CBS Unimpressed By Hearing: ‘Not Exactly Pay-Per-View Material’

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As CBS wrapped up special coverage of Monday’s impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, panelists were unimpressed. The event was panned as “not exactly pay-per-view material,” “getting really into the weeds,” and needing a “better storyteller.”

In the 2:00 p.m. ET hour, Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell described a “marathon session on Capitol Hill” which saw “lawyers interviewing lawyers” and claimed that it was a “dense presentation of what the Democrats believe is a rock solid case to impeach the President of the United States.” She added: “Where the President, in their words, represents a clear and present danger to American democracy...”

 

 

While O’Donnell attempted to dramatize the remarkably dry hearing, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett called it out for what it was: “The latest iteration the public just watched, combative lawyers being combative in public, not exactly pay-per-view material.”

O’Donnell chuckled, but Garrett insisted:

I mean, seriously, because a lot of this stuff did go to what is the historical process of a long running congressional investigation. It’s interesting for people like me, who follow it all the time, but it doesn’t advance the ball, it doesn’t help the public get its arms anymore thoroughly around the underlying facts. The last two hours did not advance or move the information anywhere from where it was this morning.

George Washington University Law professor and CBS contributor Jonathan Turley – who advised against impeachment in the December 4 Judiciary Committee hearing – chimed in: “No I think you’re right, it’s not clear how this is really playing out. This is getting really into the weeds.”

“I can’t imagine you’re having many people whose minds have been changed by this,” he concluded.

Even anti-Trump Baltimore Law School professor Kim Wehle admitted: “I would agree. I mean, I think it’s unfortunate there isn’t a better storyteller because that’s really what Americans in this moment could use.”

Apparently Monday’s hearing was not the high political theater the liberal media were hoping for.

As NewsBusters’ Geoffrey Dickens found, in recent weeks, journalists have feared that Democrats may be losing the impeachment battle.   

Here is a transcript of the December 9 discussion:

2:25 PM ET

NORAH O’DONNELL: And the marathon session on Capitol Hill, lawyers interviewing lawyers in what may be the final round of public hearings in the House of Representatives. But essentially this is the dense presentation of what the Democrats believe is a rock solid case to impeach the President of the United States. Where the President, in their words, represents a clear and present danger to American democracy, and that’s why they are fast-tracking this impeachment process. The Republican argument has been clear from day one, which is that they believe they’re being railroaded by the Democrats and this has not been a full investigation of all of the facts.

MAJOR GARRETT: The latest iteration the public just watched, combative lawyers being combative in public, not exactly pay-per-view material.

O’DONNELL: Okay. But without –

GARRETT: I mean, seriously, because a lot of this stuff did go to what is the historical process of a long running congressional investigation. It’s interesting for people like me, who follow it all the time, but it doesn’t advance the ball, it doesn’t help the public get its arms anymore thoroughly around the underlying facts. The last two hours did not advance or move the information anywhere from where it was this morning.

JONATHAN TURLEY: I don’t know, Kim and I have been sitting here eating popcorn on the edge of our seats. [Laughter] What could be more exciting than lawyers talking to lawyers? No I think you’re right, it’s not clear how this is really playing out. This is getting really into the weeds. There are these overarching themes that haven’t really changed. I mean, the – in terms of key evidence being presented. So I can’t imagine you’re having many people whose minds have been changed by this.

KIM WEHLE [UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR]: I would agree. I mean, I think it’s unfortunate there isn’t a better storyteller because that’s really what Americans in this moment could use. “Once upon a time” – and I tell this to my students – explain it to a fifth grader the story of what happened here. “Here we have a President who made the phone call July 25th. There was a series of events that took place before and after, using his private attorney Rudy Giuliani, to enlist investigations of the Biden, investigations of the 2016 Ukrainian alleged interference in the 2016 elections.”

(...)

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