COMEY-PALOOZA: MEDIA PRIMED FOR SPECTACLE
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.
Former FBI director James B. Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is a dream come true for some broadcasters.