'Well, Ambassador And Mr. Morrison, I Have Some Bad News For You'

The "bad news," according to House impeachment inquiry hearing Republican ranking member Devin Nunes, is that "ratings are way down, way down."

Turns out the Republican minority cannot even be honest about something as easily checkable as Nielsen ratings.

Nielsen's common coverage ratings for day two of the inquiry on Nov. 15 were down 6.5% from the opening day on Nov. 13. Ratings for today's hearing featuring testimony from Ambassador Kurt Volker and Presidential advisor Tim Morrison, as well as testimony earlier in the day by Lt. Col Alexander Vindman and Vice President Mike Pence aid Jennifer Williams won't be available until at least tomorrow.

Nonetheless, Nunes consoled the Voker and Morrison not to "hold it personally. I don't think it's you guys."

Instead, he blamed "the Democrats," saying that the "American people aren't buying it."



Nunes comments reaffirm the notion that the Republican minority's strategy is not to get people to change their minds, but to get them to change the channel.

Whether a 6.5% fall off in Nielsen ratings constitutes "way down," may never be clear.

Comparable historical data for the impeachment hearings of President Richard Nixon and President Bill Clinton don't really exist.

But today's hearings also don't exist in the kind of insular TV media vacuum that the previous impeachments took place in. Much the way that some pundits attribute declines in live sports ratings to the fact that play-by-plays and scores are now easily available in real-time on their phone takes away some of the impetus and necessity for viewing a process in real-time, especially when most Americans know they'll be able to catch the highlights on the evening news or late night talk show monologues.

But given his penchant for big Nielsen ratings, I'd like to suggest the President take up Speaker Nancy Pelosi's call that he provide testimony -- not in written form -- but live at the televised hearing.

C'mon, you know you can't resist.

2 comments about "'Well, Ambassador And Mr. Morrison, I Have Some Bad News For You'".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 20, 2019 at 8:26 a.m.

    Joe, I happened to be watching when Nunes made that  comment--which anyone savvy about media knew to a gross distortion. Even if Nunes was referring to the ratings for previous sessions---which are not delivering blockbuster audiences in a world where the average viewer has 200 channels to select from---the real reason why such relatively small numbers are attending an average minute of the testimony is more likely their tedious, repetitive nature and the practice of many commmitee members on both sides---Nunes certainly included-----to make highly partisan speeches and/or attacks on those testifying rather than trying to get at the facts.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, November 20, 2019 at 11:03 a.m.

    Without a burglary or a coverup, it's just too dull for me.

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