COMEY-PALOOZA: ME­DIA PRIMED FOR SPEC­TA­CLE

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS -

It’s all Comey, all the time. Be pre­pared. Ev­ery broad­cast and ca­ble net­work, ev­ery an­chor and ev­ery an­a­lyst is now fo­cused on for­mer FBI di­rec­tor James B. Comey and his tes­ti­mony be­fore the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee on Thurs­day.

Though a copy of Mr. Comey’s open­ing re­marks has al­ready been re­leased to the press, many net­works are al­ready bandy­ing about “im­peach­ment” talk. They’ve also pre-empted reg­u­lar day­time pro­gram­ming in hopes there will be ex­plo­sive rev­e­la­tions about pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Pres­i­dent Trump’s elec­tion cam­paign and Rus­sian of­fi­cials.

Uh-oh. This is get­ting se­ri­ous, now. Game shows and day­time talk fests will be stalled. Even the af­ter­noon soaps could suf­fer as a melo­dra­matic and mostly bi­ased press frenzy grips the air­waves.

“Ob­struc­tion of jus­tice is im­peach­able, but get­ting there is po­lit­i­cal. On the ques­tion of whether Pres­i­dent Trump ob­structed jus­tice, I think it’s highly un­likely that Comey will con­clude that the pres­i­dent ob­structed jus­tice. I think he will avoid that le­gal con­clu­sion, al­though his tes­ti­mony might give fuel to those who will so claim,” says Dale Car­pen­ter, a law pro­fes­sor at South­ern Methodist Uni­ver­sity.

An­tic­i­pa­tion of the event is “ap­proach­ing lev­els of past bomb­shell mo­ments of con­gres­sional tes­ti­mony — John Dean in 1973, Oliver North in 1987, Anita Hill in 1991,” writes Va­ri­ety se­nior editor Ted John­son, who says such tes­ti­mony can sway pub­lic opin­ion, as it did for Mr. North dur­ing the Iran-Con­tra hear­ings when some view­ers saw him as a pa­triot.

Will Amer­ica pay at­ten­tion when the six-foot-eight-inch Mr. Comey speaks? Will Mr. Trump live tweet the hear­ings as ru­mored — and will some­thing sig­nif­i­cant emerge if the tes­ti­mony goes be­hind closed doors?

? It is so con­fus­ing, some news or­ga­ni­za­tions have is­sued “how to watch” guides for view­ers.

The Brennan Cen­ter for Jus­tice at New York Uni­ver­sity saw fit to is­sue a 32-page “Trump-Rus­sia In­ves­ti­ga­tions: A Guide.” And a spate of bars in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal are open­ing early.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

For­mer FBI di­rec­tor James B. Comey’s tes­ti­mony be­fore the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee is a dream come true for some broad­cast­ers.

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