Hubris and impeachment

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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://​george​town​voice​.com/​t​a​g​/​i​a​n​-​p​h​i​l​b​rick/. 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/​i​n​t​e​r​a​c​t​i​v​e​/​2019​/​06​/​05​/​o​p​i​n​i​o​n​/​i​m​p​e​a​c​h​m​e​n​t​-​t​r​u​m​p​-​d​e​m​o​c​r​a​t​s​-​n​i​x​o​n​-​c​l​i​n​t​o​n​.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.

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.