Anger works on TV -- fictional TV, pseudo-reality TV shows and real-life political news. It draws key viewer interest, passion and what all TV marketers love to see: that fancy marketing word "engagement."
That’s what we got -- in real life and on the TV screen. She said. He said. And what TV viewers will say.
“This is a circus!” says Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, full of anger, when he wasn’t weeping, stern, or determined, during Thursday’s highly charged hearing. Earlier in the day, there were other emotions, including the word "terrified" from psychologist Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that Kavanaugh sexually attacked her while they were teenagers.
How sure was she that it was Kavanaugh who pinned her on a bed trying to remove her clothes? “100%,” said a calm Blasey Ford. No circus for her, who could also be found weeping, nervous and of a scientific mind at times, using the word "hippocampus" pertaining to memory recall.
For long periods on Thursday, few if any TV commercials ran in between this “content.” This was expected. TV marketers don't want to be a part of this "circus."
But late in the day -- after all the testimony -- new political ads appeared on news networks. The conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which has been pushing for Kavanaugh’s approval for weeks, was prominent. New creative focused on Kavanaugh having been screened by the FBI.
Why is this TV profile and analysis of these images important? Because President Trump deems it so. If you can’t make things look a certain way on TV, you can’t succeed in working for him -- or for other branches of the government.
So, where else can the plot line go?
As a TV series, in early episodes Kavanaugh portrayed himself as a calm, studious, even-keeled candidate. Now the story arc moves to Kavanaugh’s anger, weeping, stumbling a bit when answering questions, and drinking lots of water. (Classmates of Kavanaugh's at Georgetown Prep and Yale have contradicted his choir-boy imagery.)
(Did I miss something while watching the day’s committee meeting? Was Kavanaugh out on a hard run or bike ride during the lunch break? Testifying apparently can be dehydrating.)
Kavanaugh’s belligerence, temperament and calls about partisan politics seem to have channeled President Trump, who reportedly hated the tears but loved the anger.
A Facebook post from someone I'm related to, writer Barry Friedman, offered this: “Anyone else wondering about the prospects of how Kavanaugh’s anger, paranoia and martyrdom will manifest itself on SCOTUS for the next 40 years?”