In an unprecedented move, the Biden administration is asking media outlets to scrutinize the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden more closely — at least from their perspective. Ian Sams, the White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, sent an email to major news organizations, including Fox News, CNN, and The New York Times. The memo read, “It’s Time For The Media To Do More To Scrutinize House Republicans’ Demonstrably False Claims That They’re Basing Impeachment Stunt On.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently ordered an impeachment inquiry into Biden’s alleged involvement with his son Hunter’s business dealings, particularly with Ukraine and China. McCarthy says investigations show that Biden “did lie to the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings,” describing the situation as a “culture of corruption.”
Never trust MSM…
— RC W – American – Magadonian (@rcwendh) September 14, 2023
In a democracy that values a free press, it’s troubling to see the government try to guide journalistic scrutiny. Journalist Matthew Keys tweeted, “This is not OK, the White House should not be encouraging, influencing or interfering in the editorial strategies of America’s newsrooms.” The sentiment was echoed by an anonymous White House reporter who told The New York Post, “I don’t think the media likes being told what to do. I think it’s going to backfire.”
Some skepticism also comes from a belief that if the Biden administration were entirely confident in their position, they would face the inquiry head-on, relying on facts and evidence to vindicate them. The reporter suggested, “If you want to play hardball, trot out Hunter to say what he did or didn’t do, explain why the payments are a nothingburger.”
The White House’s memo undermines the media’s credibility. It allows House Republicans to question whether the Biden administration’s appeal influences future reporting. As Keys noted, “Now, any time the media DOES try to hold Republican lawmakers to account, those lawmakers can simply counter by questioning whether it’s actual journalism or something encouraged by the Biden administration.”
While impeachment inquiries should be subject to rigorous scrutiny and questioning from all sides, this recent maneuver raises questions about whether the White House is attempting to undermine the fundamental principle of an impartial press.
In what could be a vital impeachment inquiry, based on McCarthy’s findings, which allege that more than $20 million flowed from countries like China, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine to the Biden family, the public deserves clear, unfiltered information. The last thing we need is for the media to dance to tunes played by the administration they are meant to hold accountable.
Ian Sams posted the memo on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, first to select outlets and then to a White House press list, insisting that Republicans have provided “no evidence that the president has committed a crime.” But isn’t that what the inquiry aims to establish or disprove?
In a society that cherishes its freedoms, particularly that of the press, this latest move by the Biden administration seems like a strategic misstep, undermining its credibility and eroding trust.