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Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Tim Graham's Meltdown Over Impeachment Hearing Coverage Ignores Technology Leaps
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is weirdly obsessed with how the Trump impeachment hearings are being covered. the MRC's Tim Graham tried a pre-emptive attack on the coverage in a Nov. 13 post:

The networks are planning live coverage of the House Democrats attempting to impeach President Trump over a phone call to the president of Ukraine. This is a very partisan exercise, but the very partisan networks always paint these as momentous turning points of history that are somehow nonpartisan.

One of the most obvious ways our television “news” divisions demonstrate their bias is by deciding which news events deserve live coverage, canceling out their regular programming. At least, it’s obvious on the days when it happens. But it’s sneaky when you try to compare it to how they covered other breaking-news events that don’t line up with the Democrat agenda.

Five years ago, the networks skipped any live coverage of the first hearings into the government failure to protect the consulate in Benghazi.

Graham seems not to have noticed that the Benghazi hearings weren't impeachment hearings.

This was followed by a rant showing his bizarre hatred for PBS:

Watergate analogies abound. So it’s not surprising that longtime PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers took out an ad in The New York Times insisting that for “the sake of the nation,” PBS replay the impeachment hearings in prime time, just as PBS did in 1973. “Disrupting its programming for a few weeks is a small price to pay for helping preserve the republic.”

The fate of democracy and the fate of the Democrats are synonymous.

PBS – funded in part by the involuntary contributions of taxpayers, including conservatives – is supposed to “preserve the Republic”... when Republicans are in the White House. It ran Watergate day and night, it ran Iran-Contra live in 1987. But at this point in 1998, Moyers was silent. As the commercial networks all aired the President's videotaped perjury about Monica Lewinsky before the grand jury, PBS ran its kiddie shows. PBS took the same hands-off approach with Congress held hearings in the summer of 1997 into the Clinton-Gore campaign accepting a pile of contributions from foreign donors for their re-election campaign. That kind of foreign interference in our elections was positively sleep-inducing.

But now, PBS will air this Adam Schiff impeachment crusade live, alongside everyone else. Moyers thinks it’s insufficient that PBS World, a digital channel carried by 157 public television stations representing about 64 percent of U.S. TV households, will replay the testimony in prime time. They won’t go Full Watergate.

Graham seems not to have noticed something else: The advent of cable TV between Nixon and Clinton -- particularly public affairs channel  C-SPAN -- meant that PBS didn't have to broadcast the Clinton hearings live. The cable news networks and C-SPAN aired the hearings live, while the broadcast networks would show live coverage of any votes.

Graham also ignores the technological leap between the Clinton hearings and now, spcifically the switch to digital television. Most public TV broadcast stations have a number of digital subchannels (like PBS World, which Graham referenced) that can be used to air impeachment hearings, and PBS appears not to have mandated that the hearings run on a public TV station's main channel, since its announcement of live coverage was also accompanied by a note to "check local listings for coverage in your area."

Graham concluded by huffing:

The one thing that’s guaranteed about these live impeachment hearings is that the incessant network-news drumbeat against Donald Trump will continue to be more than 90 percent negative, as it has been for years. If that hasn’t made a dent in Trump’s standing with his backers up until now, it’s hard to see how all this live coverage is going make much of a difference.


It wasn’t, because the Left never stops trying to end this presidency prematurely. Even if at this point, it seems more designed as a strategy to end it the usual way, at election time. 

As we've documented, the MRC's methodology for determining "negative" coverage is a bogus, highly biased mess. We also don't remember Graham being concerned about nefarious forces trying to "prematurely" end a presidency when that president was Clinton.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EST

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