Has James Comey Already Jumped the Shark?

James Comey’s much-hyped supposedly tell-all book about President Trump, A Higher Loyalty, and the saturation media blitz surrounding it, are already fraying – before the end of the juggernaut’s first week. Last Sunday, Comey enabled ABC to more than double its second-place ratings the previous Sunday at 10 P.M when it gave him an hour with George Stephanopoulos to launch the massive PR campaign to support his book that went on sale two days later. (With just over 9 million total viewers, the Comey hour on ABC still came in second to the #1 program of the night, CBS’s broadcast of the Academy of Country Music Awards, which enjoyed its highest ratings in three years.) Over the next four days, Comey appeared on too many shows to keep track of, including NPR’s Fresh Air, ABC’s Good Morning America and The View, CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, The New Yorker Radio Hour, and CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

On Thursday at 9 P.M. E.T., Comey was given the whole hour on Rachel Maddow’s highly-rated MSNBC program, which is often the #1 cable news show in the demo of viewers between the ages of 25-54. In the Trump era, punkette Maddow’s show has emerged as the leading go-to source for its nightly dose of all things relating to The Resistance.

Looking somewhat worse for wear, James Comey appears live on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show April 19, 2018

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: Comey’s secret memos that he drafted to document his conversations with President Trump before he was fired as FBI Director last May 9 were finally released, with redactions, shortly before the start of Maddow’s live interview with Comey. And the audience for the coverage and instant analysis of the memos on – gasp – Hannity on the Fox News Channel exceeded the number of viewers interested in hearing more from Comey himself on MSNBC. In both total number of viewers and in the prime viewer age demo, Hannity beat Maddow at 9 P.M. As usual, CNN, trying desperately to keep pace with MSNBC’s leftward tilt, badly trailed Fox News and MSNBC in audience numbers.

The ratings win for Hannity was good tidings for the veteran Fox News prime time host, who had been battered all week by his critics (and some friends), the left wing organizations dedicated to taking him down, and most of the rest of the MSM after it became known on Monday that Hannity had occasionally consulted Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, who is now under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The investigation of Cohen is not unrelated to the ongoing Deep State-inspired, D.C.-centered probe of President Trump and his associates by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Sean Hannity write up from TIME’s 2018 100 Most Influential People list

His ratings win for his show on Thursday was the second piece of good news that day for Sean Hannity. Thursday morning, it was announced that Hannity was included on TIME’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the world. Along with his pal President Donald Trump, Hannity was one of the handful of conservatives who made the list, which included five anti-Second Amendment activist students (including David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez) from the Parkland, Florida high school, Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Jeff Bezos, Robert Mueller, and a curious array of individuals from here and abroad who are not well-known or not known at all to most Americans. In an accompanying article, Time’s editors explained the criteria they used to assemble their list:

The TIME 100 isn’t a measure of power, though many on the list wield it. Nor is it a collection of milestones accumulated. . . TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people is a designation of individuals whose time, in our estimation, is now.

Shortly before his Fox News show began on Thursday, Hannity – in my experience with him during the past year a no-nonsense individual who in reality is refreshingly down to earth and self-effacing – acknowledged an email I sent congratulating him for making the “most influential” list. “Thx. Honestly those lists are meaningless,” he immediately replied.

“Meaningless” – I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

TIME’s six different print covers for the 2018 100 Most Influential issue

Meanwhile, on Friday April 20, Comey’s book was still #1 in sales of all books at Amazon. It will almost certainly be the #1 book on the New York Times best sellers list for this week when that list  finally appears. When A Higher Loyalty went on sale at a bookstore in Washington, D.C. at 12:01 A.M. E.T. on Tuesday, CNN reported that only one “normal person” who was not a reporter was waiting in line to buy a copy. Three days after the book’s publication, there were reports that it was already being heavily discounted at bookstores around the country. At mid-week, a number of articles in mainstream publications were giving Comey and his non-stop book promotion tour very poor reviews.

Now that it has been reported that Comey is being investigated by the Justice Department’s inspector general for possibly leaking classified information, one wonders if the former FBI Director may wind up cutting his weeks-long PR campaign short. With a first printing of 850,000 copies flooding the market, look for super low priced remainder copies of A Higher Loyalty to be widely available soon.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture.  He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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