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Firmly adopting Republican spin as the best way to view the House impeachment of Donald Trump, The New York Times in recent days appears to have forfeited much of its news coverage to the GOP. Adopting Republican talking points that impeachment is “a political plus” for Trump; “risky” for Democrats; that the White House’s impeachment war room is humming on all cylinders; Democrats are in danger of devaluing impeachment; and that nobody can really tell which party has the facts on their side, the Times is doing the GOP an incalculable favor by refusing to be aggressively honest with readers about the historic events that are unfolding.

Over and over during the past week, Times reporters have defaulted to a clearly Republican perspective, framing the impeachment as a looming political loss for Democrats, who have been largely outmaneuvered by their more savvy counterparts across the isle. This, despite the fact that half of Americans support the extraordinary action of removing a sitting Republican president from office.

The sad truth is that Times impeachment coverage has collapsed into a newsroom marveling at how Democrats haven’t been able to convince the GOP to support the congressional oversight, and therefore it represents a political loss for Democrats. Do you notice the calculation there? By simply opposing Democrats, Republicans are declared the winners.

The case of impeachment is even more incendiary because not only are Republicans stuck in obstruction mode, but they've dived headfirst into the swamp of conspiracy and lies and refuse to engage in a public debate on the facts. Remember, Trump has admitted to pressuring the Ukraine government to launch a bogus investigation into Trump's political rival at home, yet Republicans now routinely parade in front of microphones categorically denying Trump ever made any such public admission. Given that behavior, you'd think the dominant media narrative would be about how radical and detached from reality Republicans have become, and what the deep and lasting implications are for our democracy.

Instead, the press is playing along and suggesting it's Democrats who are faltering.

  • December 16, 2019