The Democrats get to throw the first punch

Narratives are the lenses through which observers assess information.  In an honest trial, the prosecution and the defense outline their case, witnesses are questioned and cross-examined, the two sides sum up their version of the evidence, and a jury is left to make an assessment of the case and deliver a verdict.  In the current impeachment inquiry, it is the public that is the jury that will render its verdict through pressure on the members of Congress and ultimately in the 2020 elections.

The mainstream media are the main source of information about the case, and they play a dominant role in establishing the narrative.  This is a serious obstacle to a search for truth, as they are heavily stacked against the president.  They have allowed Schiff and the Democrats to establish several dubious benchmarks:

1. The whistleblower.  Nearly every article refers to the anonymous accuser as a whistleblower.  This label endows him with a certain gravitas.  In fact, we now pretty much know he is a CIA agent and Obama holdover who essentially spied on the Trump administration, colluded with Schiff's committee, and was directed to make his complaints to the I.G. for the Intelligence Community.  The whistleblower rules were rewritten so that his secondhand hearsay allowed him to claim whistleblower protection.  Of course, he needed no such protection, but the status was useful for the Democrats' narrative.  It enabled the Democrats to make unfounded accusations based on allegations by an anonymous individual whose motives and credibility could not be questioned by defenders of the president.  Furthermore, it enabled the allies in the press to portray the Republicans as guilty of wrongdoing for attempting to expose his story and his motives.  It is disgraceful behavior by the press and the Democrats but it has helped frame the narrative around the question of impeachment.

2. The quid pro quo.  The United States foreign policy is based on promoting its interests.  There is nothing wrong with that.  There are questions of what is truly in the national interest, and in a country as large and diverse as the U.S., there are conflicting interests.  The way the priorities are worked out is ultimately through the political process, and invariably, there will be some who are unhappy with the choices that are made.  That being said, the expression of American interests to foreign leaders will always be a reflection of a particular choice of priorities, and it is implicit if not explicit that the U.S. wants the foreign leader to accommodate them.  In that sense, all diplomacy is a series of quid pro quos.

3. Impropriety.  The Democrats and the media are claiming that it was improper for the president to ask the president of Ukraine to look into the origins of the Russia collusion investigation and to see if there was anything corrupt in Joe Biden's bullying the Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma.  The first request, to look into Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election, is not only proper, but an essential part of understanding what happened during the 2016 election and how we can avoid it in the future.  The second has to do with possible corruption by an important government official, and that is something Americans should want to know about it.

Process matters.  By holding hearings in secret and selectively leaking testimony, the Democrats and their allies in the press have created a narrative in which it is accepted knowledge that there was an improper demand made of the government of Ukraine.  Though the claims are dubious, if you don't watch Fox News in the evening, you would not know this.  Under the circumstances, it is not at all surprising that at this point, the polls reflect a one-sided presentation of the facts.  Remember: if a poll had been taken on support for Kavanaugh directly after Blasey Ford's testimony, the majority would have opposed the appointment.  Kavanaugh's vigorous defense changed public perception considerably.  Without it, his nomination probably would have had to be withdrawn.

In any fight, there is a big advantage in throwing the first punch.  And the Democrats have rigged the fight by making sure they are the only ones throwing the punches for the first few weeks in the process.  Eventually, the Republicans will be able to mount a defense, but as the court in this case is basically the American public and a complicit media is mostly on the side of the prosecution, the Democrats may succeed in damaging Trump to the point that the Democrats will win the White House and Senate in the 2020 election.  That is their purpose, and they might win.

The Democrats seem to be relying on the belief that "a lie has a chance to get around the world before the truth gets to put on its pants."

Narratives are the lenses through which observers assess information.  In an honest trial, the prosecution and the defense outline their case, witnesses are questioned and cross-examined, the two sides sum up their version of the evidence, and a jury is left to make an assessment of the case and deliver a verdict.  In the current impeachment inquiry, it is the public that is the jury that will render its verdict through pressure on the members of Congress and ultimately in the 2020 elections.

The mainstream media are the main source of information about the case, and they play a dominant role in establishing the narrative.  This is a serious obstacle to a search for truth, as they are heavily stacked against the president.  They have allowed Schiff and the Democrats to establish several dubious benchmarks:

1. The whistleblower.  Nearly every article refers to the anonymous accuser as a whistleblower.  This label endows him with a certain gravitas.  In fact, we now pretty much know he is a CIA agent and Obama holdover who essentially spied on the Trump administration, colluded with Schiff's committee, and was directed to make his complaints to the I.G. for the Intelligence Community.  The whistleblower rules were rewritten so that his secondhand hearsay allowed him to claim whistleblower protection.  Of course, he needed no such protection, but the status was useful for the Democrats' narrative.  It enabled the Democrats to make unfounded accusations based on allegations by an anonymous individual whose motives and credibility could not be questioned by defenders of the president.  Furthermore, it enabled the allies in the press to portray the Republicans as guilty of wrongdoing for attempting to expose his story and his motives.  It is disgraceful behavior by the press and the Democrats but it has helped frame the narrative around the question of impeachment.

2. The quid pro quo.  The United States foreign policy is based on promoting its interests.  There is nothing wrong with that.  There are questions of what is truly in the national interest, and in a country as large and diverse as the U.S., there are conflicting interests.  The way the priorities are worked out is ultimately through the political process, and invariably, there will be some who are unhappy with the choices that are made.  That being said, the expression of American interests to foreign leaders will always be a reflection of a particular choice of priorities, and it is implicit if not explicit that the U.S. wants the foreign leader to accommodate them.  In that sense, all diplomacy is a series of quid pro quos.

3. Impropriety.  The Democrats and the media are claiming that it was improper for the president to ask the president of Ukraine to look into the origins of the Russia collusion investigation and to see if there was anything corrupt in Joe Biden's bullying the Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma.  The first request, to look into Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election, is not only proper, but an essential part of understanding what happened during the 2016 election and how we can avoid it in the future.  The second has to do with possible corruption by an important government official, and that is something Americans should want to know about it.

Process matters.  By holding hearings in secret and selectively leaking testimony, the Democrats and their allies in the press have created a narrative in which it is accepted knowledge that there was an improper demand made of the government of Ukraine.  Though the claims are dubious, if you don't watch Fox News in the evening, you would not know this.  Under the circumstances, it is not at all surprising that at this point, the polls reflect a one-sided presentation of the facts.  Remember: if a poll had been taken on support for Kavanaugh directly after Blasey Ford's testimony, the majority would have opposed the appointment.  Kavanaugh's vigorous defense changed public perception considerably.  Without it, his nomination probably would have had to be withdrawn.

In any fight, there is a big advantage in throwing the first punch.  And the Democrats have rigged the fight by making sure they are the only ones throwing the punches for the first few weeks in the process.  Eventually, the Republicans will be able to mount a defense, but as the court in this case is basically the American public and a complicit media is mostly on the side of the prosecution, the Democrats may succeed in damaging Trump to the point that the Democrats will win the White House and Senate in the 2020 election.  That is their purpose, and they might win.

The Democrats seem to be relying on the belief that "a lie has a chance to get around the world before the truth gets to put on its pants."