On Thursday evening the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection incited by Donald Trump held its first public hearing in primetime. The opening session disclosed never before seen video of the Capitol Hill riots, as well as testimony from a police officer who was injured and a documentary film make who was embedded with the seditionist StormTrumpers, the Proud Boys.
Most of this debut outing was spent providing an outline of the crimes committed by insurrectionists and Trump’s role in undermining democracy and orchestrating an attempted coup. It was a compelling presentation that included numerous revelations of Trump’s criminal complicity, stomach-churning clips of violence, and incriminating commentary by Trump insiders such as Attorney General Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump, and even some Fox News hosts.
The criminal culpability of their program hosts is surely one of the reasons Fox News refused to air the hearings live. They certainly don’t want their audience to see their biggest stars being implicated in Trump’s crimes. That would only add to the humiliation of exposing how the network has been lying about the insurrection for the past year and a half. It would make it ever more evident that Fox is not – and has never been – a news network.
Prior to this historic event, Republicans on Fox News tried desperately to suppress it. In one segment Fox interviewed Rep. Jim Banks (R-Insurrectionist) who confidently predicted that the telecast would be a big flop. “The American people have already dismissed it,” he lied. “They’re tuning out. They’re gonna flip the channel.”
That’s coming from the guy who was bounced from the Committee because he is an accomplice to Trump’s crimes. Banks also employs Tucker Carlson’s son, Buckley, as his communications director. The following day Banks attested to his own failed prediction saying that “Last night’s hearing was a primetime dud. Nothing came out of it.”
On Friday morning Nielsen’s ratings were released. And despite Banks’ and Fox’s efforts to sabotage and deviously counterprogram the broadcast (Tucker Carlson ran his show commercial free in order to prevent people from switching channels), the numbers reflect solid interest by the American people:
“ABC took the largest haul of viewers, earning 4.8 million of them, while NBC and CBS carried 3.5 million and 3.3 million, respectively.
“On cable, MSNBC pulled in a whopping 4.1 million viewers during the hearings, nearly four times what the network averages on a typical weeknight.
“Usually dominant Fox News Channel came in second place on cable on Thursday night, averaging 3 million viewers from 8 to 10 p.m. CNN came in third place with 2.6 million.”
That’s a combined 18.3 million viewers, and still doesn’t include a few other networks that carried the hearings (i.e. CSPAN, Fox Business, etc.). For comparison, Game two of the NBA Finals averaged 8.2 million viewers on Wednesday, and Fox’s MasterChef got 2.1 million. Fox News averaged 2.6 million across prime time on Wednesday.
So these numbers for Thursday’s hearings show the networks performing better than the top rated cable news channel. Furthermore, there will be a lot more viewers due to streaming, social media, and coverage by news programs in the days to come.
Consequently, the loss of Fox News will be less than irrelevant. Their 2-3 million glassy-eyed viewers aren’t persuadable anyway. So who needs them? The vast majority of the American people are going to be better informed by the end the hearings, and the legal foundation for indictments will be stronger than ever. The Trump junkies will remain irredeemably deranged.
UPDATE: True to form, Trump is attempting to gaslight his dimwitted cult disciples by claiming that the ratings for the hearings are “really BAD…far lower than anticipated.” Which is 180 degrees from reality. He also calls it a “Witch Hunt” because – isn’t everything he doesn’t like either a witch hunt or a hoax in his diseased mind?
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