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The Impeachment-Promoting Press Bores the Public

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

Rep. Adam Schiff's Democratic impeachment hearings are under way -- airing live all over the dial -- and the liberals are quite upset that America couldn't care less. NBC News spurred rage on Twitter for daring to admit online that the first two witnesses "lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention."


The Washington Free Beacon posted some hilarious tweets railing against this reality. One read: "My heart was racing at points. I had to turn off the radio and calm down a few times." Another: "When I tried to turn them off, my 15 yr old yelled at me to turn it back on because he was listening to it." And another: "I was so moved by their patriotic, factual testimony that I actually cried."

For all the desperate media advertising that these hearings are "historic," the first day attracted about 13.8 million viewers, and the numbers began to sink on day two, attracting just 12.7 million. Day two drew nearly 7 million less viewers than James Comey's 2017 testimony about his being fired from the FBI. It was more than 3 million less than former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony got in February. Those testimony days didn't damage Trump. Neither amounted to a historic hill of beans.

Let's put this in better perspective.

In June 1994, 95 million people were transfixed by a low-speed police chase of O.J. Simpson in his white Ford Bronco through the streets and freeways of Los Angeles. "An estimated 150 million viewers watched Simpson's 1995 acquittal after standing trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman," reports the Los Angeles Times. A full 92% of Americans ignored this impeachment spectacle.


That's not encouraging for the liberal dream of the Schiff hearings forcing a massive leftward shift in public opinion. Live coverage also means the liberal networks are carrying the cross-examinations of these "star witnesses" by Rep. Jim Jordan, which demonstrate the witnesses haven't witnessed very much. And when Rep. Devin Nunes uses his opening remarks to energetically denounce the press as "Democrat puppets" and the clip is carried unedited by ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN and MSNBC, they are flummoxed.

All this left CNN's Brian Stelter sputtering that the dismal ratings are a "woefully incomplete" picture of the viewership. The vast majority of those who watched the impeachment hearings on television were over the age of 55. But Stelter tried to argue that younger viewers "were more likely to stream it and/or soak up the info like sponges." Or maybe the millennials were too busy playing "Pokemon" or texting in the middle of busy streets while motorists debated the ethics of running them over.

New York Times contributor Jennifer Weiner ranted in the paper about the unpatriotic, uninterested Americans who aren't riveted by the Schiff show: "We could watch the hearings through Snapchat filters -- think how much cuter those career diplomats would look with puppy noses! ... We could use our imaginations: Just mentally add jazz hands to whoever's currently testifying. We could imagine everything sung in the style of an Ethel Merman number."


Every single time liberals are losing, they insist that democracy is going bye-bye. Weiner whined, "if we keep insisting that impeachment has to entertain us, we're going to channel-surf our way right out of our democracy."

Or if the liberals were actually interested in democracy, they would let the elected president finish his term, and try to defeat him at the polls, instead of trying to ruin him before there's any chance for reelection.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.

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