Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media has used hyperbole to describe the presidency of Donald Trump, such as the Washington Post coining the motto, “Democracy dies in darkness,” in addition to other media outlets’ similar rhetoric. CNN added to the media’s list of hyperbole about Trump’s first term by claiming that after impeachment, Trump continued to act “unrestrained” after the Democrat-majority House of Representatives voted to impeach him.

CNN’s analysis, headlined, “Trump shows that impeachment will not moderate him,” criticized Trump for using impeachment as a tool at political rallies and to unify the Republican Party behind him.

Throughout the analysis, CNN made it appear that it was unusual for a president to fight back against the lawmakers who voted to impeach him. Neither did the analysis note how Americans are closely divided on impeachment and whether the Democrats had good legal standing to impeach Trump in the first place.

CNN assumed its readers agreed with its perspective that the two articles of impeachment were legally sound and that the partisan vote resonated with the American public, though polls demonstrate otherwise. It claimed that this upcoming Election Day will be a pivotal moment for American voters to hold Trump accountable, “Once the impeachment drama finally ends, American politics will coalesce around the looming presidential election. It will be a reminder that the ultimate clash between Trump and accountability will come in November.”

CNN added, “Impeachment only happened because voters who apparently favored more presidential restraint handed Democrats the House in midterm elections. They will get their chance to weigh in again on Trump’s unconstrained vision of politics again in less than 10 months.”

It was ironic that CNN called Trump’s presidency “unrestrained” and that he lacked accountability to the American people, without mentioning Trump’s predecessor in the White House. Former president Barack Obama also weather multiple scandals throughout his two terms as president, such as the Fast and Furious scandal, the Iran nuclear deal, the Benghazi terrorist attack which claimed the lives of several Americans (including a sitting U.S. ambassador), the prosecution of journalists for publishing stories detrimental to the Obama administration (such as James Rosen), and lethal drone strikes which killed terrorists, American citizens, and civilians alike. During Obama’s presidency, the media did not hold him accountable.

For CNN to ignore Obama’s multiple scandals, as well as polling data which showed that impeachment was not widely supported by American voters, was a significant disservice to its readers. The analysis portrayed Trump as a rebellious and out-of-control politician because he did not back down from his political opponents. CNN’s analysis was not an impartial analysis, but an opinion editorial masquerading as a fair and balanced analysis.

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