The primetime public hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has the feel of a slick TV attack ad co-produced by Democrats and the networks but it’s far from clear whether it will have the desired impact.
Like many negative ads, this one is one-sided and has a clear target — Republicans and former President Donald Trump.
The goal is to show enough new evidence to alter the midterm elections and stop Trump from gaining any traction in the 2024 race — a high bar for Democrats.
Many Americans — especially Republicans — are bound to view the hearing on Thursday night as blatantly political and cause them to binge watch Netflix instead.
The stakes for this production are high, because Democrats will only get one shot at it. Forget about daytime hearings — no one pays any attention to those.
But force-feeding the primetime hearing on all the major networks except Fox News will at least guarantee some kind of audience, even if it is mostly Democrats who have already made up their minds about Trump.
If there was any doubt that the networks are cooperating with Democrats to jack up the ratings, just look at who is producing the hearing — former ABC News president James Goldston.
Cable networks like CNN and MSNBC are heavily promoting their coverage like it’s the Watergate hearings.
But unlike the Watergate scandal, what happened on Jan. 6 is already cemented in people’s minds. Democratic lawmakers — who have no power to prosecute — need to produce damning new evidence of Trump’s involvement in the rioting or it will be a waste of time.
One Democratic lawmaker is promising there will be revelations that will “blow the roof off the House.”
But if ratings for the hearings fall below Trump’s impeachment hearings then it will be a disappointment for Democrats.
The prime-time hearing Thursday night could also backfire if it solidifies the feeling that Democrats are just gunning to take down Trump and not interested in the truth.
And while it’s likely the hearings will damage Trump, it’s questionable whether they will do anything to boost President Biden and his slumping approval ratings.
Democrats can’t really counter with any positives, because there are no positives with inflation, soaring gas prices, and rampant crime more on the minds of most Americans.
Fox is choosing to air Tucker Carlson’s regular show instead, a move that should make its viewers happy. Fox is relegating its coverage to Fox Business Network.
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