Judging from reports carried by the three mainstream networks' news programs and most of the low-rated cable news channels, it seems that the Fox News Channel and conservative Republicans are totally consumed by the concept of impeaching Democratic President Barack Obama.
However, a Lexis-Nexis search of transcripts from the July programs on FNC and MSNBC indicated that for every mention of the words “impeachment” or “impeach” on the “Fair and Balanced” channel, the “Lean Forward” network used those words five times.
According to an article written by Nate Silver, founder and editor in chief of the FiveThirtyEight website, those terms were used an amazing 32 times during Monday's episode of MSNBC’s The Ed Show, giving the fourth-place news network a total of 448 mentions so far this month, while Fox News referred to “impeachment” 95 times.
Silver continued: “That works out to about 2.7 mentions per hour of original programming on MSNBC, or once every 22 minutes.”
“Ordinarily, I’d adjust for the overall volume of words spoken on each network,” Silver stated, “but I know from my previous research that MSNBC and Fox News have about the same number of words recorded in Lexis-Nexis.”
The liberal network “hasn’t become quite as obsessed with impeachment as CNN was with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but it may be getting there,” he noted. “Impeachment mentions on MSNBC increased sixfold from May to July. Overall, since Jan. 1, MSNBC has mentioned impeachment 905 times to Fox News’s 213.”
However, some of the impeachment discussion from Democratic politicians and liberal commentators asks the GOP not to impeach the current occupant of the White House.
That tactic is apparently being used to keep the notion of Obama being impeached in front of the public, which views such a move as “an unpopular strategy” that might revive the Democrats' “long-shot chances of recapturing the House of Representatives in November.”
Silver then referred to the Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words database, which tracks terms spoken in the House and Senate. So far in July, he stated, the word “impeachment” was mentioned 10 times in Congress, with four other uses of the term “impeach.” However, “11 of the 14 mentions have been made by Democratic rather than Republican members of Congress.”
“Impeachment chatter has also become common on cable news,” he continued. “On Fox News this month, Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, called for Obama's impeachment.”
A few days later, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer responded: "Impeachment is a very serious thing that has been bandied about by the recent Republican vice presidential nominee and others in a very un-serious way. We take it very seriously, and I don't think it would be a good thing.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner has proclaimed that he and his fellow members of the Republican establishment have no plans to take such an action, and the Ohio congressman has referred to “all the impeachment talk” as being “driven by Democrats hoping to stir up their base.”
According to Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, that's exactly what the Democrats are up to, and with considerable success:
The Democrats' congressional campaign arm pulled in $2.1 million in online donations over the weekend -- the best four-day haul of the current election cycle -- largely propelled by fund-raising pitches tied to speculation that House Republicans could pursue the impeachment of President Obama.
Fear of an impeachment attempt, as well as the House GOP's current attempts to sue President Obama, have the potential to drive midterm turnout on the left.
During those four days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee brought in more than 114,000 donations while the House Rules committee voted to press forward with a lawsuit contesting Obama's use of executive action.
"Grassroots Democrats across the country see Republican leaders in the House refusing to rule out impeaching the president even as they vote to use taxpayer funds to sue him," said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel in a statement on Monday. "It's no surprise that there's outrage at this dramatic partisan overreach by an historically unpopular Republican Congress."
Across the political aisle, Michael Steel -- a spokesman for Speaker Boehner -- declared: “Our country faces real issues, including a sluggish economy, a humanitarian crisis at the border and the unraveling of president Obama’s foreign policy around the world.”
“But it seems Washington Democrats would rather focus on phony issues and political games,” Steel added.
Once again, the Fox News Channel has proven to be truly “fair and balanced,” while MSNBC is “leaning forward” so far that it brandishes the words “impeach” and “impeachment” in the hope of scaring its small audience of liberal Democrats into taking part in November's mid-term election.
We won't have to wait long to see if that tactic succeeds.