Politicizing the Ledes
Buried deep inside the print edition of the Times (page 26) is the announcement of the House Judiciary Committee report on the impeachment of Donald Trump. The headline is different than the one online. It says "House Report Offers Legal Case for Impeachment." And here is the first sentence:
House Democrats released a report on Saturday intended to lay out the legal and historical underpinnings of their case for impeaching President Trump while also countering Republican accusations that the investigation of the president’s conduct in office has been unfair and illegitimate.
In other words, for the Times, the Judiciary report is not about facts but instead, it's a partisan political document. A "Democratic report" — not a "House report," not a "House Judiciary report," but
Similar language was used by the same reporters when the House Intelligence Committee report was released:
House Democrats on Tuesday asserted that President Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election, releasing an impeachment report that found the president “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States.”
The Times has the story fundamentally wrong. By any stretch of the imagination, both reports are simply an objective detailing of the known facts. They point only in one direction:
Donald Trump, the president of the United States, betrayed his oath of office. Trump used bribery, extortion, and other criminal means to pressure a foreign government to manufacture dirt on a political opponent. He wasn't acting in America's interest. He was acting in his own — and in Putin's.
That is the story. The Times's coverage of impeachment is dangerously misguided. It provides Trump the perfect excuse to dismiss the clear evidence of criminal misconduct as merely politics as usual.
This is not politics as usual. Trump is an existenial threat to any semblance of democratic governance. And the Times needs to report that in a consistent manner. Trump's impeachment is not a political fight but a fight against an authoritarian demagogue who has no legitimate right to continue in office.