Japan Institute for National Fundamentals
http://jinf.jp/

Speaking out

Yoichi Shimada

【#441】Media Reports Biased toward Trump Impeachment

Yoichi Shimada / 2017.05.24 (Wed)


May 22, 2017

     Major Japanese media including the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and Japan Broadcasting Corp. known as NHK have been spinning a story that U.S. President Donald Trump is losing voters’ confidence and set to be impeached over Russia’s suspected intervention in last year’s U.S. presidential election and the president’s interference in investigations into the suspicion. Instead of being based on their own information gathering efforts, they have mostly accepted and simplified reports by mainstream U.S. media including the three major television networks, CNN and The New York Times, which mostly support the Democratic Party rather than Trump’s Republican Party.
     Given that mainstream U.S. media took an anti-Trump stance and failed to defeat Trump in the presidential election, we should be more cautious of viewing their opinions as representing voters’ views.
     In fact, The Wall Street Journal, close to the Republican mainstream, and radio talk shows representing grass roots conservatives provide a different picture. To rightly understand U.S. politics, we should gather information on our own without being biased toward anything.

Difference with Watergate scandal
     Recent press comments remarkably liken President Trump’s firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to then President Richard Nixon’s dismissal of Archibald Cox as special prosecutor in 1973, implicating the resurgence of the Watergate scandal. However, there is a great difference between the two dismissals.
     Nixon instructed his attorney general to fire Cox who was asking the White House to submit secret recording tapes. However, the attorney general refused to accept the instruction and resigned. The then deputy attorney general also refused to fire Cox and was dismissed by Nixon. Eventually, the acting attorney general took procedures to fire Cox. Nixon thus fired Cox even in the face of opposition from his political appointees.
     In contrast, President Trump received recommendation from Justice Department leadership to fire FBI Director Comey. Last July, Comey told a press conference that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should not be charged with her use of private e-mail server for public purposes as the violation was grave but not intentional. However, the remark indicated that he exceeded his authority since any decision on whether to prosecute anyone was up to the attorney general. Comey was then criticized for being in favor of the Democratic Party.
     At the same time, however, Comey cited specific violations by Clinton while concluding that she should not be prosecuted. This amounted to an inappropriate action to tell jurors of the prosecution’s conclusion alone without rebuttal from defense lawyers and was criticized as favoring the Republican Party.

No impeachment in sight
     The timing of Comey’s firing and President Trump’s crude remarks have been partly responsible for triggering criticisms. However, members of the press should acknowledge the above-mentioned basic points for a law-governed country before reporting criticisms against Trump almost every day.
     Any presidential impeachment requiring a two-thirds majority in the Senate is not in sight. I hope that Japanese media would use their precious reporting space for the United States to cover other important topics that are abundant.

Yoichi Shimada is Planning Committee Member, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and Professor at Fukui Prefectural University.