The political press corps may have hit peak impeachment failure on Sunday when Meet the Press host Chuck Todd introduced a segment in which voters from a toss-up district in Michigan were interviewed about the House proceedings against Donald Trump. Touted as a way to take the temperature of everyday voters outside of the “Beltway,” the sit-down with six voters from Kent County, Michigan, offered a chance to hear from America's heartland and if its denizens “care” about impeachment. Except there was a slight problem: Every voter interviewed was a Republican, and every voter interviewed opposed impeachment. (“I don’t even care. It's just noise.”)
Even more stunning was the fact that the Michigan county highlighted by Meet the Press is represented in Congress by Justin Amash who made headlines earlier this year when he left the Republican Party because of Trump's corrupt behavior, and who has since come out in favor of impeachment. Yet network news producers looked at that backdrop, and the fact that 54% of Americans support impeachment according to the most recent Fox News poll, and thought the best approach would be to only ask Republican voters how they felt about impeachment?
If that doesn't pull back the curtain on today's coverage and how it's being told literally through the eyes of the Republican Party, I don't know what does. Wedded to the Republican narrative that impeachment has put Democrats back on their heels and is boosting Trump's standing, the press in recent weeks increasingly resembled a soft landing spot for GOP spin.
On Tuesday, when Trump released an incoherent, paranoid diatribe in the form of a petulant, hate-filled six-page letter in an attempt to answer his impeachment accusers, some observers likened the screed to a would-be Unabomber manifesto, only not as well-written. But the Beltway press? They scrambled to normalize Trump's appalling behavior, describing the shocking display of pity and lies as “resilient” and “fiery.”
Meanwhile, the dominant theme in recent days—and it reads like it's straight from the Republican National Committee—is that Democrats from closely divided districts face a looming backlash if they vote to remove Trump from office. But there continues to be virtually no evidence to support that.