Making a mockery of impeachment

The mainstream media on the marginalization beat.

Published November 7, 2007 1:58PM (EST)

If you're a progressive looking to feel marginalized, be sure to check out the New York Times and the Washington Post this morning on Dennis Kucinich's effort to impeach Dick Cheney.

In an American Research Group poll taken in July, 54 percent of Americans -- and 74 percent of Democrats -- said they wanted the House to begin impeachment proceedings against Cheney. In a USA Today/Gallup poll taken at about the same time, 36 percent of Americans said there's sufficient justification for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against the president himself.

So how does the Times describe Kucinich's measure? Well, it's a "potentially embarrassing distraction" for the Democrats, of course. The Post channels the president, who has complained that Congress shouldn't be "wasting time" on Iraq and children's health insurance when it hasn't sent him appropriations bills. "On a day intended for moving long-overdue annual spending bills," the Post's Elizabeth Williamson writes in what passes for a news story, "the House instead spent a good chunk of yesterday wrangling over" Kucinich's impeachment push.

What about the merits of Kucinich's arguments against Cheney? The Post -- again, in a news story -- refers to the resolution offered by the "seemingly Quixotic" Kucinich as a "rambling" document that "bristles with citations of Cheney's public comments" justifying the war in Iraq. The Post doesn't identify even one of those public comments -- how about, "We know they have biological and chemical weapons"? -- but at least it says that Kucinich charges Cheney with lying to Americans in the run-up the Iraq war. If you were to read only the Times' account, all you'd know of Kucinich's arguments is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "has said the Democrats have no interest in impeaching Mr. Cheney or President Bush over the Iraq war."

In the end, maybe that's all anybody needs to know: The House Democratic leadership thinks impeaching Cheney is just as crazy as news reporters for the Times and the Post think it is. "It's hard to know which has longer odds," the Times jabs, "the bid by ... Kucinich ... to become president of the United States, or his bid to unseat Vice President Dick Cheney by impeaching him."

Actually it's not hard to know. Although Kucinich has virtually no chance of living in the White House, he still has a much better shot at that than he does at impeaching Cheney because the people, rather than their elected representatives, actually have a say in the matter.

House Democrats have sent Kucinich's proposal to the House Judiciary Committee, where it will die a slow death. In the meantime, you can read the full text of his resolution here.

By Salon Staff

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