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It doesn’t take a skilled code-breaker to figure out the liberal networks’ stance on President Donald Trump’s impeachment: There’s no doubt we need witnesses if the Senate is going to conduct a fair trial; impeachment is necessary to prove that nobody — not even the President — is above the law; and there’s no more pressing task for Congress if we’re to keep this President, and future Presidents, from acting like tyrants.
But when the President being impeached was a Democrat, the spin was completely reversed. In 1999, the broadcast networks were reluctant even to cover the Senate trial for any extended period of time. All three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) cut their live coverage after 90 minutes on the first day, leaving only PBS to run live gavel-to-gavel coverage. But despite the lack of live coverage, there was no shortage of furious political commentary about the reviled process.
Pundits - Clinton - Impeachment - Congress - Everyone
Pundits during the Clinton impeachment scoffed that the Congress was wasting everyone’s time even bothering with a Senate trial in the first place. Journalists assured American audiences on a nightly basis that they were witnessing a “bogus” trial, a “political,” “sham” designed only to torment the President. Journalists regularly used terms that today elicit high-pitched shrieks from the news media, like “coup” and “witch hunt.”
■ “Is or is there not some concern of the public perception – concern in some quarters, not all of them Democratic – that this is in fact a kind of effort at a quote ‘coup?’ That is, you have a twice elected, popularly-elected President of the United States and ... [Republicans] having been unable to beat him at the polls, have found another way to get him out of office.”
CBS - Anchor - Dan - Rather - Coverage
— CBS anchor Dan Rather during live coverage, January 7, 1999.
■ “That herd of managers from...
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