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You Can Blame Right-Wing Media For the Biden Impeachment Hearing

The Biden Impeachment Hearing Is Nothing More Than an Orchestrated Political Stunt
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While conservative media worked overtime throughout 2023 to defend Donald Trump, they have also worked to twist the image of President Joe Biden. And it just might be working.

Editor's note: A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here.

New York (CNN) — Fox News viewers have received an early Christmas gift — an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Republicans, under considerable pressure from —and encouraged by — the right-wing channel and larger hyper-partisan universe in which their constituents reside, unanimously moved this week to open a formal impeachment inquiry into the president, despite no credible evidence that he has committed any criminal wrongdoing.

The decision to approve the impeachment inquiry should come as little-to-no surprise to observers of the polluted media landscape in which Republicans get their news. An impeachment of Biden has been a right-wing media fever dream for years, with calls to bring an inquiry against him dating back to even before Biden was inaugurated into the White House.

While Fox News and the other organs in the MAGA Media space have worked overtime throughout 2023 to defend Donald Trump and absolve him of any wrongdoing, they have also simultaneously worked to portray Biden as a key player in what they characterize as a sprawling criminal enterprise headed by him and his son, Hunter.

“The right-wing media system is voracious, and they have been extremely hungry for this kind of outrage fuel,” Charlie Sykes, editor of the conservative anti-Trump publication The Bulwark, told me. “Plus, it gives them the counter programming to Trump trials that they desperately want.”

While more credible news outlets have devoted extensive time to covering the high-stakes criminal trials facing the former president and his allies’ attempts to undermine democracy, viewers of right-wing media have been treated to an entirely different storyline, with purported “bombshell” developments on a near daily basis.

In The Upside Down, Biden has been portrayed as an outright criminal who engaged in illicit foreign dealing that could pose a national security threat to the country he leads. The dark and sinister rhetoric has saturated programming and mainstreamed the notion that the president is a criminal evading justice. “The Bidens are like ‘The Sopranos’ without any humor,” Laura Ingraham proclaimed to her audience Thursday night. Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has for months argued they “reek of corruption.”

While rarely covered by mainstream news organizations (you’re not going to see a segment on this during the evening news), the endless talk radio monologues and television segments attacking Biden carries with it actual consequences in society and government.

The charged rhetoric — despite being void of actual evidence of wrongdoing — has incited the GOP base. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released this week showed an astonishing 78 percent of Republicans said they approved of the impeachment hearings against Biden. Just 24 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents agreed with the impeachment process.

As a result of the relentless impeachment boosting, constituents have demanded their representatives take action. And the lawmakers who have leaned into the Biden impeachment efforts have been handsomely rewarded on Fox News and elsewhere as heroic leaders fighting dark forces of corruption.

The demands are also growing more pronounced. Now that the impeachment inquiry has been given the green light, the right-wing media will pivot to applying considerable pressure to outright impeach the president. Trump has promised to go on a revenge tour — and his propaganda machine is already gearing up to help him.

“The lack of hard evidence is beside the point. The pressure was going to be intense and relentless from the GOP’s entertainment wing,” Sykes told me. “Literally, no way this happens without Trump’s demand and the amplification by his right-wing megaphones in the media.”

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Biden Impeachment Inquiry

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Oliver Darcy