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Op-ed

Here's why CBS was right to terminate coverage of the impeachment trial and go back to showing soaps

At least one of the broadcast networks gets it

Senate Television via Getty Images

As I was winding down my evening last night, I was surfing around various other news sites on my phone when I decided to check in with the now-sadly hilarious CNN website to see how the television division of the DNC was covering the impeachment trial.

I was immediately confronted with this piece by the nation's most clueless political commentator, Chris Cillizza, which argued with a straight face that Mitch McConnell was going to pay a political price because voting Americans were going to be angry if he did not allow witnesses to be called in Trump's impeachment trial.

To be fair, poking holes in any piece of analysis from Chris Cillizza is about as difficult as hunting cows with a shotgun. But in this instance, Cillizza is not alone; virtually the entire mainstream media world is still stuck in a 1970s mindset, pretending that the impeachment proceedings simply must be of tremendously great import to voting Americans at large because, well, they're impeachment proceedings.

Allow me to help these dinosaurs interpret their own polls: No one cares about the impeachment trial, and no one will pay any price for getting the farce over with as soon as possible.

That's possibly an oversimplification. There are indeed people who care a great deal about the impeachment trial; they have just already made up their minds about Trump and the Republican Party in general. Everyone who is bothering to watch this poorly staged farce either already hates Trump or is thoroughly convinced that he is the subject of an unjust persecution, and nothing that happens over the next week is going to change that.

The numbers are simple and irrefutable. Since the impeachment controversy began, Trump's approval rating has actually improved slightly. His head-to-head polling numbers against all his most likely Democratic opponents have either remained steady or have improved. There is no polling evidence whatsoever suggesting that Republicans who are defending Trump during the course of the impeachment and trial are paying any price for doing so.

Harry Enten — who is one of the rare smart political analysts you will find on mainstream television — tried to warn the Democrats about this back in early December. Enten looked at the polling and concluded that a) everyone is already locked into their positions about impeachment, and b) overall, voters considered impeachment to be an extremely low priority. In his final conclusion, he predicted that the main reaction to impeachment would be a sonorous yawn.

At the end of the day, though, the most astute piece of political analysis came courtesy of some program manager at CBS, who braved the clucking tongues of journalists who take themselves way too seriously and canned their coverage of the impeachment proceedings so that their viewers could get back to watching their soap operas.

See, the Democrats who forced this badly staged charade upon America are also stuck in the 1970s when it comes to political analysis. They knew without a shadow of a doubt that even if they impeached Trump, the Senate would acquit him. So that raises the question: Why did they do it?

Well, they figured in their stuck-in-the-1970s brains that if they impeached Trump, the media would have literally no choice but to cover it wall-to-wall. Frankly, of course, most of the media would not need much nudging to cover an impeachment trial of Trump, since they are in the pocket of Democrats anyway. So they figured that they would get themselves some free wall-to-wall campaign material courtesy of the big three and the cable networks right as their own primary got underway.

What they forgot was that NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and even Fox aren't the only games in town anymore. Heck, more and more people aren't even watching broadcast or cable TV, they are getting their information from the internet and streaming services. Back in the 1970s, if the Democrats decided something was important, and their allies in the media agreed, the American people had virtually no choice but to either watch it, or to turn off their televisions entirely and risk disconnection from the news.

Now, some executive at CBS who actually wants to keep his job can look at his numbers and quickly conclude that he'd better get his network back to "Young and the Restless" or lose the precious few viewers they have left.

Gone are the days when the Democrats and their allies in the media can force the American people to care about what they want them to care about. And nothing illustrates the final death knell of their power more than CBS flipping the switch on an impeachment trial for literal soap operas, which is why so many liberal journalists freaked out about it.

To some extent, I sympathize with news directors and editors who have to decide what level of coverage to give these proceedings. I struggle with it here. I'm sure some of you have strong opinions about whether I am allowing too much or too little through. Personally, while I feel some sort of professional obligation to at least mention what the yahoos in Congress are doing from time to time, it's become clear to me that our readers have more important things to focus on, like the ongoing attack on our Second Amendment rights as well as the conscience rights of Christians.

It's fair for people to think that the impeachment proceedings should be a bigger deal. It's fair for analysts to opine that what Trump is accused of should be important to Americans. Everyone has their own opinion on that. But what isn't fair — or smart, or competent — is any piece of analysis that suggests to you that Americans actually do care about this and that the impeachment proceedings are a Super Serious Matter and that Americans will punish the Republican Party for not carrying them out in the way that Democrats want them carried out.

As much as I hate to give constructive advice to other video content creation companies, I must: Get over yourselves. No one cares. Follow the example of CBS and turn the soaps (or whatever you would ordinarily be showing) back on. Or don't, and continue to wonder why you are hemorrhaging viewers every day. It's your choice.

One last thing…
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