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The Media Help Erode Our Norms

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

When The Washington Post infamously posted the motto "Democracy Dies in Darkness" on its masthead after Donald Trump was elected, it was implicit -- The Post will deny it -- that Trump is the enemy of democracy, and of "light" or transparency. So it was sadly poetic that after the House Democrats rammed through such an incredibly partisan impeachment vote -- without a single Republican voting aye -- Washington Post reporter Rachael Bade posted a photograph on Twitter of her and her colleagues celebrating with beers.


Bade tweeted: "Merry Impeachmas from the WaPo team! @pkcapitol is buying." After it became controversial, Bade deleted it, claiming it had been misunderstood.

With all their tweets and all their angry, opinionated segments on CNN and MSNBC, these journalists cannot be misunderstood. This was a message of "mission accomplished." The Post and all its brethren in the Trump-hating media have been seeking this vote since before President Trump was even inaugurated. It's hard to tell whether the Democrats or the media have been more ardent in seeking Trump's removal from office. It's difficult to discern the slightest difference in partisan aggression between the Democrats and the press.

Our only question is: Who are the leaders, and who are the followers? Are the ideologues in the media forcing their will on the Democrats, or the other way around?

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's crackpot impeachment vote came her declaration that she would withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate. "So far, we haven't seen anything that looks fair to us, so hopefully it will be fairer, and when we see what that is, we'll send our managers," she shamelessly proclaimed. As if the Democrats and their media allies have been fair to Team Trump all along. She called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a "rogue leader" for failing to bend to her will.


NBC located "a source familiar with the administration's reaction" who asked, "How can these people be taken seriously?"

Mark Levin took it very seriously, tweeting: "So she's unilaterally sitting on the impeachment. This is another brazen unconstitutional act." He argued the impeachment should be declared "null and void" by the Senate and added, "Her effort to cripple the presidency & blackmail the Senate must be defeated." The founders didn't set up this system so the House speaker could make demands of the Senate until it cries uncle.

This is where the media's bowing to and scraping for Democrats and their strategists warps our system. They're not part of the checks and balances. They have no balance, and they never check the Democrats. The media paint everything Team Chuck & Nancy does as "historic" and "solemn," and the Republican reactions as "diatribes" and "onslaughts."

During the Clinton impeachment in 1998, TV reporters also sounded hopelessly devoted to the Democratic party line. They emotionally announced that special counsel Kenneth Starr's report was a truck bomb and compared the entire process to a Puritan big brother obsessing over Bill Clinton's sex life as if we all lived in George Orwell's "1984."

Perjury? Who cares about perjury?

The morning after the Trump impeachment vote, ABC "news" man George Stephanopoulos grimly implied Trump will have an "indelible mark on his record." Indelible? This from the "journalists" who blatantly campaigned in 2016 to put Clinton back in the White House as first gentleman.


The media cannot credibly lecture anyone on the erosion of "democratic norms" under this president. They have eroded every journalistic norm in their crusade to remove Trump and are now stenographers for undoing constitutional norms. They are the ones casting a dark shadow over our democracy. And no one gets to remove these unelected, permanent politicians from their offices.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog

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