Trump is Impeached- News from Both Sides of the Track
Bias is something we can’t escape. Everyone comes to the table with some sort of bias and opinions, no matter what the topic is.
The wise thing is to acknowledge the bias, and look at both sides as objectively as you can.
I have gotten in the habit of looking at two opposing news sources to sort out the facts from the opinions.
So, on the night of the vote to impeach a president for the third time in the history of our country, I decided to try to replicate my dual news experience, for anyone else reading about it this morning.
The takeaways and bullet points for people that want the facts without shading
- President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives.
- He does not have to leave office immediately, and most likely won’t be forced to leave unless something shocking happens in the Senate, where it will likely go next, if Pelosi decides to send it there.
- She is hesitating, for reasons disputed by both sides, but bottom line is that this isn’t going to the Senate immediately.
- All Republicans voted as expected, with quotes that he didn’t do anything wrong, and blamed all impeachment proceedings on the Democrats who have been trying to get him impeached since they became majority leaders in the last election.
- Three Democrats voted against. The majority of the Democrats voted in favor, saying they had to because it was the right thing to do, based on the evidence and in spite of knowing it would likely negatively affect them in the next election.
As I looked at the two main news pages, I first noticed the difference in the key headline.
CNN went with a big, bold “TRUMP IMPEACHED” blasted across the top. Notice that this has no extra comment besides what the biggest news is of the day.
Fox has bold, all caps letters too- “THE DEMS HAVE SPOKEN,” followed by smaller letters House impeaches Trump over Ukraine dealings, as Pelosi floats holding up Senate trial.
Note that the emphasis in the Fox version is not on Trump, but instead on what the Democrats voted. Even the line that deals with Trump is longer, detracting from the main point, including a statement about what Pelosi will do next.
Next, I saw the differences in the other supporting story headlines.
CNN, as of this writing, has most of the other story headlines designed either to show how we got to this point or what will happen next with Pelosi and the Senate. Here are a few examples.
A couple of interesting things on the Fox website, as of this writing. First, most of their supporting story titles focus on what people said.
Also, again, to try to detract from the news against Trump, they say Several Democrats defect on impeachment, as GOP holds together in support of Trump. They chose to focus on the few who voted against party lines versus the majority who did.
A look inside the main article of the day showed more bias.
The first thing I noticed, at a glance, is that Fox’s article was filled with more than just the words. It was littered, in a way that made it more difficult to read to me, with pictures, tweets, and videos throughout the whole story. Personally, I felt that it distracted from the whole story, but maybe that style of short paragraphs with lots of words and tweets is appealing to some readers.
CNN went with a video at the top, with a few pictures, but mostly just focused on the story. For someone like me, this felt easier to read, with less “noise” and distractions on the page.
As for the content, I honestly felt like CNN was actually trying to be fair and represent both sides of our very divided country in their reporting.
CNN had quotes from both sides.
“His conduct continues to undermine our Constitution and threaten our next election,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat.
“What we’ve seen is a process that’s led to the most partisan and least credible impeachment in the history of America,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
I read through the entire Fox article, which was substantially longer. It covered some things Pelosi said, a lot about the Democrat who voted against impeachment, and did include one quote from a Democrat for impeachment, at the very end of a very long article, honestly buried so deep that it is doubtful many people would read that far.
“The evidence is as clear as it is overwhelming,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “If a president undermining our national security and using the federal government for his own selfish personal gain is not impeachable conduct then … I don’t know what is.”
Both covered the main facts of the case, how many voted for and against, and what the key charges were.
But in the extra length, Fox took great pains to emphasize how long the Democrats have talked about impeaching Trump, and included many, many quotes from Trump and others who believed he had done nothing wrong.
“By the way, it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” Trump said at the rally. “The country is doing better than ever before. We did nothing wrong.”
“Without receiving a single Republican vote, and without providing any proof of wrongdoing, Democrats pushed illegitimate articles of impeachment against the President through the House of Representatives.
Reading these two different articles feels like you are hearing two completely different events.
It is truly disheartening to me that the country has gotten to a point where you can’t trust your news source to give all of the details in a fair and balanced way.
Even CNN, though I felt like they were more fair and balanced in their reporting, had more statements from Democrats about how they felt it was the right thing to do. They didn’t include the statement from the White House, or what the Democrats who voted against said.
They downplayed the Democrats who voted against impeachment much as Fox downplayed all the Democrats who voted for it.
Fox seemed more heavy handed in its bias, bogging down the details of what an impeachment is, and the next steps to focus on how unfair the Democrats were, how Pelosi is delaying, and how it is not a big deal whatsoever to Trump or his supporters.
Wherever you fall on the political lines, I encourage you to try to see that both sides are much like the producers of a reality show.
They have people in real life situations, the facts of the day, but they can edit the scene, take vocal clips and manipulate the viewers (or readers) to see the conflict in any light they choose.
Be wise consumers of news media, and try to see both sides, and find the truth wherever it rests, which is usually somewhere in the middle.