“… is it fair for the nation to be skeptical of a committee that has trampled any number of institutional norms and practices in the name of returning us to institutional norms and practices?”
This week’s Washington corollary to the tree-in-the-forest thought experiment: If the Jan. 6 committee holds professionally polished hearings, amid wall-to-wall prime-time coverage, will anybody pay attention? If the answer is no, the committee will largely have itself to blame.
The prospect of public apathy is already deeply vexing the establishment. “Democrats have the steep challenge of convincing a disillusioned American electorate to tune into” the hearings, Politico worries. The Washington Post frets that even weeks of this miniseries may not “change hearts or minds.” The vexed are already laying blame. It’s the fault of Republicans who will “downplay” the findings, Americans who are too focused on gasoline prices, and Fox News for deciding not to air Thursday’s hearing live (although Fox Business and every other station said they would).
What’s actually missing in this special sauce of prime TV hours, slick videos and positive press is the one ingredient truly vital for public interest: credibility. If huge swathes of America ignore the committee’s work, it will be because the committee itself—through its construction and through its actions—made it easy.
Can Americans trust the findings of a panel whose members began with a preconceived narrative and blackballed any dissenting voices? Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unprecedented decision to veto Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks last July in favor of her own handpicked Republican members blew the committee’s credibility before it even started work. Americans will find it easy to reject “evidence” that is too fragile to bear the scrutiny of fellow House members.
And consider Mrs. Pelosi’s Democratic picks. California’s Adam Schiff is The House face of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax and secret Ukraine impeachment proceedings. Maryland’s Jamie Raskin knows a little something about objecting to the counting of electoral votes. On Jan. 6, 2017, he objected to Donald Trump’s Florida victory. Mrs. Pelosi had more than 200 Democratic members to choose from, yet her picks allow Americans to dismiss the committee instantly. more