Fewer than 20 million people across roughly eight major television channels watched Thursday’s primetime hearing of Congressional hearing that is investigating the mobbing of the Capitol on January 6. House Democrats scheduled the hearing for 8 to 10 p.m., hoping to get a large number of eyeballs on their work. Three major networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, pre-empted their regular programming to issue breaking news, special-report coverage of the event.
The New York Times spun the numbers as a big success. “Though the Thursday night figure pales next to presidential debates (63 million to 73 million) or this year’s State of the Union address (38 million), it’s still much larger than the audience that would normally watch a daytime congressional hearing. And it’s in the ballpark of television events like a big “Sunday Night Football” game or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” Sunday Night Football is shown on one network. If you aim for the Super Bowl, you’d at least hope to get a playoff rating.
The Washington Free Beacon put the numbers into context by comparing what the numbers looked like when they’re not lumped together, but instead broken down by channel. “Just 3.24 million people watched the network’s “Capitol Assault Hearings” coverage Thursday night, according to the TV Ratings Guide. Exactly one week prior, 3.86 million people tuned into CBS to watch a Young Sheldon rerun, meaning an old episode of the coming-of-age sitcom garnered roughly 600,000 more viewers than the inaugural hearing.
That gap is even more pronounced for new Young Sheldon episodes. More than seven million people, for example, watched the show’s season five finale, titled “A Clogged Pore, a Little Spanish, and the Future,” during CBS’s 8 p.m. slot on Thursday, May 19. Three weeks earlier, 6.9 million people watched a new episode titled, “Uncle Sheldon and a Hormonal Firecracker.”
The revelation suggests that Democrats will struggle to use the hearings to attract voters ahead of the November midterm elections, particularly as Americans experience record-high inflation and gas prices. Just hours after the hearing’s conclusion, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that inflation rose 8.6 percent in May, the fastest rate in more than four decades.
Republicans pointed to that announcement Friday morning to argue that Democrats are not prioritizing issues that are important to voters. Google trend data show midterm voters have “very low interest” in the January 6 riots compared to issues including jobs, taxes, and inflation, according to Axios.
Americans do not seem interested in the January 6 Committee because they already know what happened and have settled opinions about the event. The Washington Post reported that many viewers are tuned out to the hearings. “Others among more than a dozen voters interviewed — in coffee shops, stores and by phone — dismissed the hearing as “rubbish,” or simply did not watch…Asked about the hearings she looked momentarily confused. ‘The what?’ she asked.”
This is only shocking to liberals who were convinced the hearing would “grip the nation” the way the Watergate hearings did fifty years ago. The big difference, though, is that Richard Nixon was president in during the Watergate hearings. Donald Trump isn’t president today.
Although Democrats hired former ABC News executive James Goldston, who produced the network’s most successful news programs, such as 20/20, Nightline, and Good Morning America, to guide the television presentation of the hearing, the event itself offered scant new information. One of the big reveals, for example, was that President Donald Trump encouraged the mob scene at the Capitol and believed that his vice president, Mike Pence. “deserved” to be hanged for not siding with the 45th president’s effort to undermine the Electoral College.
Though the tape of the president threatening Pence was previously suppressed, the news itself wasn’t earth-shattering. Axios documented Trump’s comments in November 2021, writing, “Former President Trump — in a taped interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News that was shared with Axios — defended, quite extensively, supporters who threatened to “hang” former Vice President Mike Pence.”
The hearing also shows that Democrats are more interested in obsessing over Donald Trump than focusing on the problems facing the country, and they can’t seem to grasp that life isn’t a zero-sum game. An overwhelming majority of Americans disapprove of mobbing the Capitol. It’s entirely possible to be horrified by Trump’s actions and think that the issues they elected Democrats to deal with, coming out of COVID, the economy, and returning to normalcy, are more critical to our future.
Biden’s failures across the board on these topics have made him one of the most disliked presidents in modern history. Congress does not fair any better in the opinion of Americans. Over 70 percent of the public say that the country is moving in the wrong direction.
The timing of the event couldn’t have been more revealing. The headlines regarding the hearing about January 2021 were quickly displaced by what is happening in 2022. On Friday, the stock market dropped 800 points as the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that inflation hit the highest level in over four decades.
CNBC wrote, “The consumer price index, a wide-ranging measure of goods and services prices, increased even more than the 8.3% Dow Jones estimate. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core CPI was up 6%, slightly higher than the 5.9% estimate.” The prices of food, gas, and energy prices are up 106.7 percent over the past year. On Saturday, the average price for gasoline in the United States crossed the $5 threshold for the first time.
One economic correspondent summed up the problem for Democrats in one tweet. “I keep looking at the line item breakdown of the CPI report searching for silver linings and I just don’t see any. This report is a disaster if you’re a Fed or Biden administration official hoping this inflation will go away without a serious downturn.”
Americans want someone in charge to look ahead and implement policies that will lead to a better future. We don’t want to be the first generation to leave a country that is worse off than how we got it. Spending more time relitigating events spurred on by a president being incapable of admitting he lost an election will not get that job done.