Accuracy in Media

Everything changes with the second round of public testimony in the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry because this time the witness is a woman, according to a story Friday in the Washington Post.

“For Trump, Yovanovitch’s testimony brings moment of reckoning on gender,” read the headline on Elize Viebeck’s story.

That moment began “during the pivotal phone call that sparked the House impeachment inquiry,” when “President Trump made a reference to gender as he smeared former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch,” the lead read.

“’The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news,’ Trump told Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky on July 25.” She does not mention the president of Ukraine agreed.

Trump she wrote, “then made an ominous prediction as he pressured Zelensky for investigations of his political rivals,” putting the Post in the position of accepting Democrats’ version of events before any judgment has been made. “’She’s going to go through some things,’ he said of the ambassador.”

Viebeck wrote that “as a leading female diplomat, political target of the president’s allies and a figure at the center of the Ukraine drama, Yovanovitch has crucial knowledge to impart when she testifies at Friday’s impeachment hearing.” Viebeck did not say what special insight Yovanovitch has because of her gender.

She also wrote Yovanovitch “enters the spotlight as the latest woman who has refused to acquiesce to Trump in the face of personal and gender-specific attacks.” But she does not say what gender-specific attacks Trump made on the former ambassador.

She says Yovanovitch’s removal “reflects some of the most complicated gender and political dynamics of Trump’s presidency” and that those dynamics are “magnifying … as the first woman to publicly testify prepares to confront Trump’s fiercest congressional defenders, nearly all men, about a campaign by other male allies of the president to force her from her post.”

She does not mention that not only are the president’s defenders mostly male but so are his chief attackers – Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

She says “the symbolism of that conflict underscores the significance of the historic probe, which was initiated by the female speaker of the House – Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – and made possible by female voters who helped deliver the House to Democrats in the last election.”

She then quotes a colleague of Yovanovitch from Georgetown saying “Seeing someone like Masha Yovanovitch come forward is going to be an extremely difficult moment for Trump. What I suspect the world will see when she walks into that hearing room is an individual who is not tall physically but really is a towering figure of integrity, inner strength and unswerving devotion to public service and telling the truth.”

She did not mention that truth telling appears to be somewhat of a problem for Yovanovitch.

She testified before Congress earlier that an email from a staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee about an “ugent” and “time-sensitive matter” the day after the Trump-Zelensky phone call became public was handled by the State Department’s Legislative Affairs Office and not her. But emails uncovered by Fox News show Yovanovitch had direct contact with the staffer and said she “would love to reconnect and looked forward to chatting.”

Yovanovitch also has been accused of providing a ‘do-not-prosecute’ to officials in Ukraine – ordering them not to investigate a variety of individuals and firms, including Burisma, the corrupt energy company for which Hunter Biden had a no-show $83,000-per-month job – and of ‘bad-mouthing’ the president in private conversations.

For Yovanovitch, who cried during her private testimony, Friday could even harder, Viebeck wrote. She “will face an Intelligence Committee with only four women – three Democrats and one Republican – out of 22 members. Female voices accounted for a little over 20 minutes of Wednesday’s roughly five-hour hearing …”

She should be ready for some quick questions, Viebeck cautioned.

“The aggressive approach of some Republican lawmakers could raise the potential for conflict. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, served as a leading interlocutor for the GOP on Wednesday, using a rapid-fire questioning style to try to embarrass or throw off the witnesses.”

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