Accuracy in Media

Almost a month after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment, the impeachment trials remains at an impasse. Now, Senate Democrats have broken ranks with their party colleagues in the House on whether the House should continue stalling the Senate impeachment trial.

Multiple Senate Democrats told members of the media that they want Pelosi to end the standoff with McConnell and send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate for an impeachment trial. Senators such as Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) told the media that the Democrats should move forward with the trial.

The impasse began when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insisted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduce witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial. McConnell declined to negotiate with Pelosi’s demands and said that the trial will be a speedy and fair trial. Pelosi refused to send the impeachment articles to the Senate, which is a formal and important part of the process to get the Senate impeachment trial started.

The media’s spin on the impeachment trial as a one-sided and partisan defense by Republicans has gone on for several weeks since the impeachment vote last year. Much of the media’s coverage criticized Republicans for not agreeing to Pelosi’s demands, without properly framing the impeachment vote as a partisan effort by the Democratic Party. In multiple articles on the subject, the media neglected to tell readers that the impeachment vote passed on party lines, with a handful of Democratic lawmakers defecting and voting with their Republican colleagues.

With multiple Senate Democrats telling Pelosi, through the media, that they want to get the trial started indicated that the media’s spin was unsuccessful. The media pushed the narrative that the Republicans were obstructionist and partisan while ignoring Congress’s partisan impeachment vote tally. Yet the media’s biased coverage and narrative were unable to move the needle on the McConnell-Pelosi impasse in Pelosi’s favor and Senate Democrats acknowledged Pelosi’s strategic failure.

Politico, NBC News, the Washington Post, and The Hill published articles that acknowledged how Pelosi’s strategy pushed Senate Democrats to break ranks with Pelosi on impeachment trial demands.

Ultimately, the media’s effort to push Republicans to negotiate with Pelosi and make concessions in the Senate impeachment trial by airing negative coverage was a massive failure.

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