It’s the greatest political drama since the Watergate hearings. The committee that was formed to investigate the riot that led to the breach in security at the U.S. Capitol building by a semi-organized mob has created a prime-time extravaganza, carefully crafted by a Hollywood scriptwriter. It features a glittering cast of Democratic Party political characters with one goal in mind: to destroy the Republican Party.
In truth, any effort to paint the clown-car conspiracy of Proud Boys/Oath Keepers as engaged in a “plot” to deny Joe Biden the presidency has already failed. The effort had apparently been penetrated by the FBI and Lord knows how many other federal law enforcement agencies, not to mention the lack of wit and wisdom among the “plotters.”
They may have had a lot of guns lying around, so why didn’t they use them? The notion that these bozos could have held up a candy store much less overthrown the government of the United States is ludicrous on its face.
But that just won’t do for a prime-time TV show., There must be drama. There must be pathos. There must be suspense. There must be good guys, bad guys, and an evil genius who controls everything.
But there’s a reason these prime-time hearings won’t come anywhere near the TV viewership of the Watergate hearings. One-half of the country knows the hearings are an exercise in political partisanship. The other half didn’t want to switch channels from their favorite cooking/sports/fashion/comedy shows.
There just aren’t that many “persuadables” in their target audience. And that’s a problem Democrats aren’t dealing with.
Democrats explicitly described the hearing as an opportunity to remind voters about the unprecedented mayhem that followed Trump telling a sea of supporters that the election was “stolen” before directing them to march on the Capitol to encourage Vice President Mike Pence and congressional Republicans to reject swing-state electors for Biden.
“When these hearings are over, voters will know how irresponsibly complicit Republicans were in attempting to toss out their vote and just how far Republicans will go to gain power for themselves,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the New York Times in a recent interview.
Donald Trump is being accused of inciting/controlling/plotting to overthrow the election. The committee is not going to prove any of that. But they’ve got a really cool video and gripping testimony from witnesses that should have the viewers glued to their seats — if they bother to tune in.
That Hollywood screenwriter should win an Academy Award for this scripting of the hearing.
It’s tough to command and keep an audience’s attention in prime time for a congressional hearing (competing with NHL playoffs, no less). And we won’t know how many people tuned in until later, but the video stood out as being powerful.
It effectively cut between Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 to show how it was egging the crowd on. Its use of stable overhead cameras showing the mass of the crowd overwhelming law enforcement, as well as the use of law enforcement body camera footage and radio conversations were strong. It showed the rioters were operating outside the law — and against police, a group Trump often holds up with reverence.
The video was also effective in showing Trump’s tweets and seeing militant members in the crowd, needing a mob fired up, literally reading from Trump’s tweets through a bullhorn almost as marching orders — all because Trump couldn’t handle losing and he lied to his crowd of supporters. Violence from the mob of Trump supporters — striking officers with hockey sticks in one scene — was interspersed with Trump saying just five days later that these were “peaceful” people.
Goebbels couldn’t have done a better job. Note how easy it was to manipulate reality. Was Trump really “egging the crowd on” in front of the Capitol or was that just an illusion created by clever editing and scripting?
Thankfully, everyone has already made up their minds about Trump, about January 6, and mostly about Republicans and Democrats. That’s the state of American politics in 2022 and no clever video, scripted congressional hearing, or hysterical left-wing media will change that.