Impeachment Trial Bombs on Social Media; Axios Suggests Republican Plot to Make It Boring

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Engagement with impeachment stories on social media is plummeting, and Axios’ Neal Rothschild believes it is all part of the Republicans’ plan.

“By blocking Democratic attempts to subpoena new documents, the Republican-controlled Senate made sure no dramatic new information would surface during the first few days of the trial,” Rothschild said, which “made it easier for Americans to tune out.”

But even Axios had to admit that the spin was not necessarily one-sided. “The Democratic-led House was motivated to crank up interest in impeachment by making the hearings as explosive as possible,” while Republicans, they say, “want the trial done as quickly and painlessly as possible without the opportunity for new evidence to surface or for the case against Trump to build.”

During the first three days of the trial, social media engagement with impeachment neared 30 million interactions. Three days later, that engagement had already dropped by nearly half. Out of 25 popular stories regarding President Donald Trump, only three were about his impeachment.

And while “the gravity of the charges against Trump is serious” Rothschild wrote, “it hasn’t been enough to keep the country hooked.”

Axios frames that situation as a deliberate strategy by Republican politicians to divert the public. This view does, however, omit one possibility: that the impeachment trial really is boring in a news cycle where no story seems to last more than a few hours without an injection of melodrama, and our collective attention span is growing shorter all the time.

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