Opening day of the impeachment hearings might as well be a Hollywood premiere, compete with red carpet, questionable fashions and non-stop hysterical commentary. Buckle up. The long-awaited public probe begins Wednesday on Capitol Hill under gavel-to-gavel scrutiny by every imaginable news organization in the broadcast, print or digital realm. Their appetites appear whetted for some climatic moment which will damn the Trump administration once and for all.
Yes, well. Not quite yet, perhaps.
When William Taylor, senior U.S. envoy to Ukraine, steps forward as the first witness to testify about possible “collusion” between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, he will be greeted by Fox News, CNN and MSNBC of course, But the big three networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — have also opted to preempt their normal daytime coverage — a potentially worrisome concern for the networks, which will likely lose ad revenue in the process.
Then again, they might pick up extra viewership judging from similar televised events in the past. Consider that 19 million viewers tuned in to see former FBI Director James B. Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee two years ago. The foreign press — including BBC and Al Jazeera — is also poised to provide programming,
There have been plenty of dress rehearsals for this major media moment. Since late September, closed door hearings in the Capitol basement drew 15 witnesses, Now the doors are open, along with journalistic floodgates. Prepare for shrill commentary and premature judgment calls, plus plenty of speculation and editorials disguised as news stories.
Ah, but wait. One network in particular sets a tidy example on how to do things right.
“C-SPAN Networks will have full, uninterrupted, and unfiltered coverage of the hearing,” the public affairs news network says.
Think of it: The hearings airing uninterrupted and unfiltered. Incredible.
C-SPAN plans to offer wall-to-wall coverage minus the frills and potential bias, televising and streaming every Congress session, all fully available as video-on-demand from C-SPAN.org. Pertinent video clips will also be showcased from “particularly newsworthy days,” the network says, as is a daily, program guide and a special web resource found at C-span.org/impeachment.
For those who want the straight story without whirling graphics and melodramatic asides, C-SPAN is setting the pace.
Whistleblower started Trump-Ukraine matter, framed issue in way House Dems have adopted for impeachment. Now Chairman Schiff orders GOP: Do not talk about whistleblower in impeachment hearings. If you do, you'll hear from Ethics Committee. https://t.co/SPVajnNhlp pic.twitter.com/ZKcITQDjIb
— Byron York (@ByronYork) November 12, 2019
ON A BIASED NOTE
Same old, same old? The media is only to happy to continue biased coverage of President Trump as the impeachment hearings fire up and lumber forward. The Media Research Center has some numbers.
“Our analysts have reviewed all coverage of President Trump and his administration on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts since 2017. Following the beginning of the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24, this coverage has been even more hostile than normal: Out of 684 evaluative comments included in these broadcasts, a whopping 96% have been negative, vs. a meager 4% that have been positive,” reports Rich Noyes, research director for the conservative press watchdog.
Expect more of same.
AND ON A HAPPY NOTE
The economy continues to hum despite dire predictions of its demise, or the influence of endless political turmoil. Here is one opinion to heed.
“This is the most prosperous economy the world has ever seen and it’s going to be a very prosperous economy for the next 100 years,” says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, in an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes.”
Who is he and why should we pay attention?
“The story of Jamie Dimon is the story of modern Wall Street. He sits atop the country’s largest bank. He oversees more than $2 trillion in assets and a quarter million employees from Manhattan to Mumbai,” the network explains.
Uh-oh. The 2020 election appears to be inflicting some collateral damage.
“Politics are driving Democrats mad. More than 70% of Democrats say politics is making them increasingly angry about America, leaving them feeling like strangers in their own land,” says an “Axios on HBO” poll released Monday.
The reasons for such angst are no doubt complex. But perhaps Democrats are not used to getting so much pushback from assorted GOP factions and the Trump administration — and it is causes them distress.
“Democrats say nearly everything they watch, read or listen to triggers their anger, even the soothing voices of NPR. The big picture: Americans, as a whole, are just plain mad and feeling like strangers in their own land, though a lower percentage of Republicans describe themselves as angry (57% compared to 74% of Democrats) or feeling like a stranger (52% compared to 71% of Democrats),” the poll analysis said.
Everybody appears peeved.
The poll also found that 58% of the respondents reported their friends, family and coworkers “seem angrier” than five years ago. Another 83% of Americans who discuss politics several times a day report feeling angry at least once a day over something they heard or read in the news.
But the poll also reveals that despite the woes of a cranky citizenry, people are paying attention — which has its merits.
“Turns out, this is the bipartisan era of rage and estrangement, fueled by rising interest in American politics,” the analysis said. The online poll of 2,811 U.S. adults was conducted Oct. 17-20.
POLL DU JOUR
• 64% of U.S. adults are “more enthusiastic” about voting in 2020 than previous elections; 69% of Republicans, 57% of independents and 68% of Democrats agree.
• 67% of men and 61% of women also agree.
• 28% overall are “less enthusiastic”; 21% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 26% of Democrats agree.
• 24% of men and 33% of women also agree.
• 6% overall say their feelings are “about the same” as in previous years; 9% of Republicans, 6% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.
• 7% of men and 6% of women also agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,506 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 14-31 and released last week.
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