HORIST: Washington, D.C. – A city of two tales
Republicans and Democrats were once characterized as being able to look at the same clock on the wall and disagree on the time of day. Nothing gives validity to that expression more than the current Impeachment inquiry being carried out by the Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Having tortured myself by watching the hours upon hours of testimony – consumed by irrelevant inquiries, repetitious questions with well-known answers and pompous political pronouncements – I then checked out the next morning coverage on the major news networks. The analyses between FOX News and CNN/MSNBC could not have been more divergent.
According to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast of predictable pundits – as one example — the impeachment inquiry that featured a dozen establishmentarian bureaucrats — including George Kent, William Taylor , Marie Yovanovitch, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill, Kurt Volker, Jennifer Williams, Tom Morrison, David Holmes, David Hale, Laura Cooper and Alexander Vindman — was a win for the Democrats. The accusations of misdeeds … CRIMES … against President Trump were established beyond any doubt. So sayeth virtually every talking head appearing on the anti-Trump networks.
Accusations of crimes, such as bribery, extortion, shakedown, abuse of power, obstruction of a congressional hearing and the catch-all of “high crimes and misdemeanors”—whatever that means – rolled off their lips with a certainty that belied that fact that any court-of-law would have dismissed those claims. It was as if they were simply reading from a book of criminal legal terms.
Switching over to FOX, I was greeted with a totally different perspective — claims that it was “a great day for the Republicans.” Most of the hosts and panelists argued that those very same witnesses mentioned above had utterly failed to make the case against Trump – and, in fact, had significantly supported defense arguments in many cases.
According to the FOX reporters, there were no indications of any crime or malfeasance of any sort. No bribery. No shakedown. No extortion. Maybe a little quid pro quo, but nothing improper in it, the folks on FOX opined. In fact, Trump had a legal and moral obligation to insist on investigations of corruption in Ukraine before releasing the military aid.
What is even more remarkable is that each network presented outtakes from the testimony that seemed to prove their perspective. If you were only to watch CNN/MSNBC or FOX News you would find their analysis to be quite persuasive – rather convincing. It is a bit like listening only to the prosecution OR defense in a court-of-law – but not to both.
However, our news industry is not supposed to operate like prosecutors or defenders. Journalists in a free press are supposed to be more like a referee — listening to both sides of the political debate and giving a fair and balanced report so that we the people can make an informed judgment.
So, how is it that the major cable news services could have such divergent views of the basic facts? And which side got it right –assuming one side did? Where is the truth?
Weeeell … having watched the entire proceedings – and the coverage across the board — I think I can make an informed judgment. I cast my vote for FOX News.
Yeah, I can hear it now. As a conservative with Republican leanings, what would you expect of me? But in a debate, I think I could make a pretty good case in defense of my opinion. First of all – as is almost always the case – FOX interviewed more people on both sides of the national schism. CNN and MSNBC do not engage in two-sided discussions as a matter of policy.
I side with FOX, not because of what THEY said in their political postmortem, but what I concluded watching the inquiry in real time. I thought the Democrats failed to make a case for impeachment and removal from office. As with any halfway competent prosecutor, the Democrats presented a case that had an aura of credibility – but was fact challenged.
For example, CNN and MSNBC were filled with outtakes of Hill saying that the accusation of Ukrainian involvement against Trump in the 2016 election was untrue and counterproductive. She did say that – BUT she also said that there were a number of Ukrainian officials who believed that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election and therefore launched a campaign of criticism of Trump – essentially interfering with the election.
She made a distinction that Russian involvement was government directed by President Vladimir Putin whereas Ukrainian involvement was more freelance among high-level officials. Hill even said that she understands why Trump would be upset with what they said and did. You never heard that part of her testimony on CNN or MSNBC.
When several witnesses for the prosecution were asked if they could provide any evidence of bribery or a shakedown, they answered with a simple “no.” You never saw that piece of video on CNN and MSNBC. And I could go on and on.
Democrats seemed to be collecting holes to make a fishnet. To be sure, they and their media pals spoke most emphatically of their case against Trump. It was more like a demand to believe them rather than allowing we the people to make up our own minds. In fact, those of us who did not believe every word emanating from left-wing media were characterized as evil or stupid.
Just as they exaggerated the so-called crimes, Democrats went into hyperbolic outer space in terms of outcomes. If we do not buy into the Democrat politically driven theories and boot Trump out of office, the Constitution will be nullified and the entire Republic will fall. That is a bit much.
Yes, Washington has become a city of two tales – one fact based and the other propaganda. Hmmm. I wonder which is which.
So, there ‘tis.