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‘Tuesday Afternoon Impeachment’ Is as Big as ‘Monday Night Football’

Westlake Legal Group 22impeachment-tv1-facebookJumbo ‘Tuesday Afternoon Impeachment’ Is as Big as ‘Monday Night Football’ Television Ratings (Audience Measurement) Nunes, Devin G nielsen media research News and News Media MSNBC impeachment Hannity, Sean Fox News Channel Debates (Political)

On the third day that impeachment hearings blanketed American televisions, from morning talk shows to late-night monologues, Representative Devin Nunes came out with a public service announcement.

“TV ratings are way down, way down,” Mr. Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, declared — on live television — to a pair of witnesses seated before him in Congress. “Whatever drug deal the Democrats are cooking up from the dais, the American people aren’t buying it.”

Mr. Nunes was wrong.

In fact, America’s impeachment drama, titled “Days of Our Impeachment” on a recent “Saturday Night Live,” is drawing “Monday Night Football”-level viewership. On some days, its ratings have topped popular procedurals like “NCIS.”

After five full days of hearings across two weeks, the average live TV viewership for impeachment has been roughly 12 million people, according to Nielsen. Ratings have dipped slightly from a peak on Day 1, Nov. 13, which drew an audience of 13.1 million, but the drop-off is less than what many sitcoms see after a season premiere.

And the numbers for cable news are superlative: Last week, Fox News notched its highest-rated week of the year in terms of total viewership. MSNBC enjoyed the best week in its 23-year history for total viewers.

Politics is driving television these days. Impeachment has upended networks’ daytime schedules, where the usual diversions of soap operas and “Ellen”-style chat shows have been usurped by stone-faced government officials offering soliloquies on Ukrainian politics.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., viewership of the big cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — on impeachment days has been nearly double the average from a year ago, according to Nielsen.

Partisan talk shows are doing particularly well. On Fox News, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson earned close to their biggest audiences of the year, with Mr. Hannity at one point zooming past 4.4 million viewers. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow’s average viewership during impeachment has put her on track for one of her best-ever ratings months.

CNN has not matched the numbers of Fox News and MSNBC, but its evening anchors, like Anderson Cooper, are seeing some of their highest ratings of the year.

If any group appears to have suffered from the fatigue brought on by the all-day political coverage, it is the cadre of Democrats running for president. A prime-time debate in Atlanta on Wednesday, the fifth of the year, drew the smallest live viewership of the Democratic primary campaign so far, with 6.6 million tuning in to MSNBC.

That debate followed roughly 11 hours of live testimony, a test for even the most dedicated TV political junkie. And it featured 10 candidates who have grown familiar to viewers, whereas the impeachment hearings, like the Watergate sessions of the 1970s, are minting a fresh group of small-screen stars.

Previously obscure civil servants, like Fiona Hill, a former White House Russia expert, and Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, are suddenly household names. On his CBS late-night show on Tuesday, Stephen Colbert delivered a riff on the decorated résumé of Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, joking, “The only way Vindman could be more all-American is if he appeared in a Ken Burns documentary about the Statue of Liberty — which he did as a child.”

Seizing the moment, late-night comedy shows are scrambling to book political figures and pundits. In the last couple of weeks, Mr. Colbert welcomed the MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace and Senator Kamala Harris of California. On NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” the host, who rarely wades into politics, made an exception last week when he chatted about impeachment with Ms. Maddow.

The impeachment-focused fare seems to be working: Mr. Colbert is soundly beating his rivals Mr. Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel of ABC in the ratings.

Not to be outshone on his favorite medium, President Trump took to the airwaves himself on Friday morning, calling into “Fox & Friends” for a 53-minute-long defense of his actions, in which he asserted a number of falsehoods about Ukraine.

Over all, Fox News is the most popular venue for daytime viewers to watch the congressional hearings. The network averaged about 2.5 million people over five days of coverage, according to Nielsen.

MSNBC was a close second, and edged closer to Fox News during the proceedings. On Thursday, MSNBC pulled in more viewers than Fox News between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The dominance of Fox News and MSNBC — which have far outstripped CNN and the broadcast networks — is another sign that viewers are flocking to more opinionated outlets where coverage is likely to reflect their ideological point of view.

Television ratings are an idiosyncratic form of measurement, so some caveats apply. The ratings cited here are based on six networks — ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, NBC and MSNBC — and do not reflect viewers who opted to live-stream the proceedings online, listen on the radio, or watch C-Span or PBS.

That means the overall audience for impeachment is even bigger. And many Americans pay attention through reporting and snippets on nightly newscasts or prime-time cable news.

John Koblin contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For

  • The debate is 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time. It is being held in Atlanta and co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post.

  • There will be no opening statements. Candidates will have 75 seconds to answer questions from the moderators: Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell and Kristen Welker of NBC and Ashley Parker of The Washington Post. Each candidate will have 45 seconds for rebuttals or follow-ups, as well as a 75-second closing statement.

  • The New York Times will have extensive debate coverage, including a live analysis throughout the event.

Nov. 20 Lineup

Westlake Legal Group booker Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Cory Booker

Westlake Legal Group gabbard Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Tulsi Gabbard

Westlake Legal Group klobucha Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Amy Klobuchar

Westlake Legal Group buttigieg Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Pete Buttigieg

Westlake Legal Group warren Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Elizabeth Warren

Westlake Legal Group biden Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Westlake Legal Group sanders Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Bernie Sanders

Westlake Legal Group harris Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Kamala Harris

Westlake Legal Group yang Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Andrew Yang

Westlake Legal Group steyer Tonight’s Democratic Debate: When It Is and What to Watch For Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Tom Steyer

Candidates will appear in this order on the stage, from left to right.

Ten Democratic presidential candidates will take the debate stage in Atlanta on Wednesday night, but the spotlight is likely to follow two contenders who have risen to the top of polls over the last several months: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

Here is what to watch for as the candidates debate:

Last month in Ohio, Ms. Warren took incoming fire from four different rivals. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mr. Buttigieg led the attack against her health care proposals, Senator Kamala Harris of California made a disjointed plea for Ms. Warren to sign onto her call for Twitter to ban President Trump and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii demanded to know how Ms. Warren was qualified to serve as commander-in-chief.

Since then, Ms. Warren has seen her polling position diminish as she has sought to explain how she would finance “Medicare for all” beyond the “I’m with Bernie” line that she offered earlier in the campaign. But the attacks against her haven’t stopped. She remains a useful foil for Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg — along with Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota — as they jostle to be the standard-bearer for the party’s moderate wing.

Ms. Warren has shown no indication she’s willing to give ground. During a speech to Iowa Democrats this month she used the word “fight” 21 times in 12 minutes. Her argument that the party will lose to Mr. Trump if it nominates a candidate who fears her bold proposals has become central to her campaign stump speech.

Expect both dynamics to be on full display in Atlanta, though this time Ms. Warren will be prepared to defend Medicare for all in a more detailed fashion than she has demonstrated to date.

At the same time, the volume of opposition research being pitched by rival campaigns about Mr. Buttigieg has increased, focusing on 9-year-old friendly remarks about the Tea Party and his stewardship of the municipal government in South Bend.

In previous debates, Mr. Buttigieg has easily parried attacks from his rivals — that task will become tougher as scrutiny on him increases.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

While Ms. Warren laid out a plan last week to pass a full Medicare for all system by her third year in the White House, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he’d get it done right away.

“I will engage that struggle on day one of my administration,” Mr. Sanders said Friday in California. “Not put it off for several years.”

Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, long ideological partners, have mostly avoided direct conflict on the campaign trail. But the Medicare for all issue affords each of them an opportunity to create political distance. Mr. Sanders can once again brand himself as the purest advocate for his political revolution. Ms. Warren, meanwhile, will have to navigate between appealing to the party’s most progressive voters and not frightening away moderate Democrats by tying herself too closely to Mr. Sanders.

The Democratic differences on how to fix America’s health care system have consumed much of the airtime in debate after debate, and the coming clash in Atlanta is expected to be more of the same.

In the last debate, Ms. Warren was hammered for lacking her own Medicare for all plan. She has since rolled out a comprehensive package that more moderate Democrats, like Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg, have said is unrealistic and unworkable. Mr. Biden has used health care to raise other questions about Ms. Warren, calling her an elitist with a “my way or the highway” approach to governance.

Mr. Buttigieg has been advertising in Iowa to promote his “Medicare for all who want it” approach, which Ms. Warren has said will not fundamentally fix the system. The recent Des Moines Register/CNN poll showed how divided the party is on the topic, with 36 percent favoring a Medicare for all plan that eliminates private insurance, 34 percent wanting a “public option” and 20 percent saying they preferred restoring provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

Midway through the second week of impeachment gobbling the entire Washington news cycle, the presidential candidates would still rather talk about almost anything else.

Yet it seems implausible — if not impossible — for Wednesday night’s debate moderators to avoid asking the White House hopefuls about the House inquiry unfolding daily on live television.

But what can the candidates say at this point? They’re all for impeaching Mr. Trump. But while they know that wanting the president removed from office is the cost of entry for the Democratic primary, voters would much rather see a discussion about the sort of issues that are central to their daily lives: health care, climate change and the economy.

Even Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who spent years on a campaign calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, is talking about other issues on the trail.

So expect to see the moderators quiz the candidates about the latest developments from Washington, as they then pivot to something else.

Things are not going well for the California senator. Since the last debate, she has shuttered her New Hampshire offices. She has laid off staff and shifted resources from her Baltimore headquarters to Iowa. And she has continued a slide in the polls, which now show her closer to the bottom tier than to the top.

The challenge is that Ms. Harris has already delivered one of the most memorable debate moments of the primary — her takedown of Mr. Biden on busing — but the bump she received quickly faded.

She has since turned her focus on Mr. Trump in one debate, and challenged Ms. Warren to call for kicking the president off Twitter in another. She does not have a signature policy focus — she has called to cut middle-class taxes as a top priority — that seems ripe to pop. It is not clear what tack she will take on Wednesday evening (she could be among the many ready to pile onto Mr. Buttigieg), but the pressure to perform is strong.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Prime Time, Two Versions of Impeachment for a Divided Nation

Westlake Legal Group 16SPLITSCREEN-01-facebookJumbo In Prime Time, Two Versions of Impeachment for a Divided Nation Williams, Brian Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Television News and News Media MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Hannity, Sean Fox News Channel Carlson, Tucker Baier, Bret

For a glimpse at the country’s divided political reality, look no farther than a pair of television studios on opposite sides of the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan.

From her set inside MSNBC headquarters, Rachel Maddow opened her prime-time coverage of the Trump impeachment hearings by calling the first day’s testimony “a double-barreled problem for the president — triple-barreled, maybe.” President Trump, she said, had been “caught doing something illegal” at the “direct expense of the country’s national interest.”

One block south, from a Fox News studio, Sean Hannity welcomed viewers by declaring “a great day for the United States, for the country, for the president — and a lousy day for the corrupt, do-nothing-for-three-years, radical, extreme, socialist Democrats and their top allies known as the media mob.”

These distinct visions — delivered simultaneously from skyscrapers roughly 1,000 feet apart — were beamed at the 9 p.m. hour into millions of American living rooms. It was a striking reflection of today’s choose-your-own-news media environment, and a far cry from the era when Americans experienced major events through the same television hearth.

Viewers are flocking to opinionated outlets with irreconcilable differences. Although every major TV station broadcast the hearings, Fox News and MSNBC were far and away the most popular networks for Americans to watch the opening round of public testimony this past week, outdrawing CNN and the “Big Three” networks of ABC, CBS and NBC, according to Nielsen.

On Wednesday, a pair of veteran foreign service officers testified that Mr. Trump had pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate his domestic political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. On Mr. Hannity’s show, the right-wing radio pundit Mark Levin compared the officers to “two homeless guys.” A guest on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program said the men “looked like people who sat by themselves at recess.”

On MSNBC, the host Chris Hayes praised the officers, telling viewers they had revealed “brand-new evidence of the president’s plot to extort Ukraine.”

“Today, the American people got a fuller picture of the corrupt abuse of power by the president of the United States,” Mr. Hayes said, around the time that Mr. Carlson was telling his audience that the testimony was “pointless and tiresome.” Mr. Carlson added, “It made you realize that Democrats really have no master plan for impeachment.”

Television played a crucial role in framing impressions of the nation’s last two impeachment dramas. The Watergate hearings of 1973, now viewed with nostalgia as a moment when Americans could more or less agree on facts, were broadcast in sober tones on PBS. (ABC, CBS and NBC rotated coverage to avoid losing daytime ad revenue.)

Bill Clinton’s impeachment and Senate trial, which focused on a sensational sex scandal, came at a time of expansion for 24-hour cable news. The circus boosted ratings for then-fledgling Fox News and MSNBC and made celebrities of feisty partisan commentators, including future Trump-era figures like Kellyanne Conway and Laura Ingraham.

Now comes Mr. Trump’s impeachment, at a moment of profound fractionalization in the news business.

Many viewers have come to prefer partisan media venues, and the divide extends beyond cable. An entire news pipeline — from message threads on Reddit to chatter on Twitter and partisan Facebook groups — allows Americans to consume information that confirms their own biases and beliefs.

And tribal allegiances to news outlets mean that any hint of heresy can provoke an outcry. When NBCNews.com published an analysis arguing that Wednesday’s impeachment hearing lacked “pizazz,” many liberals seized on the phrase, objecting to the notion of assessing impeachment as entertainment. Even Stephen Colbert weighed in, mocking the article on his CBS late-night show.

A similar backlash occurred on Friday among conservatives, during the testimony of the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch.

When Mr. Trump tweeted an attack on the ambassador while she spoke to lawmakers, the Fox News anchor Bret Baier noted on-air that it might hurt the president’s case. Mr. Baier wrote on Twitter that the president’s message could be viewed as “witness tampering or intimidation — adding an article of impeachment real-time.”

Mr. Baier, the chief political anchor at Fox News, works in the network’s news division, not its partisan commentary ranks. But his remarks yielded a rash of frustration and disbelief among pro-Trump Fox viewers who took it as a kind of betrayal.

Daytime viewers of Fox News and MSNBC on Friday would have encountered some overlap in the channels’ commentary.

The MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, who often criticizes Mr. Trump on her program, was a co-anchor of her channel’s coverage. On Fox News, viewers heard some tough words for Mr. Trump, too. Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” host, said, “If you are not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch today, you don’t have a pulse.” And Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Bill Clinton and a frequent guest on Fox News, criticized Mr. Trump’s tweet as showing “extraordinarily poor judgment.”

By Friday prime-time, though, Fox News was back to ardently defending the president. Mr. Carlson opened his show with an onscreen graphic reading, “Media Fawns Over Yovanovitch’s ‘Poise, Charisma.’”

Historians and media scholars say the current moment is in some ways a throwback to an era long before the rise of mass media, when partisan newspapers were the way Americans received their news.

Coverage of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, in 1868, was dominated by outlets with strident agendas; some papers were controlled outright by leaders of political parties.

“One of the things I find very amusing about the coverage today is when I hear about how divided the electorate is,” said Brenda Wineapple, a historian whose chronicle of the Johnson impeachment, “The Impeachers,” was published this spring. “It was equally divided, if not more so, in 1868.”

Ms. Wineapple said in an interview that contemporary coverage of Johnson was marked by character smears and misinformation intended to deceive the electorate. “All kinds of rumors and allegations that were largely unfounded,” she said. “There have been people staking out polarized sides for a very long time.”

In 1973, ABC said it received angry calls from viewers who opposed the network’s broadcast of the Watergate hearings. Among the objections: “You’re hurting our president,” “Watergate is being shoved down our throats” and “It’s Democratic propaganda.”

Jon Meacham, the journalist and historian who recently helped write a book on the history of impeachment, said that, in a way, history had come full circle.

“The Johnson impeachment unfolded in a Wild West of partisan media,” Mr. Meacham said in an interview. “Nixon unfolded in a consensus era,” when media outlets were broadly in step. “The reaction to that consensus on the right helped build the institutions and pipelines that were beginning to operate under Clinton and are now at full throttle under Trump.”

“Therefore, in a media sense, we’re all the way back to Johnson,” Mr. Meacham said. “You choose your reality by the paper to which you subscribe, or the channel which you watch.”

Michael M. Grynbaum is a correspondent covering the intersection of media and politics. @grynbaum

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Prime Time, Two Versions of Impeachment for a Divided Nation

Westlake Legal Group 16SPLITSCREEN-01-facebookJumbo In Prime Time, Two Versions of Impeachment for a Divided Nation Williams, Brian Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Television News and News Media MSNBC Maddow, Rachel Hannity, Sean Fox News Channel Carlson, Tucker Baier, Bret

For a glimpse at the country’s divided political reality, look no farther than a pair of television studios on opposite sides of the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan.

From her set inside MSNBC headquarters, Rachel Maddow opened her prime-time coverage of the Trump impeachment hearings by calling the first day’s testimony “a double-barreled problem for the president — triple-barreled, maybe.” President Trump, she said, had been “caught doing something illegal” at the “direct expense of the country’s national interest.”

One block south, from a Fox News studio, Sean Hannity welcomed viewers by declaring “a great day for the United States, for the country, for the president — and a lousy day for the corrupt, do-nothing-for-three-years, radical, extreme, socialist Democrats and their top allies known as the media mob.”

These distinct visions — delivered simultaneously from skyscrapers roughly 1,000 feet apart — were beamed at the 9 p.m. hour into millions of American living rooms. It was a striking reflection of today’s choose-your-own-news media environment, and a far cry from the era when Americans experienced major events through the same television hearth.

Viewers are flocking to opinionated outlets with irreconcilable differences. Although every major TV station broadcast the hearings, Fox News and MSNBC were far and away the most popular networks for Americans to watch the opening round of public testimony this past week, outdrawing CNN and the “Big Three” networks of ABC, CBS and NBC, according to Nielsen.

On Wednesday, a pair of veteran foreign service officers testified that Mr. Trump had pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate his domestic political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. On Mr. Hannity’s show, the right-wing radio pundit Mark Levin compared the officers to “two homeless guys.” A guest on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program said the men “looked like people who sat by themselves at recess.”

On MSNBC, the host Chris Hayes praised the officers, telling viewers they had revealed “brand-new evidence of the president’s plot to extort Ukraine.”

“Today, the American people got a fuller picture of the corrupt abuse of power by the president of the United States,” Mr. Hayes said, around the time that Mr. Carlson was telling his audience that the testimony was “pointless and tiresome.” Mr. Carlson added, “It made you realize that Democrats really have no master plan for impeachment.”

Television played a crucial role in framing impressions of the nation’s last two impeachment dramas. The Watergate hearings of 1973, now viewed with nostalgia as a moment when Americans could more or less agree on facts, were broadcast in sober tones on PBS. (ABC, CBS and NBC rotated coverage to avoid losing daytime ad revenue.)

Bill Clinton’s impeachment and Senate trial, which focused on a sensational sex scandal, came at a time of expansion for 24-hour cable news. The circus boosted ratings for then-fledgling Fox News and MSNBC and made celebrities of feisty partisan commentators, including future Trump-era figures like Kellyanne Conway and Laura Ingraham.

Now comes Mr. Trump’s impeachment, at a moment of profound fractionalization in the news business.

Many viewers have come to prefer partisan media venues, and the divide extends beyond cable. An entire news pipeline — from message threads on Reddit to chatter on Twitter and partisan Facebook groups — allows Americans to consume information that confirms their own biases and beliefs.

And tribal allegiances to news outlets mean that any hint of heresy can provoke an outcry. When NBCNews.com published an analysis arguing that Wednesday’s impeachment hearing lacked “pizazz,” many liberals seized on the phrase, objecting to the notion of assessing impeachment as entertainment. Even Stephen Colbert weighed in, mocking the article on his CBS late-night show.

A similar backlash occurred on Friday among conservatives, during the testimony of the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch.

When Mr. Trump tweeted an attack on the ambassador while she spoke to lawmakers, the Fox News anchor Bret Baier noted on-air that it might hurt the president’s case. Mr. Baier wrote on Twitter that the president’s message could be viewed as “witness tampering or intimidation — adding an article of impeachment real-time.”

Mr. Baier, the chief political anchor at Fox News, works in the network’s news division, not its partisan commentary ranks. But his remarks yielded a rash of frustration and disbelief among pro-Trump Fox viewers who took it as a kind of betrayal.

Daytime viewers of Fox News and MSNBC on Friday would have encountered some overlap in the channels’ commentary.

The MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, who often criticizes Mr. Trump on her program, was a co-anchor of her channel’s coverage. On Fox News, viewers heard some tough words for Mr. Trump, too. Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” host, said, “If you are not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch today, you don’t have a pulse.” And Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Bill Clinton and a frequent guest on Fox News, criticized Mr. Trump’s tweet as showing “extraordinarily poor judgment.”

By Friday prime-time, though, Fox News was back to ardently defending the president. Mr. Carlson opened his show with an onscreen graphic reading, “Media Fawns Over Yovanovitch’s ‘Poise, Charisma.’”

Historians and media scholars say the current moment is in some ways a throwback to an era long before the rise of mass media, when partisan newspapers were the way Americans received their news.

Coverage of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, in 1868, was dominated by outlets with strident agendas; some papers were controlled outright by leaders of political parties.

“One of the things I find very amusing about the coverage today is when I hear about how divided the electorate is,” said Brenda Wineapple, a historian whose chronicle of the Johnson impeachment, “The Impeachers,” was published this spring. “It was equally divided, if not more so, in 1868.”

Ms. Wineapple said in an interview that contemporary coverage of Johnson was marked by character smears and misinformation intended to deceive the electorate. “All kinds of rumors and allegations that were largely unfounded,” she said. “There have been people staking out polarized sides for a very long time.”

In 1973, ABC said it received angry calls from viewers who opposed the network’s broadcast of the Watergate hearings. Among the objections: “You’re hurting our president,” “Watergate is being shoved down our throats” and “It’s Democratic propaganda.”

Jon Meacham, the journalist and historian who recently helped write a book on the history of impeachment, said that, in a way, history had come full circle.

“The Johnson impeachment unfolded in a Wild West of partisan media,” Mr. Meacham said in an interview. “Nixon unfolded in a consensus era,” when media outlets were broadly in step. “The reaction to that consensus on the right helped build the institutions and pipelines that were beginning to operate under Clinton and are now at full throttle under Trump.”

“Therefore, in a media sense, we’re all the way back to Johnson,” Mr. Meacham said. “You choose your reality by the paper to which you subscribe, or the channel which you watch.”

Michael M. Grynbaum is a correspondent covering the intersection of media and politics. @grynbaum

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Matt Gaetz to MSNBC Host Over Ukraine: ‘Stop Micharacterizing Stuff. I Have to Fact-Check You in Real Time’

Westlake Legal Group matt-gaetz-hallie-jackson-SCREENSHOT-620x332 Matt Gaetz to MSNBC Host Over Ukraine: ‘Stop Micharacterizing Stuff. I Have to Fact-Check You in Real Time’ William Taylor Uncategorized Ukraine Russia MSNBC Media Matt Gaetz International Affairs Impeachment of President Trump impeachment hallie jackson Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump democrats Congress Allow Media Exception 2020

[Screenshot from TheDC Shorts, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=22&v=jY50chvZKOA]

 

On Thursday, Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz appeared on MSNBC and told host Hallie Jackson to stop the misrepresentation of facts.

Actually, that’s a great message for a whole lot of people.

Hallie was pinching Matt on the testimony of William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine. Only some of Bill’s impeachment-related reveal’s been made public, and Hallie wanted to know more:

“[A]bout the substance of this, Congressman — because I haven’t heard you say anything since Bill Taylor testified — yes or no, is it okay for any politician to trade military aid for political favors?”

But Matt wasn’t there for the hearing, so he was all clammed up:

“Look, I’m not going to get into the specifics of the Taylor deposition because I wasn’t present for it. The lead-in to your question was, ‘I want to talk about Bill Taylor’s deposition.’”



Hallie pressed, “Do you think it’s appropriate?”

Matt made it clear — he doesn’t believe President Trump tried to strong-arm Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden by withholding military aid:

“I do not believe it would be appropriate for any politician to link military aid to assistance in a future election. No. And I also don’t think that’s what the President did.”

The congressman wanted to point out — the one thing we do know is Ukraine meddled in 2016 (and if so, it wasn’t  in Trump’s favor):

“It was a Ukrainian court that ruled that the Ukraine impermissibly interfered in the (2016) U.S. election, and that is a sufficient basis for the President to ask for cooperation with the Attorney General on that matter.”

But Katie didn’t wanna talk about that, ’cause it isn’t proven. Trump aggressing Biden, however…

“[W]hat you are saying is significant — not about the piece about Ukraine in 2016, because that is not a proven theory –“

Matt interrupted:

“Well, wait — it was a court order in Ukraine. But you just keep blowing through these things like they’re facts, but they’re not.”

Then he made a T-shirt:

“[S]top mischaracterizing stuff.”

He told Hallie he was having to work extra hard to have the conversation:

“I have to fact-check you in real time.”

The MSNBC host is a fast talker, and the whole exchange was riddled with words, words, words, cranked out as from a gatlin gun with hair.

But Matt told her it’s all foolishness:

“You’re playing the game here, Hallie. You’re playing the game where they selectively leak stuff that is not subject to cross examination, rigorous review, check against documents and timelines. And by the way, when they had to do this in open, in the Russian investigation, with Mueller, with Lewindowski, Democrats looked terrible. And now they’re trying to do things in secret so we can have interviews like this, so that you can cherry-pick elements of leaked testimony, and then ask me about them when I wasn’t in there, you didn’t see the testimony, and more importantly, we’re unable to see how those statements hold up against cross examination.”

The representative laid out what he believes to be the Dems’ MO. Basically, they’re playing Prison Rules, and it’s all a lunge for redemption after the humiliating defeat of goofy Russia Mania:

“[W]hen the Speaker of the House won’t adopt rules, then it creates an environment where the Democrats just sort of make it up as they go along — kick some committees out, let some committees in, and it’s all because they wanna reshuffle the legislative deck, because they’re humiliated that they lost the Russia investigation unequivocally with the American people. Adam Schiff lied to the American people when he said he had more than circumstantial evidence that President Trump was engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia…”

Matt said something similar to Tucker Carlson Thursday — there are no rules (here).

But I like Matt’s, and I propose its incorporation into Washington and the media. And the mirror — so what if I ate an entire dozen of Krispy Kreme?

Stop mischaracterizing stuff.

-ALEX

Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

The Woke Set Sail For Inclusive Island: Halloween Costumes Are Already Being Banned At Schools And Universities

AOC Shuns Pete And High-Fives Beto On Hunting Rifle Theft. Plus: A Style Profile Of The Anti-Millionaire Millionaire

Tragedy In Texas: Police End Up Shooting A Woman During A Welfare Check On Her. Some Are Calling It Murder

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Shockingly, the Media Absolutely Loved Disruptive Congressional Sit-Ins Until Republicans Did It

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The media lauded Democrats as brave and revolutionary when they did something but now decry it as dangerous and a breach of decorum when Republicans do it. Shocking, right?

That’s exactly the dynamic at play with the current consternation over Republicans entering the SCIF (which they absolutely have a legal right to do as Congressional members) and we’ve got receipts.

You may recall back in 2016 when Democrats decided to shut down all proceedings by staging a sit-in on the House floor. For nearly two days, they stayed there.

Here was the media’s response.

The slobbering praise was so bad that NBC reporters were lauding the fact that Kim Kardashian was tweeting about it. You heard words like “historic” over and over. Brooke Baldwin is almost salivating over John Lewis’ “impassioned” speech. Chuck Todd said this would be the “recipe” for getting a vote. Comparisons to the Civil Rights movement were made.

It was unbelievably positive. There were zero concerns about decorum, holding up other work, or the fact that it was clearly just a political stunt. None at all.

But when Republicans do it in protest, it’s suddenly really, really awful. Funny how that works.

If you read the responses to that tweet, what you’ll see is a ton of “THAT’S DIFFERENT!!” hot takes because of the SCIF being involved.

Here are the facts, some of which I shared in a piece last night. The SCIF is legally accessible by all Congressional members. Period. The fact that Schiff is choosing to abuse it does not turn it into his own personal sanctuary. There was also nothing going on that was classified within those proceedings and no matter what happens in there, authorities would have been checking for breaches afterward. That’s standard procedure. They don’t otherwise have no security measures unless Republicans hand in cellphones while inside. To suggest such is to paint a false picture of what is actually occurring.

What we are seeing here is pure hypocrisy, plain and simple. These media giants absolutely loved political stunts before they were against political stunts. No one should be taking their criticisms as anything other than more partisan rancor.

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Beto refuses to apologize for using the ‘N’ word, doubles down on screed

Westlake Legal Group BetoDebate Beto refuses to apologize for using the ‘N’ word, doubles down on screed Wolf Blitzer The Blog Rev. Al Sharpton President Trump PoliticsNation Nazis nationalism MSNBC Joseph Goebbels impeachment CNN Beto O'Rourke 2020 election 2020 Democrat candidates

No, not that ‘N’ word – the other one. Robert Francis O’Rourke has gone so over the cliff in his leftist-speak that even Al Sharpton and Wolf Blitzer are trying to toss him a lifeline back to reality. Case in point – in interviews a mere day apart, O’Rourke referred to President Trump and his administration as Nazis. That’s not a particularly original thought emanating from the left these days but O’Rourke even brought Goebbels into the conversation.

In today’s Trump deranged world, standard references to Hitler are not enough when talking about the Republican president or his administration. Remember when the left popularized Hitler references during the George W. Bush administration? Back then it was Bushitler. Trump’s name isn’t so easy to work with so the incendiary remarks spring forward.

O’Rourke hasn’t been able to top the attention he received after the mass shooting in El Paso and his decision to make gun-grabbing legislation his campaign’s main theme. Now he just swings for the fences and hopes someone will book him on cable television. One show that took the bait was Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday show. During his interview on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation, O’Rourke included the name of Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in his criticism of President Trump.

“President Trump, perhaps inspired by Goebbels and the propagandists of the Third Reich, seems to employ this tactic that the bigger the lie, the more obscene the injustice, the more dizzying the pace of this bizarre behavior, the less likely we are to be able to do something about it,” he said.

“I’m so grateful that not only is the House moving forward with impeachment, but… It’s a good sign that he was caught, that he was stopped — that he can no longer normalize the behavior that we’ve seen so far.”

The King of Race Baiters and anti-Semitic Sharpton was surprised by O’Rourke’s rhetoric. Rev. Al asked for clarification. “Did I hear you correctly say that perhaps Trump was influenced by Goebbels and the Third Reich in terms of telling a big lie? I just want to make sure that’s what I heard you say.”

I’ll note the irony in O’Rourke claiming that President Trump is “normalizing” some type of behavior. That is exactly what the left has done against Republicans and conservatives. They have normalized using words like “Nazi” against them. The left always accuses the right of actions they are taking.

So, that was Sunday. On Monday, while giving an interview to CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, O’Rourke forged on. He defended his use of the ‘N’ word. It’s really all about the Muslims, or maybe Mexicans, or something.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked O’Rourke if he was going too far in comparing Trump to the Nazis. But O’Rourke didn’t back down.

“Find me a better analogy of another leader of a Western democracy describing all people of one religion as inherently defective or disqualified or dangerous,” O’Rourke said. “That’s what the president has done when it comes to Muslims.”

O’Rourke continued on with more past comments of the president.

“Repeating the lie that Mexican immigrants pose violent risk to this country,” O’Rourke added. “Asking four women of color elected by their constituents to Congress to go back to their home country. And having an almost Nuremberg-like rally where people are chanting ‘Send her back’ or inviting the kind of violence based on the racism that he’s inspired where you have another crowd cheering when someone says ‘shoot them’ when the president says what do we do about these immigrants.”

Oh, did you catch that little nugget in that screed? Those Trump rallies that include chanting like “Send her back” are “Nuremberg-like” rallies and incite violence. Orange Man bad and so are his Deplorables. They are just like Nazis.

Blitzer asked if O’Rourke understands the impact such language will have on people and how offensive it is for him to insert words like Holocaust and Nazis in a political conversation. “Most people say that is unacceptable,” Blitzer said. Alas, Beto doesn’t care about any of that. He simply has to make such comparisons, as it’s his last resort, you see. And it is “where we are.” He told Blitzer that the country is descending into “open racism, intolerance and violence led by the president.” Also, yes, Trump is a Russian asset. “He’s working in the interests of Russia and defying the interests of the United States,” O’Rourke said. The man left no stone unturned, right?

Robert Francis O’Rourke has not qualified for the November debate yet. He told Blitzer that he’ll stay in the race whether he makes it to the debate stage or not. Raising money isn’t his problem (who are these people, anyway?), it’s his poor polling. He has failed to hit 3 percent in at least four recognized polls. Beto’s campaign sent out an email Sunday sounding the alarm that “millions of people” may not get to hear his message. Thank heavens for small blessings is what I say to that.

I don’t think O’Rourke should count on any of this latest nonsense to raise his numbers in the polls. It can’t come soon enough for when we’ll be able to say, “Adios, Beto.”

The post Beto refuses to apologize for using the ‘N’ word, doubles down on screed appeared first on Hot Air.

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Joe Scarborough Tells the Funniest Joke Trump Supporters Have Heard in a Long Time

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Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. Screen grab via MSNBC and MRC-TV.

Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” has an amazingly out-there idea that all those supporters of President Donald Trump are actually fully in support of seeing him impeached.

According to Scarborough, the majority of Trump’s base wants him impeached, and he knows that because, during the 2016 elections, many were secretly supporting Trump while saying they weren’t.

“And just like people used to be ashamed to admit they support Donald Trump. In fact, nobody would admit to us whenever we went around and gave talks,” said Scarborough. “Nobody would admit that they were voting for Donald Trump. And at one point I just started saying you’re all lying, because you’re all voting for him, stop lying and they’d laugh and go, yeah, we are.”

“Well, now as Donald Trump exits stage left, I suspect that we will see the same thing that people will be reluctant to admit publicly that they can’t put up with him anymore,” he continued.

Scarborough told a story of a man who chose Trump due to being given the option between him and Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren. The man could only choose Trump in that case, but would rather have Pence in the White House. According to Scarborough, everybody is this man he spoke to.

“So, it may say 92% there supporting Donald Trump and not wanting the impeachment inquiry. But, Mika, it’s actually the fear and loathing is rising. And that is something that Republican members of the Hill are picking up on,” said Scarborough.

That’s a bold claim to make. In fact, it’s so bold that it comes off as fanciful. It strikes me more as wishful thinking than actual analysis.

It’s also a foolish take when you consider a few things. For one, Trump’s fundraising is record-breaking. People are shoveling cash his way faster than any other president in his position. So much so that it’s actually demoralizing the Democrats into infighting.

(READ: Trump Smashes Through A Fundraising Record And It Has Democrats Worried)

Also, it’s hard to come to the conclusion that Trump supporters secretly want him gone when he’s filling out stadiums filled to overflow with rabid fans all wearing MAGA hats and pro-Trump t-shirts.

The truth is, Democrats probably don’t have much left to give them hope against the Trump administration, be it superfluous investigations or the 2020 elections.

Perhaps that’s why Democrats are now embracing pure fantasy as an escape from the reality that it’s over for them, and has been since 2016.

 

The post Joe Scarborough Tells the Funniest Joke Trump Supporters Have Heard in a Long Time appeared first on RedState.

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Like a Good Lapdog, MSNBC Clumsily Backs Clinton in Her Smearing of Tulsi Gabbard

Westlake Legal Group f1c61773-57dd-4e5a-96c7-3045358f05e5-620x317 Like a Good Lapdog, MSNBC Clumsily Backs Clinton in Her Smearing of Tulsi Gabbard tulsi gabbard Russia Politics MSNBC Hillary Clinton Front Page Stories democrats Cable News Allow Media Exception

MSNBC could have chosen to stay neutral, or even support a Democrat who is still in the game, but instead, the network has decided that it would back a failed politician with a habit of being wholly unlikeable.

The ongoing feud between failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and 2020 primary candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hasn’t slowed down ever since Clinton accused Gabbard of being a “Russian asset.” The two have exchanged fire since then, with even President Donald Trump stepping in to defend Gabbard.

(READ: Trump Defends Tulsi Gabbard Against The Equivalent Of The Democrat Party’s Mean Girls)

Now, it would appear that the number one left-leaning cable news network is getting in on the deal as well. MSNBC has decided to step into the ring and is now running defense for Clinton.

According to Becket Adams of the Washington Examiner, contributors to the network are being given air time in order to support Clinton, but aren’t exactly offering up a cogent defense:

Embarrassingly enough, the timing and details of the Clinton vs. Gabbard feud have proven too complicated for certain NBC and MSNBC personalities to comprehend.

MSNBC contributor and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, for example, claimed Saturday that Clinton did not “name names” when she alleged the Russians are “grooming” the Hawaii representative.

Yet, “Congresswoman Gabbard was like, ‘Me! Me! Me! Me!,’” he added, comically raising his hand like an overeager student.

Again: Clinton’s spokesman confirmed the Hawaii congresswoman was the target of the “grooming” remarks.

It’s not Capehart either. Two other contributors seem to be following the same mistaken timeline.

“When Hillary Clinton says there’s a Russian asset, doesn’t say anybody’s name, and Tulsi Gabbard goes, ‘How dare you call me a Russian asset?’” said  NBC News’ Jonathan Allen.

“One thing that was interesting about Tulsi Gabbard’s response, I mean, she went after Hillary Clinton strong, she said she wasn’t going to run as a third party candidate, she never denied being a Russian asset,” said MSNBC contributor Kimberly Atkins. “That was the one aspect that was missing from her response, which you think that would be in the first line or two. It was not there.”

As my readers know, I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but I do pay attention to patterns. One MSNBC contributor mistaking the timeline would be one thing, but here we have three.

This looks more like a narrative creation than analysis.

The question is if they are creating a narrative, then why create the narrative for Clinton? She’s a useless entity in the Democratic party for all intents and purposes. Does she plan to run, or does MSNBC just have that big of a dislike of Gabbard?

The post Like a Good Lapdog, MSNBC Clumsily Backs Clinton in Her Smearing of Tulsi Gabbard appeared first on RedState.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Takes On His Own Network Over Harvey Weinstein

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While I expect that very few people around these parts are huge fans of Chris Hayes, you do have to appreciate it when someone steps up and shows courage in the face of their employer’s negligence. In this particular case, Hayes gave a closing monologue on his show, All In w/ Chris Hayes, to discuss NBC News’ spiking of Ronan Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein story.

Hayes does take a swipe at President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, but notes that when it comes to ignoring the abuses of your own side, it’s not limited to Republicans.

As Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali notes in the tweet above, Hayes is doing this despite it being his own news network he’s speaking out against and the fact that at least one of the top guys as NBC News doesn’t seem to like him or his show.

Hayes is referring in this clip to Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill, which details not only the story of Harvey Weinstein and other top abusers in the entertainment world (like NBC’s Matt Lauer), but the story of how NBC News pressured him to drop the story, afraid of the pressure that a powerful man like Weinstein could put on their company.

Farrow’s work in this area has been eye-opening to the abuses of women by men in power, and how much entire industries are willing to cover for in order to continue getting power, influence, and money. The reporting was so thorough that the supposed lack of evidence NBC News cited was apparently enough evidence to get people to turn on Weinstein, speak out against him, reveal his multitude of other abuses, and force him to flee public life.

Not sure what else NBC News actually needed.

Regardless, as good as Farrow’s reporting on the subject has been, it is good to see someone who is high profile under the NBC News banner taking a stand against the company’s cowardice in the face of an explosive and horrifying story like Weinstein’s.

Good on Chris Hayes for making the statement. I hope others at NBC follow his lead.

The post MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Takes On His Own Network Over Harvey Weinstein appeared first on RedState.

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