Reviews | Turn off the “it won’t matter” coverage of the January 6 hearings

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Republicans have played this game before. They insist that exposing an indefensible act by one of their own “will not matter” because whoever made their decision (i.e. say themselves) will not be influenced. (Tautology alert!) The media repeats this telling report to sound “balanced” or sophisticated. Polls after the debates show that opinion has not changed much. The Republicans exult then: You see, we were right! (Funny how they never voiced that argument regarding the Benghazi hearings.)

Such senseless and irrelevant comments are circulating in the mainstream media today regarding the House Select Committee hearings on the January 6 Uprising, even as the hearings involve the fate of our democracy and the worst betrayal of a American president in history. Giving the party responsible for the attack on the Capitol a veto over whether the investigation “counts” is, unfortunately, what the media coverage has largely achieved. The only thing worse is declaring surveys on extremely important topics “boring”. Ignore it.

How come so many media don’t recognize that serious public surveys don’t set mobile polling numbers as their primary focus? Congress conducted its 9/11 investigation not to change public opinion of President George W. Bush or national security, but because it was the solemn obligation of legislators to build a definitive account of the first attack on the homeland since Pearl Harbor, apportion responsibility and make recommendations to protect the country.

Republicans and many mainstream media apparently cannot fathom that the substance of government matters. Have they completely forgotten that investigations are undertaken to inform, educate, establish a historical record and avoid a repetition of the disaster?

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How should we assess audiences? Maybe – just spit here – on the bottom? In this case, the “thesis” is that former President Donald Trump orchestrated a scheme – before voting even began – to retain power by any means necessary, including illegal machinations and possibly violence.

If the committee demonstrates this and integrates the facts into the penal code, it will “matter” for those who want to know what happened on January 6th. This will matter in that it will assign responsibility to Trump officials and any other Republicans involved (whether their conduct was illegal or “merely” a violation of their oaths). And that will matter to voters making choices in November, lawmakers trying to prevent it from happening again, civil parties, victims of violence, bar associations and prosecutors considering how to build a compelling case for a judge or jury.

Other than that, it will matter because the way the committee works — with Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — will prove that it’s possible for lawmakers to do their jobs and to put the country rather than the party.

Just as Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) provided a modicum of faith in the system by voting to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial, the Republican members of the committee showed honor and conscience. This should give some hope for the viability of self-government. It is good to remember from time to time that everyone has a choice: to defend the country honorably or not.

Note to readers: I will write a viewership analysis on Thursday evening.

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