OBSESSED: Nets Bang Impeachment Drum 73 Times in a Day

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Over the span of just 26 hours on Monday and Tuesday, the network morning and evening newscasts featured mentions of impeachment a stunning 73 times while hyping the controversy over President Trump’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine.

After the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows included a combined 17 mentions of impeachment on Monday, the evening news broadcasts that night continued to push the narrative with 16 more mentions. By Tuesday morning, it became an avalanche, with the network broadcasts touting the I-word a whopping 40 times. Out of the 73 mentions, only two (2.7%) suggested impeachment was a "divisive" move that could "backfire politically" on Democrats.

 

 

“Tipping point? Talk of impeachment reaches a fever pitch on Capitol Hill,” co-host Hoda Kotb proclaimed at the top of NBC’s Today show on Tuesday. The anchor breathlessly added: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi under growing pressure from her own party, set to meet with fellow Democrats behind closed doors today.”

While failing to acknowledge the impeachment “fever” plaguing the media, minutes later, fellow co-host Craig Melvin declared: “Let’s get to our top story on this Tuesday morning, that pressure that is building on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pursue an impeachment investigation against President Trump...” White House correspondent Kristen Welker followed with this melodramatic pronouncement: “Well, the ground has shifted dramatically in the last 24 hours when it comes to talk of impeachment as pressure is mounting on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who Democratic congressional aides say is now reconsidering her resistance to impeachment.”

After briefly noting that Pelosi spent months having “tried to keep talk of impeachment at bay” for fear it was “too divisive,” Welker informed viewers that “the Speaker is asking colleagues whether they believe President Trump’s own admission that he discussed his rival Joe Biden with Ukraine’s president is a tipping point.”

The reporter went on to cite accusations hurled at the President by several House Democrats in a Washington Post op-ed: “Overnight, seven freshman Democrats with backgrounds in national security writing a scathing Washington Post op-ed, calling the President’s actions ‘a threat to all we have sworn to protect.,’ adding, ‘If the allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.’”

On ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday, co-host George Stephanopoulos led the broadcast with this screaming headline: “Calls for impeachment growing after a new revelation. That President Trump personally ordered nearly $400 million of aid to be withheld from Ukraine just days before his call with their leader, where he encouraged an investigation into political rival Joe Biden.” He added: “The President insists now he did nothing wrong as Democrats plan to meet this afternoon to talk impeachment.”

In the report that followed soon after, chief White House correspondent Jon Karl hyped: “This revelation comes as pressure to begin impeachment hearings grows from previously reluctant Democrats....And now, seven more House Democrats are joining the call to impeach, writing in an op-ed in The Washington Post that, quote, ‘These new allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect.’”

Turning to congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, Stephanopoulos could barely contain his excitement: “And Mary, this development that Jon reported on overnight, seven House freshman Democrats who’ve been reluctant to move on impeachment now say it’s time to go forward.” Bruce gushed:

Yeah, George, this is a very big deal. This is a group of freshmen Democrats from swing districts who could be vulnerable if impeachment backfires politically on Democrats. Pelosi has been reluctant to go down this road in part because she wants to protect these seats. These are her so-called “majority makers,” and now they are telling the Speaker to go for it. They write that, “This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand,” saying, “If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.” George, they are clearly giving the Speaker political cover here to consider impeachment. And they are not alone, we are now seeing some of Pelosi’s closest allies saying this is a turning point.

Moments later, Bruce concluded: “...this is a matter of national security and the more that we learn about these revelation, the more the Speaker is opening the door to consider impeachment.”

Opening Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King asked: “Has the number of Democrats open to impeachment now reached a tipping point?” Minutes later, fellow co-host Anthony Mason announced: “All this is pushing Democrats closer than ever to supporting impeachment.”

Co-host Tony Dokoupil then turned to correspondent Nancy Cordes and wondered: “Nancy, on impeachment, are we now at a turning point?” Cordes replied: “It does seem like the dam is breaking on the Democratic side, Tony. Just last night, ten Democrats, most of them from swing districts, the kind of Democrats who have been most cautious about impeachment, all announced that if the new allegations are true, that they would then be open to impeachment proceedings.”

Beyond the 73 mentions on the morning and evening newscasts, an NBC News Special Report covering Trump’s speech to United Nations – which was trashed by the reporters – brought up the word impeachment another eight times.

Here is a transcript of 15 mentions of impeachment on the September 24 Today show:

7:00 AM ET

HODA KOTB: Tipping point? Talk of impeachment reaches a fever pitch on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi under growing pressure from her own party, set to meet with fellow Democrats behind closed doors today.

(...)

7:02 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: Let’s get to our top story on this Tuesday morning, that pressure that is building on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pursue an impeachment investigation against President Trump amidst overnight revelations about the President’s phone call with the leader of Ukraine. We have complete coverage this morning, starting with NBC’s Kristen Welker, she is in town for the President’s speech later this morning over at the United Nations. Kristen, good morning to you.

HODA KOTB: Kristen, good morning.

KRISTEN WELKER: Craig and Hoda, good morning to both of you. Well, the ground has shifted dramatically in the last 24 hours when it comes to talk of impeachment as pressure is mounting on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who Democratic congressional aides say is now reconsidering her resistance to impeachment. But the question this morning, is this a breaking point?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Impeachment Pressure Grows on Pelosi; Speaker to Hold Dem Meeting Amid New Trump Phone Call Revelations]

For months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tried to keep talk of impeachment at bay, calling it too divisive, but now, according to Democratic aides on Capitol Hill and first reported by The Washington Post, the Speaker is asking colleagues whether they believe President Trump’s own admission that he discussed his rival Joe Biden with Ukraine’s president is a tipping point. Pelosi’s office has declined to comment. Overnight, seven freshman Democrats with backgrounds in national security writing a scathing Washington Post op-ed, calling the President’s actions “a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” adding, “If the allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.”

(...)

7:04 AM ET

WELKER: Earlier Monday, the President brushed off any talk of impeachment.

DONALD TRUMP: It’s just a Democrat witch hunt, here we go again.

(...)

WELKER: Overnight, the White House pushing back, saying, “These allegations are completely false, but because the media wants this story to be true so badly, they’ll once again manufacture a frenzy and drive ignorant, fake stories to attack this President.”

MELVIN: So, Kristen, there have been calls for impeachment before. What’s different this time? Where does the impeachment talk go from here?  

WELKER: It does feel as though the momentum is shifting, Craig and Hoda. But look, today’s gonna be critical. Democrats are holding several meetings on Capitol Hill, a big one this afternoon with House Democrats. They’re also stepping up their calls to see that whistleblower complaint.

(...)

7:31 AM ET

MELVIN: There are growing calls among House Democrats to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump. The President is accused of threatening to cut off funding to Ukraine in order to get prosecutors there to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Overnight, seven freshmen Democrats wrote a scathing Washington Post op-ed saying, quote, “If the allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.” They’re urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to start impeachment proceedings.

(...)

8:00 AM ET

KOTB: Demanding answers. The new fallout over that phone call between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine, as Democrats step up their call for impeachment.

(...)

8:02 AM ET

MELVIN: Talk of impeachment is heating up as Democrats demand to know why President Trump discussed Joe Biden during a phone call with the leader of Ukraine.

(...)

8:03 AM ET

PETER ALEXANDER: And today really could be a pivotal one. Democratic aides tell NBC News that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now reconsidering her resistance to impeachment. Later today, she will meet with her Democratic colleagues to discuss possible next steps.

(...)

Here are the 14 mentions of impeachment on GMA:

7:00 AM ET

(...)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Calls for impeachment growing after a new revelation. That President Trump personally ordered nearly $400 million of aid to be withheld from Ukraine just days before his call with their leader, where he encouraged an investigation into political rival Joe Biden. The President insists now he did nothing wrong as Democrats plan to meet this afternoon to talk impeachment.

(...)

7:02 AM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: But first, that breaking news overnight. President Trump personally ordered the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine just days before he encouraged their president to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. This development is fueling new calls to open impeachment proceedings in the House.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump Defends Ukraine Phone Call; Growing Calls for Impeachment]

(...)

7:03 AM ET

JON KARL: This revelation comes as pressure to begin impeachment hearings grows from previously reluctant Democrats.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY [D-CT]: I don’t know how I live in a country, I help lead a country that allows a President of the United States to openly admit to this kind of corruption and get away with it.

KARL: And now, seven more House Democrats are joining the call to impeach, writing in an op-ed in The Washington Post that, quote, “These new allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect.”

(...)

7:05 AM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s bring in our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce for more on that right now. And Mary, this development that Jon reported on overnight, seven House freshman Democrats who’ve been reluctant to move on impeachment now say it’s time to go forward.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Impeachment Pressure Grows; House Democrats to Meet Amid Pelosi’s Whistleblower Deadline]

MARY BRUCE: Yeah, George, this is a very big deal. This is a group of freshmen Democrats from swing districts who could be vulnerable if impeachment backfires politically on Democrats. Pelosi has been reluctant to go down this road in part because she wants to protect these seats. These are her so-called “majority makers,” and now they are telling the Speaker to go for it. They write that, “This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand,” saying, “If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.” George, they are clearly giving the Speaker political cover here to consider impeachment. And they are not alone, we are now seeing some of Pelosi’s closest allies saying this is a turning point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And she is really taking charge of this issue today in the House.

BRUCE: George, this is going to be a pivotal day. The Speaker is going to be sitting down with the chairmen of the committees who are investigating this matter and then she’s going to huddle with all of her members, every single Democrat in the House, to try to chart a path forward. The big question for the Speaker now is can she stem this rising tide? We now have 60%, more than 60% of her members who support impeachment. Now, Pelosi all along has been saying she needs two things in order to go down this road, she needs Republican support and buy-in from the public. Right now she has neither. But George, this is a matter of national security and the more that we learn about these revelation, the more the Speaker is opening the door to consider impeachment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Seems to be in something of a new place. Mary Bruce, thanks very much.

(...)

7:30 AM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of headlines to get to this morning as well, including that new trouble for President Trump. Breaking news overnight, we learned he personally ordered the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine just days before he encouraged their president to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden. Now there are new calls to open impeachment proceedings.

(...)

8:00 AM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: New trouble for President Trump over his pressure on Ukraine. Calls for impeachment now growing after a new revelation that President Trump personally ordered nearly $400 million of aid to be withheld from Ukraine just days before his phone call with their leader in which they discussed investigating rival Joe Biden. The President now insists he did nothing wrong as Democrats plan to meet today to talk impeachment.

(...)

8:03 AM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: We have a lot of news to get to this morning as well, including that new trouble for President Trump. Calls for impeachment are growing after a new revelation that the President ordered hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to be withheld from Ukraine, that was just days before he encouraged their president to investigate Joe Biden.

(...)

8:04 AM ET

KARL: This revelation comes as a wave of moderate Democrats is now supporting impeachment.

(...)

Here are the 11 mentions of impeachment on CBS This Morning:

7:00 AM ET

(...)

GAYLE KING: Has the number of Democrats open to impeachment now reached a tipping point?

(...)

7:03 AM ET

ANTHONY MASON: All this is pushing Democrats closer than ever to supporting impeachment.

(...)

PAULA REID: On Monday, the President said he wasn’t concerned.   

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [REPORTER]: How seriously are you taking the impeachment talkings?

DONALD TRUMP: Not at all seriously.

(...)

7:05 AM ET

TONY DOKOUPIL: Several moderate House Democrats are joining the call to impeach President Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet with key committee chairs this afternoon before her entire Democratic caucus discusses the whistleblower complaint. Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill. Nancy, on impeachment, are we now at a turning point?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pressure to Impeach Builds; Growing Number of Dems Open to Proceedings if Call Claims True]

NANCY CORDES: It does seem like the dam is breaking on the Democratic side, Tony. Just last night, ten Democrats, most of them from swing districts, the kind of Democrats who have been most cautious about impeachment, all announced that if the new allegations are true, that they would then be open to impeachment proceedings.

Seven of those Democrats signed an op-ed saying that if the President “used taxpayer dollars as leverage” for his own gain, that would be “a threat to all we have sworn to protect.” The authors are all Democrats who flipped Republican-held seats last year and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it clear time and time again that she’s going to stick with them because they are key to keeping the House in 2020.

So if we see more of those frontline Democrats, as they’re known, join their ranks, then Pelosi is surely not going to be far behind. We know she’s already been burning up the phones to measure support, but she has also said repeatedly that Republican support would be key in an impeachment effort. And so far, Tony, most Republicans are either standing by the President or staying silent.

(...)

7:30 AM ET

MASON: President Trump defends talking with Ukraine’s president about Joe Biden as more Democrats call for impeachment.

(...)

8:00 AM ET

KING: Ahead, President Trump visits the U.N. while more Democrats say they are now open to impeachment.

(...)

8:02 AM ET

DOKOUPIL: President Trump will address global leaders this morning at the United Nations General Assembly, but he’s facing new trouble in Washington, where more House Democrats are calling for his impeachment.

(...)

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