Jan6: The American Gulag
grarpamp at gmail.com
Wed Aug 10 22:01:43 PDT 2022
The J6 Hearings Had Virtually No Impact On Changing Public Views, New
For months, we have been discussing the heavy-handed, one-sided
approach of the J6 Committee in the presentation of evidence and
Both sides blame each other for the absence of a single
Republican-selected member. Yet, the Committee treated the lack of
balance as a license to present a rigid and scripted account of events
and actions, including editing out countervailing views or evidence.
For those of us who welcomed the greater transparency on the events of
that terrible day, it was a lost opportunity to have a truly historic
investigation akin to Watergate or the Kennedy assassination.
The result is now evident and unsurprising.
A Monmouth University poll shows that almost 90 percent of respondents
report that the hearings have made no change in how they view the J6
Moreover, despite the overwhelming cooperation and support of the
media with the Committee, the vast majority believe that the J6
Committee was a political rather than investigative exercise, focused
on opposing Trump rather than disclosing the facts of January 6th.
Respondents were asked “Have the recent House January 6 Committee
hearings changed your mind about what happened at the Capitol that day
or who is responsible, or have the hearings not changed your mind?”
Only eight percent answered in the affirmative while 89 percent said
it made no change at all in their views.
What was really striking was the response to a prompt stating “Some
say that the Jan. 6 committee’s main aim is to ensure President Trump
can’t run in 2024.” Sixty percent agreed with that statement,
including 62 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans. That
view was reinforced by the baffling decision of Chairman Thompson,
Vice Chair Cheney and other members to repeatedly end hearings with
calls to oppose Trump in the coming election. It was hardly subtle.
The lack of impact of the hearings is, in my opinion, due to two
threshold decisions of the Democrats.
First, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others decided that the Committee
would focus on reinforcing “a narrative” rather than follow prior
investigatory commissions with an open and balanced inquiry.
After bringing in a television producer, the hearings showed members
reading off teleprompters and witnesses confined in limited roles of
reaffirming what members were declaring about the riot. There was no
effort to present alternative interpretations or viewpoints. It played
into criticism of a “show trial” environment–an image that was
magnified by Cheney declaring in the last hearing that Trump family
and associates had come forward to “confess” and encouraging others to
do the same.
Many of us supported the effort to bring greater transparency to what
occurred on Jan. 6th and these hearings have offered a great deal of
important new information. Indeed, it has proven gut-wrenching in the
accounts of lawyers and staff trying to combat baseless theories and
to protect the constitutional process.
Yet, the heavy-handed approach to framing the evidence has been both
unnecessary and at times counterproductive. The strength of some of
this evidence would not have been diminished by a more balanced
committee or investigation. The unquestioning media coverage likely
added to the feeling of many that these hearings lacked objective
analysis and full accounts of what occurred, including the exclusion
of any discussion of why the Capitol was left poorly protected on that
day despite prior warnings of potential violence.
Second, the Committee over promised the public. At the start of the
hearings, committee members promised they had the long-sought
smoking-gun evidence — new material that would close the circle on
Trump. Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) indicated he
thought there was now “credible evidence” to support a variety of
criminal charges. His colleague, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), said the
committee would show that Trump organized a “coup” on Jan. 6, 2021.
That framing has led to glaring omissions. The Committee has routinely
edited videotapes and crafted presentations to eliminate alternative
explanations or opposing viewpoints like repeatedly editing out Trump
telling his supporters to go to the Capitol peacefully.
Offering a more balanced account, including allowing the Republicans
to appoint their own members (in accordance with long-standing
tradition), would not have lessened much of the dramatic testimony.
Yet, allowing Republicans to pick their members (yes, including Rep.
Jim Jordan) would have prevented allegations of a highly choreographed
show trial. It would have added credibility to the process. Indeed,
much of this evidence would have been hard to refute like the
deposition of former Attorney General Bill Barr on the election fraud
Once again, this Committee could have been transformative for opinions
on the riot. Instead, it was another Pelosi signature muscle play. As
a witness in the first Trump impeachment, I was highly critical of her
insistence that the House would impeach before Christmas rather than
conduct the traditional impeachment investigation with witnesses.
Instead of building a more convincing case, Pelosi preferred to
impeach with virtually no record, for a certain defeat in the Senate.
In the second impeachment, she went one better: She held no hearing at
all and pushed through what I called the first “snap impeachment.”
The Jan. 6 committee was similarly stripped of any pretense. It was as
subtle a political move as Pelosi’s ripping up President Trump’s State
of the Union speech. Thus, it was not surprising that, when asked what
she hoped to achieve from the committee, Pelosi tellingly referred to
it as a “narrative.” It is the difference between seeing and
The results in polling are no less predictable. Presented with
one-sided, tightly choreographed hearings, most citizens were left
precisely where they began. The hearings were meant to enrage the base
rather than add allies. It may have succeeded in that limited
objective, but it could have been so much more.
Here is the poll: Monmouth University J6 Poll
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