Impeachment drama reveals erosion of value in fact

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Updated 10:34 AM ET, Tue December 24, 2019

(CNN)The impeachment drama closing out 2019 and ringing in 2020 is emblematic of a year and political era where the value of truth and fact is being eroded.

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have profited by feeding misinformation to an eager, partisan audience through a conservative media filter to discredit the charges against him. Democrats have tried to counter his spoiler tactics by amassing an detailed case against the President over his pressure on Ukraine for political favors.

The strategy has precluded a debate between the two parties over whether Trump’s behavior infringes the values and conduct long expected of Presidents — since Democrats are working from facts and Republicans frequently simply refuse to recognize incriminating evidence. The President’s insistence that his behavior is “perfect” and his tight hold on conservative voters has even deprived GOP lawmakers of a face-saving defense that was once used by Bill Clinton’s partisans — that what he did was unacceptable but not impeachable.

The contest between facts and details and the President’s alternative narratives might also offer a 2020 election preview, when Trump is likely to offer an expansive view of a historically successful presidency that might not bear much relation to reality on many points but could prove deeply attractive to voters — especially thanks to the apparent ongoing strength of the US economy on Trump’s watch.

In an age when partisans can find news coverage to suit their facts, it’s no surprise that GOP senators have neither the interest nor political space to criticize the President, let alone censure him or kick him out of office.


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