New York Times media correspondent Michael Grynbaum brought out the whine list in a Wednesday article headlined “Restricted TV Feed From Senate, and Reporters Roped Off at the Side.” Senate restrictions on the media are making the impeachment trial boring! Somehow, what America really needs is a “whiz-bang” TV show!
Online, the subhead added “With the government in control of the production, ‘the emotion’ of Tuesday’s session was missing, said Chris Wallace of Fox News.”
Grynbaum began by complaining “CBS blinked first,” dumping out of live proceedings on Tuesday for Dr. Phil (as happened in DC). The trial did not make for “visually compelling viewing. For Senate Republican leadership, that was by design.” Those “independent news organizations” were not allowed to add glitz and glamour:
The result: Audiences were introduced on Tuesday to the constricted, lo-fi view of the Senate floor that will be ubiquitous on the nation’s TV screens in the coming days.
Election nights have their interactive maps and whiz-bang graphics. State of the Union coverage features high-definition reaction shots of senior government officials, generating the occasional iconic moment — think Justice Samuel Alito mouthing “Not true” when President Barack Obama criticized a Supreme Court opinion on campaign finance.
But the trial of a sitting president? On Tuesday, the small-screen vista was limited to artless shots of House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s lawyers at their lecterns, with an occasional overhead glimpse of the chamber thrown in.
Squint, and you may have been able to make out an individual senator or two.
Can someone get him a handkerchief?
Grynbaum also complained about Senate restrictions on reporters during the trial, that liberal hacks — oops, CNN reporters — can’t chase Republicans and insist they need to surrender to Adam Schiff’s demands for witnesses: “When Manu Raju, a CNN reporter, tried to interview two Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado — about the trial’s rules, the lawmakers ignored him and walked on. On an ordinary day, Mr. Raju would have followed them. On Tuesday, he was stuck in a press pen behind gold stanchions and maroon velvet ropes.”
Reporters also had to “submit to an extra layer of security screening.” Outrage!
Los Angeles Times reporter Sarah Wire lamented “Having a police officer standing between reporters and the Senate chamber we’ve had unfettered access to for more than 200 years is extremely frustrating.” Grynbaum insisted she was “echoing frustrations voiced throughout the Capitol press corps.”
“We have to shoot everyone from a distance; we have very little intimacy,” complained Washington Post photographer Melina Mara.
No one in Grynbaum’s article was brought in to push back against all the whining about these horribly burdensome restrictions, and note that this entire impeachment is turning into the most overhyped, overcovered event of the century. Somehow, the American people aren’t hearing enough as this trial drones away on about 13 channels? This makes the article’s ending just sound comical:
Michael Steele, a former Republican Party chairman and an MSNBC analyst, offered his own hypothesis.
“They don’t want the public to see this,” Mr. Steele said of the Republicans who control the Senate. “They don’t want us to assess for ourselves.”