The editorial boards at two of America’s top newspapers have called for President Trump’s impeachment in recent days.
“Impeach the president,” read the editorial in Friday’s edition of The Boston Globe.
And the Los Angeles Times published its editorial board’s conclusion on Saturday: “We’ve seen enough. Trump should be impeached.”
Editorial boards – groups of opinion writers – typically operate separately from the newsroom and often reflect the views of the newspaper’s ownership.
Numerous papers have backed the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and a couple, like the Connecticut Post, have even called for Trump to step down.
But it is a relatively new development to see papers calling for the House to vote for impeachment.
The Chicago Sun-Times did so last week, partly to rebuke its cross-town rival, the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune’s editorial board said Trump should be censured, but not impeached.
But a mere censure “would be another gift,” an editorial in the Sun-Times argued. “The president compromised our nation’s best interests for pure political self-profit, as baldly as a Chicago alderman holding up a zoning change for a bribe. Trump has brought impeachment upon himself.”
In Boston, the Globe’s editorial focused on the findings of the House Intelligence Committee inquiry, stating that Trump’s “misconduct is severe enough” that Congress should exercise its impeachment power now, even with the 2020 election looming.
“Not only has the president abused his power by trying to extort a foreign country to meddle in US politics, but he also has endangered the integrity of the election itself. He has also obstructed the congressional investigation into his conduct, a precedent that will lead to a permanent diminution of congressional power if allowed to stand,” the Globe’s editorial argued.
The journalism world is full of skeptics about the real significance of newspaper editorials, especially in an increasingly digital age. But papers continue to devote ample time and space to the presentation of well-thought-out arguments.
Tabloids sometimes run editorials on the front page – as the New York Daily News did last week week in another call for Trump’s impeachment.
The Daily News has been campaigning against Trump for years.
The Los Angeles Times, on the other hand, said its editorial board “was a reluctant convert to the impeachment cause.”
“We worried that impeaching Trump on essentially a party-line vote would be divisive,” the paper’s editorial stated. “It is also highly likely that Trump would be — will be — acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, and that, rightly or wrongly, he would point to that in his reelection campaign as exoneration. But those concerns must yield to the overwhelming evidence that Trump perverted U.S. foreign policy for his own political gain. That sort of misconduct is outrageous and corrosive of democracy. It can’t be ignored by the House, and it merits a full trial by the Senate on whether to remove him from office.”
Some of the president’s allies pointed to the recent editorials as yet more evidence of media bias. The Sunday edition of “Fox & Friends” on Fox News cited the Times and Globe pieces and said, in an on-screen banner, “MEDIA DECLARES TRUMP SHOULD BE IMPEACHED.”