On Thursday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan talks about the media’s attempt to romanticize the next phase of impeachment proceedings in order to manipulate the public’s emotions. Video and partial transcript below:
They’ve scheduled open impeachment hearings for next week — theoretically open impeachment hearings, and let’s just listen to the way CBS News, Norah O’Donnell, who is really bad. She is, she’s not just bad, she’s stiff and performative on the news. She’s so prejudiced, so biased that anyone with any sense of fairness has got to listen to her and think, “Wait a minute, this isn’t the news. These are Democrat talking points.” But you got to listen to this, the way she promotes the upcoming impeachment hearings.
O’DONNELL: Tonight: Lights, camera, testimony. The stage is set for the first televised hearings of the impeachment inquiry. We now know when they will happen and who may be the Democrats’ star witness.
Good evening and thank you for joining us. It’s official: Historic, televised impeachment hearings begin a week from today, and it promises to be must-see TV. The Democrats plan to start with their star witness, a West Point grad with 50 years of public service. Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor will testify Wednesday alongside Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Then on Friday, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify. House Democrats say that’s just the beginning.
Today, more Democrats — I should say, more of the Democrats released more transcripts from those closed door depositions, and Nancy Cordes says they offer a preview of what’s expected to be bombshell testimony.
Bombshell? It’s a bombshell! Lights, camera, action! I mean, it’s like over at NewsBusters, they said it’s like a prize fight, but it’s just like promotion for entertainment, promotion for a movie. It’s a blockbuster …
Anyway, so they’re promoting this thing like it’s a movie, and here’s a piece that The Washington Post ran on Adam Schiff, the congressman in my district. Now this guy to me is like a greasy McCarthyite dishonest guy. He’s been caught lying repeatedly. Right, he lied about the whistleblower, he lied about having evidence of Russian collusion with Trump, he has just lied from the beginning, plus he looks like a turtle taken out of his shell. I’m sorry, but he does, he looks like a turtle. [The] guy is a turtle taken out of its shell and he lies all the time, and the Left, both The New York Times, a former newspaper, and The Washington Post, where democracy dies in crap, are trying to glorify this guy to make him look like a romantic figure. It is utterly amazing. I mean, people do have eyes. They do have ears, they do see things, but they’re living in their own world. So here’s the [headline]:
“Adam Schiff once wanted to be a screenwriter. Can he give the Trump presidency a Hollywood ending?”
And we know what The Washington Post — this is in the style section, by the way. We know what The Washington Post thinks a Hollywood ending to the Trump presidency would be: It’s Trump led out of the White House in handcuffs. Ain’t going to happen, but let me read you some of this, because it actually does tell you exactly what’s happening when you think about it.
When Adam Schiff was a young assistant U.S. attorney living in Los Angeles, he did what everyone does when they moved to Hollywood. He wrote a screenplay. He spent hours at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sciences, reading the scripts for “Silence of the Lambs” and “Witness” in the library (it was the ‘90s). He leaned on his courtroom experience, thinking back on snippets of dialog during trials as he typed out a crime thriller. The prosecutor was the hero, naturally. He called it “Minotaur,” and, if you ask Schiff, it was pretty good.
“I got an offer of an option from Nick Wechsler,” Schiff said, leaning back in a leather chair inside his Capitol Hill office late last month. “He produced ‘The Player,’ remember that movie with Tim Robbins?”
Schiff turned down the offer, he said. He doesn’t remember it being a huge sum of money, and anyway, he was getting into a different kind of storytelling business: Politics.
This is The Washington Post glorifying this guy and yet also playing his hand.
In some ways, he’s become the chief storyteller of this drama-filled political moment. Schiff is the head of the House Intelligence Committee and leader of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of President Trump. He’s in charge of calling witnesses, taking depositions, and subpoenaing documents. More than that, it’s his job to stitch it all together into a believable, easy-to-follow narrative. Imagine the pitch meeting: It’s like “The Manchurian Candidate,” except the president has heel spurs. It’s “The Godfather” meets “Borat.”
Alright, they’re telling you — you know, I talk about this on college campuses a lot because really, my expertise, is storytelling. That is what I’ve done all my life, that’s what I know about. I’ve studied it a lot, I’ve studied it deeply. I would say, I know about narrative and how it works, and I know about how it affects people and about how storyteller stories manipulate your emotions.
Again, I think I mentioned this yesterday, you go to a movie and you cry over the death of someone who never lived, right? And that’s an important thing — it tells you that your emotions can be manipulated at a very high level, and it’s a good thing. We like it when it’s done right. But it can also be used against you, because they can manipulate emotions that are geared to one thing and tell you that they’re about another.
The best example I can think about is a movie like “Avatar,” which is also the movie “Dances with Wolves,” which is also the movie “Pocahontas.” They’re all the same movie: A man from a civilized, in these cases white, society enters the world of a less civilized, non-white society and discovers that they’re the innocents and they’re these wonderful — what do they call them in the old days, the noble savage? — and his society is deeply corrupt. That’s the story in each one of those instances, right? His civilized society is bad, and the innocent brown people with their primitive society is good.
Listen, all stories that move you are telling the truth, but it’s up to you to find out what that truth is. The truth is, we all know that there’s something distorting about technology, there’s something distorting about civilization. Freud called it “Civilization and Its Discontents,” and we all have this Rousseauvian feeling that there’s something we left behind, just like we have a feeling that there’s something we left behind in childhood. Maybe those feelings are connected?
Okay, so they’re manipulating that to tell you that the white cavalry men in the West were bad and the Native Americans were good. They’re manipulating a true feeling to tell you something that is historically a lot more complicated than that, right? Historically, it’s a lot more complicated, and “Avatar” is even worse because they’re manipulating you to think that the American military is bad. Basically, they were telling you that the Iraqis and the Afghanis were innocent people and we were going in there to steal their oil. …
Anyway, this is what they’re doing: Manipulating us. They’re playing this up, [saying] it’s a dramatic moment in politics. It’s not dramatic, it’s really not. We know what the story is, we know the real story. We know that this is something that’s been going on for a long time — that they’re trying to get this president impeached.