TV coverage of impeachment is a lot different now than it was during Watergate

Public hearings into the impeachment inquiry started Wednesday. After six hours of monologues, grandstanding, and political theater from both sides, you’d be forgiven if you were ready to tune it all out.

If you haven’t been poring over the impeachment saga with a fine-toothed comb, or spending time in the political blogosphere, it’s probably more than a little confusing.

For some viewers, it’s easier to wait for a summary and analysis from a reporter after the fact. Get the CliffsNotes version. Television is designed that way. 

But this wasn’t the case during the Watergate hearings. The testimony was can’t-miss television, with just two anchors, not a saturated field of talking heads. That’s all according to New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik.