Accuracy in Media

NBC News remained as one of the few media outlets in the mainstream media that covered pro-impeachment rallies throughout the country. Most other media outlets and websites focus on the daily updates surrounding the impeachment articles, the impeachment trial currently in limbo between the House of Representatives and the Senate, and other impeachment-related news.

NBC News’s update on the pro-impeachment rallies ran with the following headline, “Breaking down the big impeachment rally mystery.” The sub-headline read, “Democrats have flooded the streets by the millions to protest Trump before. So why did the protests calling for his removal stay so modest?”

In other words, NBC News was confused about why pro-impeachment rally attendance figures are significantly lower than the anti-Trump rallies and protests that have taken place since Trump’s 2016 electoral victory.

By NBC News’s count, the majority of pro-impeachment rallies attendance numbers range in the hundreds, compared to the “millions of demonstrators” at the Women’s March or March for Our Lives rallies. The news outlet added that “[t]he continued absence of large-scale protests at every stage of the process to date has been particularly noticeable when compared to recent demonstrations occurring around the world demanding political change, from Hong Kong to France to Chile.”

But NBC News missed one of the most important reasons behind lackluster attendance numbers at the pro-impeachment rallies: poll numbers on impeachment. According to RealClearPolitics, the country is closely divided on whether impeachment was the right move for Congress in multiple polls. In nine major polls listed, only three polls concluded that a majority of Americans favor impeachment. Four polls concluded that a majority of Americans oppose impeachment, with two polls tied on the impeachment question. Overall, the RealClearPolitics poll average is tied on impeachment.

There may be significant anti-Trump sentiment among Americans willing to participate in rallies like the Women’s March, but that same sentiment does not translate to impeachment rallies. As the aforementioned polls demonstrate, Americans are closely divided on impeachment, and therefore, not as many Americans turn out for pro-impeachment rallies. It is also a confrontational tactic to demand impeachment, since the United States has only impeached two previous presidents in its history, which tactic also deters potential rally participants from turning out.

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