This editorial was updated Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, at 7:25 p.m. to reflect that the new article of impeachment against Donald Trump has been introduced in the House, but not yet passed.
House Democrats have for the second time formally introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" for his role in the takeover of the U.S. Capitol last week by a violent pro-Trump mob. The measure has enough supporters to guarantee passage, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will make that vote this week if Vice President Pence does not seek to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment by Wednesday.
It's taken the horrible and deadly scenes of last Wednesday to bring America to where we are today: No, the election was not rigged. Trump did not win; Joe Biden did. No, those rioters were not patriots, as Trump sought to label them. Among all registered voters, 80% of respondents to a new Quinnipiac University poll said the rioters were undermining democracy, not protecting it. Only 10% said they were protecting it, and another 10% had no opinion.
Even among respondents who voted for Trump, 62% said the mob was undermining democracy; 19% said it was protecting it and another 19% had no opinion.
For all the conservative whining about how the "liberal" mainstream media supposedly has been mean to Donald Trump for four years, just look at conservative media today in the aftermath of that deadly mob siege that overwhelmed police, terrorized lawmakers and led to the deaths of five people.
"We need to help induce national calm NOW," Brian Philips, executive vice president of content for Cumulus Media, wrote in an internal memo later obtained by Inside Music Media. Cumulus "will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable 'paths.' If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately."
In short, Cumulus, which owns more than 400 radio stations (including WGOW Talk Radio 102.3) and employs some of the most popular right-leaning talk-radio hosts in the United States, told its on-air personalities to stop suggesting that the election was stolen — or face termination.
There's more. In the last few months of 2020 viewers in the coveted 25-54-year-old demographic migrated to CNN, especially between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Even during prime time, Fox News edged CNN only by a mere 15,000 viewers in that key demographic. And that was before the Capitol was stormed by people egged on by Trump's falsehoods.
Now, too, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are seeing the light. They've suspended — Twitter says permanently — Trump's accounts to guard against more incendiary conversation.
Additionally, Apple, Google and Amazon have cut off essential business services to Parler, the pro-Trump social media network where users have promoted falsehoods about election fraud and praised the mob that assaulted the Capitol. Apple and Google went so far as to remove the Parler app from the offerings for its smartphones, and Amazon suspended the platform from its Web-hosting services. YouTube blocked Steve Bannon's podcast channel.
But it's not just right-wing media that now feels the heat as the full reality of the Trump-stoked insurrection takes hold.
Money walks, and a number of right-wing politicians are being threatened with campaign finance repercussions for their promotion of Trump's irresponsible and malevolent falsehoods. A number of America's corporate giants are saying they will pause, freeze or halt political donations to members of Congress and the Senate who do not respect the rule of law.
We're talking banks and firms like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Commerce Bancshares, American Express, Boston Scientific, Marriott and BlueCross BlueShield.
Specifically, Marriott, BlueCross and others say they are pulling support from lawmakers who challenged or voted against the election result. Sorry, Ted Cruz. Sorry, Josh Hawley. Sorry, Chuck Fleischmann.
Trump is being frozen out, too — regardless of whether the article of impeachment introduced against him by the House on Monday gains further traction.
The PGA announced it would not hold its championship at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the payment processor Stripe banned the Trump campaign from using its services.
It may be fair to say that no talk show host or conservative media writer or even a bedazzled political climber ever expected their critiques of the election, their criticisms of Democrats or their worshipful fealty to Trump to get so out of hand as it did Wednesday.
But there can be no doubt that we've all known we cannot trust Donald Trump to do the right thing for more than an occasional, cornered moment.
We all watched his lips move late Thursday as he condemned the "heinous attack" on the Capitol. We heard him say, "To those who broke the law, you will pay."
But as soon as his Twitter account was reinstated after a 12-hour slap, he was tweeting aggression again, demanding that his supporters must not be "disrespected." (Later, Twitter permanently suspended him, citing "risk of further incitement of violence.")
Did only the "liberal" mainstream media see this coming? See Trump as a problem all along?
It's doubtful. Regardless, we all know better now. Don't we?