Stelter: Trump Is Winning War Messaging War On Impeachment


CNN host Brian Stelter discusses how the media surrounding President Trump and the push for impeachment proceedings focuses on the process, not the impeachable conduct itself.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: But, first, the "I" word. President Trump is winning the messaging war about impeachment. Democrats are losing. And I'm noticing that the Dems are under increasing pressure, including from members of the media to explain their mixed messaging and their failure to communicate.

You know, whenever impeachment is in the air, there are stories about the process, stories about the substance -- process on one hand, substance on the other. This is actually true in all sorts of political coverage.

With Nixon, the substance was about crimes and cover-ups. With Clinton, it was about lying under oath and obstructing justice.

With Trump, journalists keep uncovering allegations of corruption and obstruction. The list of potentially impeachable conduct grows longer every week, but the political coverage is usually about the process, not the substance, the process.

Which Democrats support an impeachment inquiry? Which don't? Will they impeach? Won't they? And now, to be fair to the reporters who are chasing the story every

day, they are covering the story, because the process is a mess. The mixed messages have become the story instead of the substance.

Now, the Justice Department is even using the Dem's mixed messages to dismiss -- to undercut the attempt at a House probe. Meanwhile, headlines keep popping up about more and more potential scandals. Again, the substance is being covered by the press.

Here's "Politico's" scoop about the Air Force, about the Pentagon spending money at Trump's resorts. And, of course, this issue about spending money at Trump properties has been all over the news. "The Washington Post" covering this, "The New York Times" covering this. They keep breaking news about this topic. What the head of the ethics group Public Citizen recently called, the normalization of corruption.

Now, this week, a federal appeals court revived a lawsuit saying that Trump is violating the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments. The stories keep coming and coming about profiting from the presidency, abusing executive power to punish enemies and allegedly obstructing the investigations.

So, all of this is going on, and on television, you see Fox warning about the impeachment, but the Democrats, the divisions within the Democratic Party are the big story.

Meanwhile, the president is winning the messaging war. On Friday morning, he went on a tweet storm. CNN's Daniel Dale found in three tweets, the president made three false claims while arguing that he shouldn't be impeached.

So, he's making up all of this stuff, he's lying constantly, yet he's winning the messaging war. It's a remarkable situation to see that in September of 2019, that this is the conversation about what the Democrats may or may not do as they inch their way toward impeachment.

So, let's talk more about this with our panel that's with me here in New York today.

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