NPR stands by its decision to characterize the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump as the “Democratic impeachment inquiry,” public editor Elizabeth Jensen reported.
Listeners and readers questioned the description of the inquiry as Democratic, Jensen said in an Oct. 30 blogpost.
But, NPR chief Washington editor Shirley Henry defended the characteriation because the inquiry isn’t bipartisan, telling Jensen: “It would be inaccurate to say that the House impeachment inquiry is a bipartisan effort. It is not. As far as we know, there are no House Republicans on record as supporting the impeachment inquiry. Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan was the one exception, but he has since left the Republican Party to become an independent.”
Jensen wrote that she agrees with the description and arguments but noted that if things change and the inquiry becomes bipartisan, then NPR should change its wording moving forward.
For context, Jensen pointed to NPR’s 1998 coverage of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, which identified actions both as by an institution like the House Judiciary Committee or people like the Republican investigator.
“It’s subtle, but to my ear there’s a difference in how the partisan nature of those proceedings was characterized in these reports,” Jensen wrote. “The references were to actions by an institution — the House Judiciary Committee — not just to the partisan leaders.”