The White House plans to send a letter to top US news executives on Wednesday, urging them to intensify their scrutiny of House Republicans after Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, despite having found no evidence of a crime.
“It’s time for the media to ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening an impeachment inquiry based on lies,” Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House Counsel’s Office, wrote in the letter, according to a draft copy obtained by CNN.
The letter, which said an impeachment inquiry with no supporting evidence should “set off alarm bells for news organizations,” will be sent to executives helming the nation’s largest news organizations, including CNN, The New York Times, Fox News, the Associated Press, CBS News, and others, a White House official familiar with the matter said.
The correspondence comes one day after McCarthy announced that he had directed three House committees to begin an impeachment inquiry into Biden. House Republicans, most of whom have denied that disgraced former President Donald Trump committed any wrongdoing, have long sought to baselessly portray Biden as a corrupt, crime-ridden politician engaged in sinister activities.
While news organizations have published innumerable fact checks on the matter, they have also often failed to robustly call out the mis- and disinformation peddled by Republicans in their coverage, frustrating officials in the Biden White House who believe that the news media should be doing more to dispel lies that saturate the public discourse.
In its letter Wednesday, the White House will ask news organizations to be more clear-eyed in their coverage of the impeachment inquiry, and not to fall prey to the traps of false equivalency in reporting.
“Covering impeachment as a process story – Republicans say X, but the White House says Y – is a disservice to the American public who relies on the independent press to hold those in power accountable,” Sams wrote.
“And in the modern media environment, where every day liars and hucksters peddle disinformation and lies everywhere from Facebook to Fox, process stories that fail to unpack the illegitimacy of the claims on which House Republicans are basing all their actions only serve to generate confusion, put false premises in people’s feeds, and obscure the truth,” Sams added.
McCarthy launched the impeachment inquiry Tuesday without a formal House vote in a bid to appease Republicans on his far-right, including those who have threatened to oust the California Republican from his speakership if he does not move swiftly enough on such an investigation.
The Republican House-led investigations into Biden have yet to provide any direct evidence that the president financially benefited from Hunter Biden’s career overseas.