Commentary

Kavanaugh-Ford Hearings Made For Engaging TV

Does anger, weeping or science rule the day when it comes to a Senate hearing for a Supreme Court nominee?

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?”

3 comments about "Kavanaugh-Ford Hearings Made For Engaging TV".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 1, 2018 at 9:50 a.m.

    According to various reports, the hearings reached about 20 million people per minute---per Nielsen---on the three broadcast TV networks plus Fox News, MSNBC and CNN. In addition, huge numbers are being claimed by all concerned for digital  audiences however these do not seem to be calculated on an average minute basis but on "starts"---a very misleding and inflationary metric when compared to the Nielsen average minute "viewing" stats. For example, Nielsen reported about 2.5 million "linear TV" viewers for CNN per minute, yet CNN contends that it freached over 8 million digitally. This might lead the uninformed to credit digital with far larger audience attainment, however, if Nielsen tallied all of its panel members who tuned in  the hearings and chose CNN at anytime during the long sessions, the 2.5 million average minute "linear TV" audience, noted above, would probably tripiple or quadruple. Even so, true comparability would be lacking. Why can't the digital measurements be reported in exactly the same manner as those for "linear TV"---on an average minute, content-on-screen basis?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 1, 2018 at 8:50 p.m.

    That man needs rehab and AA real bad. Ask any alcoholic/addict about his demeaner, his williness to put his life in jeopardy (a democratic congress will not let him get away with any judgeship for many proven lies and perhaps witness tampering) thinking no one knows. When Senator Blumenthal asked what a common Latin legal phrase means, he didn't know so he turned it around saying that the senator could do it better. It's not a better-worse answer. It's a typical deflection and it was obvious. Aside for anything else, he is very sick. It all makes for great drama. Sad.

  3. Kenny Kurtz from creative license replied, October 2, 2018 at 3:50 p.m.

    Not sure I've ever seen ideology fill in as many blanks as I've seen filled in with you, Paula.

    I think that Brett's "need" for rehabilitation, and AA is very much open to debate and undetermined at this point in time, but will admit that I witnessed some tell-tale signs that he could have a problem with "drugging." I use the word drugging instead of drinking because the word "drinking" in no way, or shape speaks to the problems associated with ongoing ingestion our nation's most dangerous, debilitating, and deadly recreational drug (alcohol).

    The word "drinking" should be limited to the activity that is REQUIRED by all human beings to sustain life itself... that is, human beings can only survive about three days without water, and must drink that water for sustenance.

    To me, Brett's severe like (it felt like love) of the drug alcohol speaks to his drugging  as opposed to "drinking"... consumption of H2O to sustain life itself.

    I was pleased to see that the FBI would be following up on this. Brett did himself no favors with that testimony, or his demeanor. This Independent that leans conservative, but has voted for Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian candidates throughout my lifetime came away thinking that it entirely possible that Brett ingested so much of the toxic drug alcohol on that evening (and/or other evenings) that he certainly could have sexually assaulted a woman, and be entirely bereft of memory of the event.

Next story loading loading..