I’ll gloss over the videos showing the pre-teen acolytes of a reality TV personality worshiping at the shrine of fakery, i.e., trying to create a phony reality TV show out of an investigation into high crimes and misdemeanors.
The GOP’s reality TV productions are based on a model, i.e., Corey Lewandowski’s absurd performance — and the rave “reviews” of his performance by the Trump cultists.
Two different audiences watched it. One loved it, loved his belligerence, his bombast, his rudeness. Loved that he sounded like a thug, not a lawyer. The visuals sold them on Lewandowski. What he said flew out of the window.
He sounded, really, like a cop — which he used to be. A cop working hard at testilying without incurring a penalty for perjury.
And they then loved the clock-burning yammer from the GOP committee members, whose performances matched Lewandowski’s, except it was deliberately less taut, less intelligible. I, for one, had trouble understanding what they were talking about.
A visual performance is like that, is rat-a-tat, especially if the witness speaks quickly and reads from a written statement pretending to have legal weight. The words slide away as soon as they’re said. An “open” hearing, i.e., a televised hearing like Lewandowski’s, is ephemeral. It disappears into space.
I was in the other audience, even in a subset of that audience, because I know something about law, about trial witnesses, about evidence and fact-gathering. That is, what I listened to was behind the audio; I listened to the facts. To the times Lewandowski had to concede to testimony he’d given to the Mueller investigation. I listened to the evasions and I listened to the lies.
What I was listening to, in effect, was the transcript. Because the only way an investigative body can evaluate the effectiveness of its witness examination is by reading and analyzing the transcript.
Unlike TV shows, words on paper stay there. They sit in your eyes and go to your brain. They are the opposite of ephemeral; they exist forever. You don’t have to speed read to evaluate a transcript. You can take your time. You can notice slips and mistakes.
When you read a transcript, you are automatically slowing down committee members’ yammer. If there’s anything intelligible there, you’ll see it. But if there’s nothing there, you’ll see that, too.
And that’s why the GOP wants “open” hearings, preferably televised, and why they do not want closed hearings, the testimony of which will be released in transcripts we can read and study. They don’t want us to focus on the written words, like Bill Taylor’s opening statement to the House committee.
These GOP guys want to be on TV! They are a TV party, with pizza and beer and Fox TV and memory loss.
Anybody who takes what’s going on seriously gets facts, gets memorable reality from the written word, and from contemplation about the meaning of the written word.