Hubris and impeachment

Jumping on the impeachment bandwagon, The New York Times has allowed a 20-something editorial assistant to argue for the House to present a bill of particulars against President Trump.

In one of the worst journalistic offenses in recent months, DaTimes allowed Ian Prasad Philbrick to create the news organization’s own articles of impeachment based on those for Presidents Nixon and Clinton. Philbrick has been part of a team to bring Trump down by creating listicles about the president and his “misdeeds.”

His resume says he’s a 2017 graduate of Georgetown in government and Latin American studies. His articles in the student newspaper centered mainly on reviews of television programs. See https://georgetownvoice.com/tag/ian-philbrick/. He was an intern for a few months at Slate before joining DaTimes in June 2017 as an editorial assistant. That used to be someone who made coffee, picked up dry cleaning, and checked unimportant facts for a prominent reporter or columnist.

In an amazing bit of hubris, the fledgling journo removed and added passages from the bills of impeachment for Nixon and Clinton. You can see the entire travesty here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/05/opinion/impeachment-trump-democrats-nixon-clinton.html

But there’s more. “…[W]hen you assess Mr. Trump’s conduct by the bar for impeachment set by past Democratic and Republican lawmakers for past presidents of both parties, the results are striking. The pathway to a possible Trump impeachment is already mapped out in these historical documents,” writes Philbrick, who has no background in Washington politics or constitutional law.

I guess DaTimes doesn’t need its reporters to have expertise or seasoning anymore. Simply falling in line with the journalistic meme is sufficient.

Problems abound with Philbrick’s assessment. For example, the editorial assistant thinks that Nixon and Trump refusing to testify before a grand jury is worse than Clinton lying to one. I guess he doesn’t understand what perjury is.

Philbrick argues that an important element of a Trump impeachment should be based on Article Three of Clinton’s impeachment. That’s one the House didn’t pass.

But there’s even more. “These rewritten articles against Mr. Trump don’t include other potentially impeachable offenses that lack a clear precedent in the Nixon and Clinton cases, such as hush-money payments to women or possible violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause,” DaTimes’ editorial assistant notes. “There is no question that by the standards for high crimes and misdemeanors applied to past presidents in living memory, Donald J. Trump has committed impeachable offenses.”

Journalists tend to explain terms many readers don’t know. That would be emoluments, which means you can’t make extra money from your position in government.

It’s amazing that Philbrick has such an enlarged ego to think he has the experience and knowledge to write on such an important topic. It reminds me of one of my students who argued recently that living under Trump was worse than living in the Soviet Union!

What’s even worse is that any news organization—let alone DaTimes—allows him to do it! Then, again, it is DaTimes.