The founders of our country thought that a free press was so important to the health of our democracy that they guaranteed the ability to do your job in the very first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It appears that many of you have been so immersed in a culture of “getting clicks” that you have forgotten your own importance.
This past Wednesday, our country started impeachment hearings for only the 4th time in its entire 243 year history. Our current president appears to have committed, at a minimum, gross abuses of power, bribery, and extortion. The importance of these impeachment proceedings is almost unparalleled in our country.
But apparently none of that matters because you were bored by it all.
It’s staggering how short-sighted and inane that is. The media value of the impeachment hearings is not measured in how entertaining the proceedings are, but how important they are to the health of our democracy. On one hand, the American people need to hear the facts and details of what the president was doing with Ukraine and why. You need to explain how our country normally works with foreign powers, and what is (and isn’t) normal foreign policy.
On the other hand, there is a very real threat that the impeachment hearings will turn up facts that prove conclusively that the president did in fact extort Ukraine by withholding badly needed military funding until they agreed publicly to investigate one of the president’s domestic political rivals, and DESPITE those facts, every member of the Republican party will vote to exonerate the president anyway. The consequences that would have on our democracy are so frightening I can barely finish typing this letter.
Think for a moment what the consequence would be for the press. This is a president who expresses his admiration for dictators who imprison journalists regularly; like Turkish President Erdogan who he met with this week. If the Republican party votes to exonerate our president even in the face of obvious abuses of power, do you really think he’ll feel constrained by the First Amendment?
This moment is too important — we simply cannot have the media be jaded about it. Just because you follow politics closely and already know who Bill Taylor is and what he said in the closed door hearings last month doesn’t mean that the public knows this, too. You must remember that a vast majority of Americans had never heard of Bill Taylor or George Kent or any of the other witnesses who have been named before this week. It is YOUR job to tell them who they are and why they are important in this moment of our history.
For the sake of the republic, get your sh*t together.
A Concerned American