David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a one-time insider in the conservative movement, explains in his latest column for The Atlantic how President Donald Trump is being saved from impeachment by a right-wing media ecosystem that doesn't allow its viewers to hear any contradictory facts.
In particular, Frum points to Rep. Devin Nunes's (R-CA) bizarre, conspiratorial rants during the impeachment inquiry to demonstrate the astonishing power that right-wing misinformation has on American political discourse.
"Nunes is not interested in talking with anyone who is interested in checking claims, or verifying statements," he writes. "He is talking only with people locked into a closed and sealed knowledge system. This closed knowledge system entraps millions of Americans in a universe of untruth, in which Trump is a victim and the allegations against him are 'fake news.' The prisoners and victims of this system live in a dreamworld of lies."
Frum argues that there are limits to this approach, however -- while it may protect Trump from being impeached, it utterly fails to convince people who aren't already indoctrinated into conservative media.
"The House Republicans’ underlying argument is too jumbled and confusing even to be agreed with," he writes. "It can only be absorbed. It is to be repeated, not to be analyzed. It is not even really an argument at all. It is a hypnotic litany, a creed of faith—a faith all the more compelling for defying sense and experience."