Fox News fans voted with their TV remotes against Adam Schiff’s endless, droning impeachment monologues.
The network scored its highest impeachment trial ratings yet on Saturday, when Donald Trump’s lawyers began presenting their response to Schiff’s charges, the Washington Examiner reported. Fox attracted 4.2 million viewers, over 1.5 million more than its previous high of 2.6 million recorded last Tuesday.
Viewers flock to Trump defense coverage
Saturday marked the first time that Americans heard a full-throated defense of Trump, and clearly many Fox fans were eager for the exposure to some common sense. The president’s lawyers spoke for just two modest hours in their first session, making for quite the contrast after Democrats attacked Trump in a three-day, 24-hour marathon of grandstanding.
The Democrats opted for melodrama in their opening arguments, in which they accused Trump of trying to “cheat” in the 2020 election and called him a “dictator.” Schiff notably said that Trump’s fate could not and should not be decided at the ballot box and warned that Trump had risked an imaginary Russian invasion of the United States by withholding aid to Ukraine.
Trump had expressed concern that Democrats, by taking up so much time repeating themselves, had pushed his lawyers’ response into the “death valley of TV” on Saturday morning. But Fox reaped the reward of Schiff having bored Americans to death, attracting 4.2 million viewers and 750,000 viewers in the coveted 25-54 audience demographic.
After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
Before that, Fox had averaged 1.6 million viewers during the Democrats’ three days of arguments. They attracted 2.6 million and 431,000 in the 25-to-54 demographic last Tuesday, which was dominated by a 13-hour marathon debate over rules for the trial.
Meanwhile, the major liberal networks struggled to compete with their usual daytime soap opera lineups, Fox reported, citing a study from NewsBusters. ABC, CBS, and NBC received lower ratings in their impeachment coverage than they ordinarily do with shows like General Hospital and Days of Our Lives.
Bolton drama in final act
The impeachment potboiler received a surprise twist in its final act when the New York Times serendipitously received an unpublished manuscript of a John Bolton’s new book, injecting an element of chaos into an otherwise predictable spectacle.
Democrats welcomed the last-minute “bombshell” and upped the pressure on Republicans to let Bolton, Trump’s former National Security adviser, testify.
Trump’s lawyers finished their arguments Tuesday, dismissing the new claims from Bolton as irrelevant and nothing new, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced — in a major reversal — that he does not have the necessary support to block more witnesses from testifying.
The vote on witnesses may come as soon as Friday after a 16-hour period for senators to ask questions.
If witnesses will be called, then this soap opera is just getting started. If John Bolton’s testimony is to be heard, so must Hunter Biden’s.