Politico — Journalists Get Facts Wrong That Should Be Easiest To Get Right

A recent explainer in Politico on the matter of today's second impeachment of President Donald Trump opens with one dubious assertion married to a blatant falsehood:

Democrats are embarking on the fourth impeachment in American history, exactly half of them aimed at removing Donald Trump from office.

Here's a screen capture of the quote in case they decide to remove those embarrassing inaccuracies.

Politico wrongly asserts Democrats are embarking on the fourth American impeachment

So firstly, it's doubtful that the impeachment accusations leveled by the House in today's 232-197 vote are really aimed at removing Donald Trump from office.

It's a near certainty, by the Politico's reported timeline, that any Senate trial will not even begin until after Joe Biden has been sworn in as President. And such trials generally take several days, even if abbreviated. Thus the aim of this impeachment is to denounce the President's behavior as well as decide whether he should be prevented from holding federal office again.

But more importantly — and more obvious — this is not the fourth federal impeachment in American history. It is the twenty-first.

Since 1789 the the House of Representatives has impeached 15 federal judges, one U.S. Senator, one Cabinet secretary, and three Presidents (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and then Donald Trump twice.)

True, this is the fourth impeachment of a President. But that's not what Politico's Kyle Cheney wrote. Note the certitude of the phrase exactly half. While presenting false facts could be explained away as poor proofreading it's a mistake that, at best, smacks of sloppy haste.

I know. I am probably being too much of a stickler, tossing stones from my own glass cubbyhole.

It just seems like a publication claiming to cover U.S. and international politics to an audience of some 26 million Americans should have a relatively firm grasp on — well, American government and politics.

For anyone to be propagating a poor understanding of the workings of government in an era of intense, at times violent, division — with dissent and the free speech of the masses threatened at every turn — is disturbing.

For journalists busily installing themselves as the last permissible arbiters of truth it's downright incendiary.

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