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The New York Times and The National Review: Clinton Impeachment, 1998-99 (Essay Sample)


The paper required one to critically review to newspaper articles on how they reported the Clinton impeachment 1998-99.

Name: Professor: Course: Date: The New York Times and The National Review: Clinton Impeachment, 1998-99 On 19th December, the United States President, Bill Clinton, faced a major challenge of his ruling as he faced an impeachment threat. As the 42nd President of America, Clinton was alleged to have committed two crimes, which were related to justice obstruction and perjury. As a result, the House of Representative initiated a trial that was conducted in the United States Senate. Notably, the charges emanated from the claims of sexual harassment where the President was facing a major legal battle from his former secretary even though he was acquitted of the charges earlier the following year. Later, the President faced allegations about the abuse of power as he was perceived to be using his mandated authority in the wrong manner. As the case entered the judicial process, the committee led by David Schippers and Ken Starr had determined beyond reasonable doubt that the President was guilty and this impeachment could proceed. The affirmation saw Clinton’s trial commence immediately after the 106th Congress seating where the Republican had the majority senate seats at 55. However, his impeachment could have become a reality only if 67 or two-third of the senators voted in favour of the impeachment. Only 50 of them were in favour of the motion, thus, enabling the President to escape narrowly from being acquitted of his official duties. Expectedly, the events following Clinton’s impeachment were covered by many national and international newspapers as well as journals. Nonetheless, each held a different point of view regarding the course of action as it was the case with the New York Times and The National Review. While the former was in favour of Clinton and sympathized with him against his obstructers, the latter had a completely different tone on the impeachment. The group portrayed the president as a ‘fake saint’ who was out to take advantage of his victim by simply enjoying the immunity of power. The position held by different newspapers concerning Clinton’s impeachment and how the unfolding of events took place depended on whether the newspaper subscribed on conservative or liberal ideology. Surprisingly, The New York Times had written an article even before the actual impeachment, on September 20th 1998, which held a biased opinion about the pro-conservative on the Clinton’s impeachment. “Anger” was the most suitable word that effectively explained how the liberal newspaper understood the conservatives’ fake news on the “indecent and disrespectful Clinton” as they used to judge him. The newspaper article even began by highlighting a mockery statement that “this should be a time of triumph for the conservative, overwhelming pro-Republican members of the Christian Coalition” (Goodstein 1). The statement was a clear indication that The New York Times believed that the accusations leveled against the United States President were being exaggerated and brought forward by the conservatives and the Congressional Republicans. As crisis unfolded, The New York Times’ correspondents felt that the GOP (Grand Old Party) was out to smear the legacy of Bill Clinton and make America ungovernable by coming up with false accusations. Such viewpoints can be authenticated by one of the author’s open disagreements with another conservative, James Davidson (Goodstein 1). For instance, the author underscored his shock with the willingness of the majority of the citizens to be rationalized and make judgments on the President’s behaviour before it is even proved he was guilty (Goodstein 2). According to the newspaper column, the lie could have been founded among the people and not the oval office (Goodstein 2). Hence, it was apparent the newspaper article sympathized with the 42nd president’s predicaments and shifted the blame on the conservatives, the GOP, and the citizens who trusted “the fake news.” Similarly, the same article seems to resonate well with an article written by the same newspaper on 20th December, 1998 whose content symphonized with the President by highlighting most of phrases of the speech he made soon after the impeachment motion. The New York Times began by pointing out that the President still held a noble idea of serving the people “until the last hour of the last day of my term” (Bennet 1). Besides, the article also highlighted that the president intended to remain dumb to all “destructions” that came along his way (Bennet 1). As a result, the liberal newspaper seemed to defend the Head of State by painting out an innocent and a positive picture of Bill Clinton as the victim of the fake news. It never seemed, at any given point, convinced that the Commander In Chief was liable to being found guilty of the two charges. Contrarily, The National Review wrote an article after the impeachment motion that tended to portray Clinton as guilty. Notably, the newspaper portrayed the whole incident as one that was disgusting in addition to being a real threat on the American democracy. In its article written on 21st December 1998, the conservative newspaper lamented of the widespread arrogance of the Democrats especially they defended their leader (Goldberg 1). The National Review perceived their actions as ones that were ill-informed as they acted out of convenience by politicizing the matter. Besides, the conservative paper questioned about the President Clinton’s suitability in being in the Oval Office after it was clear he did not honor people, portrayed self-restraint, or embrace the intellectual humility (Goldberg 2). As a result, the advocators of this newspaper painted a bad picture of Mr. President by portraying him as a leader who lacked respect for others, as well as not being spiritually and morally upright (Goldberg 2). Additionally, he did not honour the duties prescribed to him as he was not also very observant to the constitution (Goldberg 1). It is beyond reasonable doubt the newspaper article was hell-bent to portray Bill Clinton and his Democratic sympathisers as cannibals who were real threat to the American civilization. According to the National Review, leaders such as Bill Clinton had no place in the modern society and were not fit to hold any public office. With such hard perceptions, its columnists failed to understand why the Democrats showed their solidarity to the President yet it was clear he was on the wrong. As a result, they perceived them as spoilers and delayers of the American destiny, something that other citizens of goodwill could not allow. However, the decisive voice aired by The National Review was later neutralized by another newspaper article done by The New York Times on 13th February, 1999. In the article, the Congress Republicans were painted negatively by portrayed a more skewed judgement delivered by them. For instance, Senator Bennett referred to President Clinton as a leader who could not be trusted as “he had a capacity to lie about anything” (Mitchell 2). However, the liberal newspaper painted the Democrats as the real champion of justice as they gave their judgment based on profound observations and not on mere political basis. Senator John Kerry was quoted saying that “he was deeply disturbed by an independent counsel grilling a sitting President of the United States about his personal sex life especially based on information from illegal phone recordings” (Mitchell 2). Therefore, this underscored on the initial stand of The New York Times the whole process of impeaching the president was ill-founded and illegal altogether. By doing so, the whole article portrayed Bill Clinton as an innocent person who was being victimized by his political detractors. To demonstrate this, they highlighted how ten Republican senators opposed the impeachment motions and were in favour of the United States’ head of state despite him being a Democrat (Bennet 2). Hence, The New York Times proved beyond reasonable doubt that it was out to defend the president and his legacy. As days went on, the thoughts of the President of being acquitted of both charges did not augur well with The National Review as it wrote another article that highlighted various deleterious factors concerning the impeachment. Ideally, the author began by highlighting that the whole process and impeachment episode was a serious threat to the American democracy (Goldberg 1). To demonstrate the level of disgust with the whole episode, the newspaper article used harsh words such as “perjury”, “distortion”, and “abuse” among others to describe the scenario (Goldberg 1). Furthermore, the paper continued to justify its view by indicating that the whole case was fabricated as the head of state ducked, weaved, smeared, slicked, bobbed, and jived the whole story to his favour (Goldberg 2). However, the biasness of The National Review newspaper was reviewed by the author’s saying that Bill Clinton could have become a “martyr” rather than being left to serve the people for the remaining period due to the impracticability of impeaching him (Goldberg 2). In this regard, such assertions clearly indicated The National Review and other like-minded conservatives could have magnified the whole scenario to their advantage, something that did not materialize. Their strong advocacy of the “justice” prevalence could not be trusted as t...
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