The Impeachment Inquiry Goes Public This Week: How Many People Will Watch?
The first public impeachment hearings begin on Wednesday and speculation is rife about just how popular the televized proceedings will be. Republicans have been calling for public hearings for weeks but now that they are beginning, the intense scrutiny of millions of Americans could focus on President Donald Trump’s defenders.
U.S. cable news networks have cleared their schedules for what could be a long process. Some foreign networks, including the UK’s BBC, will also cover the impeachment live. In addition to millions of Americans, millions more throughout the world are expected to tune in.
Though some are predicting a ratings bonanza, others have pointed out the initial hearings could be dry and even boring as witnesses merely confirm what’s already publicly available: that Trump sought a quid pro quo from the Ukrainian government in exchange for military aid.
One key difference between these impeachment hearings and previous public impeachments is the proliferation of the internet and smart technology. It’s likely people across the globe will watch the hearings on multiple screens, utiliizing TV, smart phones, laptops, iPads and an array of other devices. There may be millions of tweets and other social media posts as the days unfold.
There is currently no reliable estimate of just how many people will be watching but unlike during the Clinton impeachment, the proceedings will be available to watch live all over the world – perhaps making it more difficult to gauge the exact number of viewers. One thing is certain: most people won’t be relying on the traditional evening news to keep them up to date.