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Last night, a large crowd of Americans tuned in to a live televised hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. It’s made in flamboyant fashion, laying out facts about the uprising that even those who follow the story religiously don’t know. It aired on no fewer than six networks (not Fox News in particular) and became instant fodder for late-night telecasts. (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert broadcast A special live episode after the hearing. ) However, as it unfolded, I couldn’t stop thinking about what people choose to watch in this age of too many screens.
Yes, people have been focusing on the actions of the committee on January 6 for almost 10 months. On Twitter, on cable, through news sites. But Thursday night’s broadcast felt different. The committee brought in a former ABC News executive to craft the hearings and make them not look like C-SPAN broadcasts live. Their goal is, According to Maryland Representative Jamie Ruskin, to “tell the story of a conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and prevent a power shift” from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.In terms of television politics, it is associated with Watergate Hearing.
In other words, must watch TV.This is what the committee wants, giving their findings to the court of public opinion. At a time of misinformation, the goal is to train voters’ eyes to see clearly what’s going on in American democracy. They certainly didn’t get all of them. During the hearing, Fox aired Tucker Carlson’s show without commercials. In all this, attention is divided between the TV and the smaller screen. Debating politics is one of the many consecrated pastimes on the social internet, but people often feel like there is more talk and analysis than actual observation.
I guess, it has something to do with the act of watching.in a thesis in New York Times this week, Kim Phuc Phan Thi — the woman dubbed the “Napalm Girl” after being photographed by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut during the Vietnam War — wrote that the photo often left her feeling “ugly and ashamed.” She noted that the U.S. doesn’t typically see images of school shootings, as happened last month in Uwald, Texas, and it doesn’t see images of foreign wars. Doing so may seem “unbearable,” she wrote, “but we should face them.”