First Public Impeachment Hearing Flops, Draws 13 Million Viewers

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 13: Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George P. Kent (C) departs after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. In the first public impeachment hearings in more than two …
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Wednesday’s highly anticipated public impeachment hearing amounted to a ratings flop, with only 13 million viewers tuning in, according to reports.

The hearing, which featured Bill Taylor, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official, was teased as a “bombshell, given House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) allocating Democrats more time to dominate and minimize GOP voices in the first hour. Nonetheless, Democrats failed to live up to the hype, as reflected in viewership.

According to Axios, Wednesday’s lackluster impeachment hearing drew just 13 million viewers. The number pales in comparison to those who viewed former FBI Director James Comey’s June 2017 testimony and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s September 2018 hearing, which saw 19.5 million viewers and 20 million viewers, respectively.

Of the cable news networks, Fox News led the pack with 2.9 million viewers between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST, followed by MSNBC with 2.7 million, per Axios. CNN fell over one million viewers behind Fox News, attracting 1.8 million viewers. ABC edged out CBS, but both drew around two million viewers, followed by NBC with 1.7 viewers.

The numbers, however, do not reflect those who watched the debate on alternative platforms, as Axios noted.

The impeachment hearing left many Democrats feeling, privately, deflated. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) masterfully made a mockery of Schiff’s “star witness” by demonstrating Taylor’s stunning lack of knowledge:

The hearing forced impeachment-driven Democrats and establishment media outlets to tweak the narrative to focus on what they now claim is President Trump’s “attempted” crimes – bribery and extortion – despite a lack of basis for either accusation.

This exchange between Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Wednesday’s witnesses laid out the new narrative:

“So ambassadors, is attempted murder a crime?” he asked, repeating his question. “Is attempted murder a crime?”

“Attempted murder is a crime,” Taylor said.

“Is attempted robbery a crime?” he asked.

“Neither of us is a lawyer,” Taylor began before Castro interrupted.

“I think anyone in this room could answer that question,” he said.

“I’ll go out on a limb and say yes it is,” Taylor said.

“Is attempted extortion and bribery a crime?” Castro asked, trying to draw a parallel.

“I don’t know sir,” Taylor said.

The second round of public impeachment hearings, featuring former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, will air Friday at 9:00 a.m. EST.


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