Those vaunted Jan. 6 hearings are bombing with the public
Rep. Liz Cheney, who will likely be booted from office in November, has put on quite a swan song amounting to her signature achievement, which is her "Get Trump" Jan. 6 hearings.
Just one problem: the public isn't buying it.
According to Terry Jones at Issues & Insights, citing a reliable I&I/TIPP poll:
Fewer than half of all Americans are convinced that the Democrats' Jan. 6 Commission is making an honest attempt at discovering the truth about the mostly peaceful political demonstrations that took place on Capitol Hill that day, the latest data from the I&I/TIPP Poll show.
Some 44% of Americans said they were either "very confident" (21%) in the committee's investigation or "somewhat confident" (23%) that the Democrat-dominated Jan. 6 Commission "will make a genuine effort to uncover the truth."
The online poll of 1,310 adults was taken from June 8 to June 10. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
Fully 40% in June's poll said they weren't confident, with equal parts saying they were "not at all confident" (20%) and "not very confident" (20%). As the pie chart below shows, another 15% said they were "not sure."
What's more, the ratings, which much of the press crowed were higher than expected, were actually worse than previous televised spectacles and, more humiliatingly, worse than an average nightly news broadcast.
According to Just the News:
Almost 20 million viewers tuned in for the hearings on Thursday night, according to The Hill. By contrast, President Joe Biden's State of the Union address in March pulled in 38 million viewers. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump's first State of the Union attracted over 45 million, per the New York Post.
Just The News called that "dismal."
Meanwhile, over at NewsBusters:
Based on the most recent ratings data, January 6 hearing coverage on broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) drew significantly smaller audiences than those networks' own evening newscasts generally do on a standard weekday. Evening newscast audiences on any given night last week were 1.6 times larger than the total number of broadcast viewers who tuned into the hearings on Thursday.
According to TV news ratings guru RoadMN, the hearings averaged just 3.63 million watchers across all three broadcast networks. ABC won the ratings battle with 4.35 million viewers, followed by NBC with 3.31 million. CBS was a close third 3.24 million viewers.
Contrast the above ratings with those for the same networks' evening newscasts for the week of June 1, which averaged 5.92 million viewers per evening.
That's miserable — another money-loser for them. According to Jack Davis at The Western Journal, viewers "changed the channel."
The I&I/TIPP poll tells us a lot about why the Jan. 6 hearings are such a dud with the public.
With no prompting from any media outlets, the public already thinks the composition of the committee is stacked — with rabid Democrats still looking to Get Trump after two impeachments that failed to convict, along with two hand-picked Republicans — Cheney and her #NeverTrump sidekick, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who hold a grudge against Trump.
Jones reported that the public found the hearings a distraction, given the raft of galloping crises the Democrats are ignoring in the era of Joe Biden, such as inflation, the supply chain crisis, gas prices, the stock market crash, the surge of illegal aliens inundating the unguarded border, and various foreign policy debacles. Those issues are getting no attention whatsoever from Democrats, let alone meaningful solutions, so the hearings are just filler.
Probably the most interesting question asked was about what the public thought the committee should be investigating.
Democrats, by a plurality below 50%, like the committee script on Trump's alleged role in inciting the Jan. 6 riots.
But the rest of their opinions are divided into very low numbers across topics such as the role of outside agitators, the role of Antifa, the role of social media, the role of the Proud Boys, the lack of Capitol Police, and all of the above.
Independents, by contrast, have very different things on their minds:
Independents, by 22%, a slim 1% margin, want "the role of other trained agitators" looked into, followed by 21% equally wanting "role of the Proud Boys," "lack of Capitol Hill police," "D.C. police and Capitol Police," "the continued fed investigations," followed finally by "Trump's alleged incitement." But the top spot was "all issues," at 25%. Independents, by their response, seem to want the whole even investigated, across the board.
Republicans want the lack of the Capitol Police looked into, the role of Antifa investigated, the role of social media probed, the FBI's lack of intelligence, the death (and cover-up, I'll add) of Ashli Babbitt investigated, the role of other agitators, and all of the above, in that order.
The committee is ignoring these issues. Why the heck would these independent voters even want to tune in? Even with the Democrats, only 25% of them want to zero in on President Trump, meaning 75% of them aren't seeing their issues covered, either. Again, why the heck would anyone want to tune in?
And with less than half of the voters thinking these hearings are fair, it's pretty well a recipe for a tune-out.
One thing I'd add myself is that role of election fraud, which drove the crowd, is not being probed at all. That may seem tangential and irrelevant, but try reading one of the Washington Post or other mainstream media analyses of the hearings — and notice how casually and facilely each columnist brings up that Trump "falsely" claimed that the election was stolen. They can't write about the matter at all without that preposterous claim. Here's Eugene Robinson, and he's hardly the only one:
The claim that the 2020 election was stolen was a lie from the very beginning. Donald Trump knew that. Fox News knew it, too.
It is bad enough that this lie led to the violent mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But as the House select committee investigating the insurrection laid out on Monday, this assault was in service of not just political power but also Trump's grubby, unrelenting pursuit of profit.
Well, what about the stolen election?
Somehow it ended up in the testimony of former attorney general Bill Barr, a man who turned on Trump after failing to investigate credible allegations of election fraud on election night, who casually dismissed Dinesh d'Souza's 2000 Mules film.
According to a hostile account by the Daily Beast:
In videotaped testimony aired during Monday morning's Jan. 6 House committee hearings, Barr told lawmakers about his efforts to convince former President Donald Trump that his voter-fraud claims were bogus, definitively stating, "My opinion then and now is that the election was not stolen by fraud. And I haven't seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that," before pausing and adding, "including the 2,000 Mules movie."
Barr then let out a hearty chuckle.
What's more, Cheney gleefully joined the claims that the election was not stolen, according to NPR. Barr's dismissal went like this:
In his testimony, Barr said he was "unimpressed" with the film and that the "photographic evidence" didn't hold up.
Well, gee, that solves it: Trump-crazed Democrats would never dream of stealing an election, would they? Bill Barr says so.
Pay no attention to those election observers illegally thrown out from the counting rooms as windows were boarded up. Pay no attention to the suitcases full of ballots that were wheeled out for counting after hours in Atlanta. Pay no attention to that phony broken water main, or the simultaneous changing direction of the electoral tally numbers, from swing states at around 2 A.M. (The current president of Mexico sure as heck knows what that meant because he once experienced it himself.) Pay no attention to the truck driver who was asked to haul ballots from one state to another — the same ballots. Pay no attention to the uncreased ballots all voting for just Joe Biden. Pay no attention to this research from a completely different quarter from d'Souza's, from AT contributor Jay Valentine, about nests of voter fraud, from computer experts. Pay no attention to hordes of witness testimony about fraud in individual states. And ballot-harvesting? The topic of d'Souza's video? Anybody notice that Democrats are currently advocating for legal ballot-harvesting and are already getting away with it in California? Funny how they like that idea.
Seems it's OK for people like Barr and Cheney (and the corporate press) to bring up that there was no election fraud, but if any of us wants some attention paid to this at the hearings, well, we are going off on tangents.
I know I didn't want to watch these miserable hearings, given the continuous drumbeat of "there was no fraud." Will someone like Barr care to explain instead of dismissing these valid electoral integrity concerns detail by detail? Of course not, and we know precisely why he won't — it's because yes, there was fraud.
If the topic were as irrelevant as the committee and the press say, they wouldn't need to keep bringing it up to dismiss it.
Why the hell would anyone want to watch this? It's obvious it's a rigged hearing with a pre-determined conclusion. Nobody wants to watch crap where the ending of the story has already been told.
Image: Screen shot from CNN video via YouTube.