The big three networks have been dutifully airing the impeachment hearings since last week, but CBS’s move on Tuesday to truncate its coverage suggests that some TV executives are rethinking that decision. One can’t blame them. Watching congressional hacks pore over the back-and-forth of unelected busybodies is boring as hell. To say the impeachment hearings so far have been less than riveting is an understatement. And the viewing numbers bear that out: they are anemic compared to the huge viewership the Nixon impeachment hearings received. According to Business Insider, viewership of Schiff’s dull partisan exercise can’t even compete with recent events:
Though the major broadcast networks known as “The Big Three” and their cable news counterparts all aired the hearings live, they received significantly fewer views than other major recent congressional hearings.
In comparison, testimony from former FBI Director James Comey in June 2017 received 19.6 million live TV viewers, and Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh received 20 million in September 2018.
Even Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, swung 16 million live TV viewers when he testified in February 2019.
The ultimate reason for the hearings’ lack of pizzazz is that no high crime exists, and hours and hours of probing won’t yield one. The Democrats look like Geraldo Rivera examining soda bottles after he told us he had found “Al Capone’s vaults.”
Even if you put the worst possible construction on Trump’s behavior, it is still not an impeachable offense — no more compelling than Trump threatening to fire Donald McGahn. (Remember when the Dems told us that would result in Trump’s impeachment?) What could be more self-destructively frivolous than impeaching a president not for what he did but for what he considered doing? It is no wonder that Democrats who think along those flaky lines would call Trump’s mere tweets impeachable conduct — what they hysterically call “witness tampering.”
Dems obviously find such language thrilling, but the American people have heard it all before and are tuning it out. None of what has been discussed during the impeachment hearings so far could possibly shock them. It amounts to tsk-tsking the imprudent optics of Donald Trump, which is hardly grounds for impeachment. To hear the hyperventilating of the Democrats, one would think their witnesses were whistleblowers at a concentration camp. In truth, they are just unelected bureaucrats second-guessing the foreign policy of the chief executive. Who cares? Just look at the wan headlines their testimony has produced: “Aides Say Call ‘Political,’ ‘Inappropriate.’ ” Oh my.
That Trump’s bark is worse than his bite is something the American people came to terms with a long time ago. They don’t want a president impeached for his personality tics.
It is unlikely the American people will even remember the names of Tuesday’s witnesses by the end of the day — such was the colorless character of their testimony. The chuntering liberal pundits on ABC during a break in the hearing even had to admit that the Dems failed to move the ball downfield.
Another reason the public is yawning at the Dems’ claim of a “crime” is that no victim exists. The Ukrainian leadership denies that Trump tried to bribe them. And it didn’t even investigate the Bidens. This has forced the Dems into a wholly unconvincing posture of outrage — in which they supposedly care more about Ukraine than the Ukrainian president does.
Future historians will look back at these hearings as a pitiful and flailing attempt by the Democrats to undo the election of a president whom they couldn’t beat at the ballot box. It represents the last gasp of an ongoing Deep State coup — a campaign of spying and sabotage that began before his election and continued after it, culminating in the bumptious eavesdropping that generated the fruitless Mueller probe. Every boomerang they have hurled at Trump has come back to conk them on the heads.
Adam Schiff’s eyes seemed to grow more bulging as Tuesday’s testimony dragged on and he realized the day had turned out to be a dud. The tedium was finally too much for ABC and NBC, which joined CBS in ditching wall-to-wall coverage as it began to cut into the much more ratings-rich local news. “I got bad news for you,” Congressman Devin Nunes said to the afternoon’s unilluminating witnesses. “Ratings are down. It is not you.” Actually, it was. They had nothing impeachment-worthy to say.