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Jonathan Bernstein

Why Are We Still Waiting for the Capitol Riot Hearings?

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault is exaggerating the potential impact of the report it’s preparing while losing focus on better ways to get its message out.

Never forget.

Never forget.

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Most of the time I think that some of the things that political scientists and smart journalists are teaching are getting through. And then, sometimes, we get something like this from an unnamed member of the committee of the House of Representatives that’s investigating the assault on the U.S. Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021. Speaking about the report the committee’s preparing, the lawmaker said, “There’s one-third of the nation that will read it, one-third that might read it, and one-third that won’t even believe it.”

So the committee thinks that its potential audience is two-thirds of the nation? A third of the nation wouldn’t read a 600-word statement from a newly emerged divinity explaining what the new era of peace and enlightenment was going to be like. Even if it was illustrated with … well, I’ll leave that to your imagination. There’s no way — no way — that anything like a third of the nation, let alone two out of three people, is going to read the Jan. 6 report.