Panicky Liberals On Slate Podcast: ‘Could Trump Be Impeached For Bashing The Press?’

Posted on Sat 04/15/2017 by

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By Tim Graham ~

Why is the liberal media so arrogant that it confuses the freedom of speech in attacking them with an attack on democracy? The other day, CNN’s Jim Acosta implied criticizing CNN was “un-American,” when that’s the kind of word CNN founder Ted Turner would have banned, since he didn’t want his anchors and reporters using the word “foreign.”

Now former Chicago Tribune editor James Warren has blogged at Poynter.org on the question “Could Trump be impeached for bashing the press?” He began:

It’s the essence of responsibly provocative, with an accent on provocative: a Harvard Law School professor making a case for impeachment of Donald Trump based on his badmouthing of the press.

Noah Feldman, who contributes to Bloomberg News, offers a suggestive if debatable case during the latest episode of “Trumpcast,” a podcast hosted by Slate boss Jacob Weisberg.

In sum, the fact that the Founding Fathers meant the Constitution to protect the press as essential to democracy, he says, could lead to an impeachment precisely because of Trump’s “subtle, careful, slow, undercutting of press freedom.”

Why do liberals confuse criticizing the press with the “undercutting of press freedom”? Aren’t they supposed to be smarter than the rest of us? It’s like arguing it’s “un-American” to criticize and “undercut” the president, of whichever party. Freedom of speech, and democracy, allow all Americans, including the president, to attack or mock the press like any other institution. To borrow a term from Brian Stelter, impeaching a president for press criticism sounds….”authoritarian.”

Liberals also have an arrogant tendency to equate “the press” with the liberal media. Journalists with Fox News or The Washington Times or the Daily Signal or our CNSNews.com are somehow not “the press,” since they’re outside this liberal groupthink. They were outraged that Trump would “undercut press freedom” by allowing reporters of this stripe into the briefing room. That might be called democratizing the briefing room, making it look more like America. But they want it to be a liberal “Murderer’s Row” for Trump and Sean Spicer, and then a rapt audience of Democrat voters for the other party.

All this is rather academic. An impeachment attempt would require politicians, not reporters, to gain momentum, and politicians certainly know what it can be like to be on the receiving end of “press freedom.” Plus “The Feldman scenario is clearly premised on the Democrats winning back at least the House of Representatives in next year’s midterm elections.”

Slate editor Jacob  Weisberg wondered if such a precedent might justify going after most any president for most anything? “I don’t think Trump’s activities are so ordinary, so boring, so plain vanilla that going after him would set a precedent for going after everybody,” claimed Feldman.

Somehow, holding Trump accountable through robust journalism isn’t enough, according to the liberals. You have to impeach Trump to hold him accountable:

And while Feldman underscores his deep belief in the First Amendment, he argues “I’m not talking about criminalizing the president’s actions, I’m talking about holding him accountable, and holding him accountable under the rubric of impeachment.”

“The real purpose of impeachment at the deepest level is for Congress to express its beliefs about what the right way to be president is, with respect to respect for democracy and the rule of law. And that includes not taking actions that are effectively intended to curtail press freedoms, to frighten the press, especially through corporate pressure, into ceasing to be effective critics. That is how democracy erodes.”

Only when Democrats are out of power do liberals insist the media must be “effective critics” or “democracy erodes.” When Democrats are in power, “responsible” citizen/journalists do what they can to muzzle or shame “effective critics” and suggest the president has wonderful policy ideas, a lovely family, and a terrific dog.

Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters. He is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.

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