys confronted a TV executive whose morning puppet show was stealing children's souls. They listed all his heinous crimes, but the villain just smiled and politely responded, "I disagree."
Republicans are disagreeing with witnesses, evidence, and reality itself. Yet the Times just lamented that "the appeals to rise above the tribalism of the moment" failed. Republicans want to spin impeachment as a partisan spectacle, and the Times is more than willing to help. Democrats want to present impeachment as a sober exercise of their oaths of office, and the Times just reports how they've failed.
This was the very divisive impeachment debate that Democrats had always hoped to avoid.
In March, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her new Democratic majority that barring "something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should" try to impeach Mr. Trump. "It divides the country," she said then. "And he's just not worth it."
The president extorting a foreign country for his personal political gain should qualify as "compelling, overwhelming, and even bipartisan." Yes, Pelosi probably failed to appreciate that Republicans would ignore Trump's crimes even if he was literally caught on tape shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, but the Times doesn't even give Pelosi credit for two out of three. It claims the nation is on the "brink of an intensely partisan impeachment with deep consequences for both parties and the country." Well done, Nancy!
New York University professor Jay Rosen listed every example of mealy mouthed "both sides-ism" from the Times' latest insult to journalism. If part time White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham ever showed up to work, you'd think she'd contributed to the reporting. At the very least, she'll probably pin a copy of it on the front of Trump's refrigerator.
It's Strictly Business - The Godfather (2/9) Movie CLIP (1972) HD www.youtube.com
In The Godfather, Michael Corleone plots with his family to murder a New York City police captain. That's normally considered out of bounds even for the mob, but Michael explains to consigliere Tom Hagen that they can use the press to spin the story to their benefit.
MICHAEL: Tom, wait a minute. I'm talking about a cop that's mixed up in drugs. I'm talking about ah... ah... a dishonest cop...a crooked cop who got mixed up in the rackets and got what was coming to him. That's a terrific story. And we have newspaper people on the pay roll, don't we, Tom? And they might like a story like that.
HAGEN: They might, they just might...
Obviously, no one at the New York Times is on Trump or the GOP's payroll, but that almost makes it worse. When the media prioritizes supposed "fairness" over facts, they allow lies to spread like mold. They're on Trump's side whether they believe it or not, and he doesn't have to pay them a cent.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.