NBC Reporter—Dragged for Saying Impeachment Hearing Lacked ‘Pizzazz’—Defends Self With Little Pizzazz


Critics tore into NBC News correspondent Jonathan Allen for saying impeachment witnesses lacked “pizzazz,” but defended himself by pointing out all the non-pizzazz-related things he wrote in the same story.

The tweeting public was in no mood for superficial coverage of the first day of impeachment hearings that could potentially remove President Donald Trump from office. Reuters correspondent and recently former White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Mason reaped a social media whirlwind for bemoaning the lack of “fireworks” at a hearing that featured bombshell testimony implicating Trump in a plot to extort a foreign government.

But it was Allen who captured the mood that nobody was in with a piece that took off with a tweet noting the alleged lack of “pizzazz” from diplomats William Taylor and George Kent.

“Analysis: The first two witnesses called Wednesday testified to President Trump’s scheme, but lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention,” the tweet, from NBC News, proclaimed.

The reaction was nothing if not pizzazz-filled:

The focus on “pizzazz” was not limited to that tweet, or the identical sub-headline in the article. Allen made the point several times, and provided evidence of the public’s disinterest that included how the proceeding “felt.”

“But at a time when Democrats are simultaneously eager to influence public opinion in favor of ousting the president and quietly apprehensive that their hearings could stall or backfire, the first round felt more like the dress rehearsal for a serious one-act play than opening night for a hit Broadway musical,” Allen wrote.

He also claimed there were “no bombshells,” and referred to Taylor’s bombshell revelation of a previously-unreported Trump phone call as a “footnote.”

Allen took to Twitter to defend himself, and began by dismissing criticism from actor Bradley Whitford, then denying he was dismissing it.

The theme of Allen’s defense essentially became that people should ignore the evidence-free “pizzazz” claim that he chose to highlight in favor of the substance he denigrated throughout the piece.

Allen makes some decent points in his tweets about the importance of public outrage to the impeachment proceedings, but fundamentally misunderstands his role, which is not to guess at the public’s reaction, but to report the facts.

On that count, Allen fell short. While “bombshell” is subjective, his claim that Chairman Adam Schiff ” waited until the end of the hearing to explain to the viewing audience that Trump released the funding only after the whistleblower complaint that would expose his plot arrived at the White House” is misleading, at best. That fact was pointed out during the hearing, but by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, not Schiff.

Perhaps journalists like Mason and Allen should report the facts with the gravity they deserve, and let the “pizzazz” take care of itself.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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