Media was exposed as being out of touch on Trump impeachment effort and dragging Democrats along with them
...What I saw at the hearings was very effective cross-examination and arguments by Republicans from Elise Stefanick, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, and several other Republicans. The witnesses were constantly refuting the Democrats' arguments and noting there was no quid pro quo, and no bribery. A jury would be insane to convict on the evidence presented by Schiff and his witnesses. I have participated in many trials and its rare to see so many prosecution witnesses refute the government's case. One would have to be a biased observer to think Schioff even had a case. The media really missed the story by tuning out the cross-examination.
Instead of making the case that Trump had committed some sort of high crime or misdemeanor meriting immediate removal, they instead just asserted that an unspecified crime had occurred and that witnesses had testified unambiguously that it had occurred. People who actually suffered through the hearings might be forgiven for not having the same impression.
Sure, viewers saw a bunch of hand-selected bureaucrats assert that Bad Orange Man wanted Ukraine to investigate various things, but we already knew that from Trump’s release of the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president and his many public statements on the matter. The question was never about whether Trump wanted these investigations, or even whether one involved the Bidens, but whether it was criminal, much less impeachable, to want these things from a country that receives hundreds of millions of dollars in American taxpayer funds each year.
Trump’s well known efforts were so anodyne and frankly ineffective that — despite the media’s promises of bombshells after bombshells — the best evidence there was for him wanting these things were his own public statements, and not any of the testimony from third- or fourth-hand witnesses.
Having lost the argument, the media switched to asserting that the case had already been successfully argued by the Democrats. A pitch-perfect example of assertion over argument was the Washington Post headline “Trump’s GOP support hardens despite damning impeachment testimony.”
In Philip Rucker’s opinionated writeup of the week’s events, he asserted — without evidence — that witnesses “implicated the president in a scheme to pressure Ukraine to influence the 2020 election.” He appeared to be recasting efforts to investigate Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, and the involvement of Biden family members in Ukrainian corruption, as a “scheme” focused on 2020. Rucker appeared oblivious to the fact that last week’s impeachment hysteria appeared to be a scheme by the media and Democrats to influence the 2020 election, as he puts it.
Supposedly objective reporters and the NeverTrump pundits that are overrepresented at all the networks tweeted out their frustration and rage that even the squishiest of squishy Republicans was not falling for the impeachment effort, which, again, they asserted was conclusive.
They knew that for impeachment to have even a fig leaf of legitimacy, it needed strong bipartisan support. In fact, given the establishment Republican participation in the anti-Trump Resistance, it needed even more than the usual bipartisan support. Instead, it had no Republican support. What’s more, the opposition was bipartisan, and giving every indication it might grow.
The complete rejection of this narrative by those outside their shared political milieu is revealing. The corporate media simply don’t have the power that they once did to control the narrative and control political outcomes.
When the Russia hoax imploded, the media didn’t hold Democrats accountable for perpetrating it because they had joined forces with Democrats to perpetrate it.
And when the Ukraine impeachment effort began in the immediate aftermath of the Russia collusion hoax, the media couldn’t ask tough questions of Democrats because they needed the impeachment as much, if not more, than Democrats did. The alternative was to admit their failures over the last several years, and that wasn’t going to happen. Until and unless Trump is impeached and defeated in 2020, they will not be able to be honest about their failures.
So the media presented a map of where Democrats wanted to be instead of where they actually were and where they were actually going. The end result was that they led their Democratic colleagues dangerously close to a cliff. Democrats should think seriously about whether their allies in the media are truly serving their interests or are putting them in increasingly difficult situations.