Raif: Make the time to watch impeachment hearings for yourself

The past few days I’ve not gotten much done around the house. My husband fixes his own breakfast. I eat cold cereal. Lunch is what we can fix in a hurry, which is usually heating up leftovers from the night before. I’ve been glued to the TV, watching the impeachment hearings.

Because I must use captioning to understand what can’t hear, I’m amazed at the speed and accuracy of the captioners. I usually watch ABC, but I switched to CBS, NBC and CNN and found that across them all the captioning was consistent; i.e. all the captioners typed the same thing and they all typed every word said.

When I was in graduate school at UT Arlington, I had captioners in all my classes so that I could keep up with what the professor was saying and be able to participate in class. The captioners I had during that time there were amazingly capable, since I also can read lips to know that what was typed was accurate. Within one day I received the notes, which was very helpful for studying for a test.

So why has Fox News decided to make its own captions? Do they feel those watching are not capable of interpreting for themselves what is actually being said by those who are testifying? Why do they feel it so important to make that decision? Do they really think their viewers are not capable of thinking for themselves?

If this is where you’ve gotten your “news” about the hearings, why do you think so little of your own mental capabilities that you cannot hear what a person is actually saying and decide for yourself how to interpret the words?

Everyone has access to captioning. On the main menu to programs on your TV there is a choice to caption. It is labeled CC. I encourage you to turn it on for the hearings and hear for yourself, without interpretation, what is really being said.

I also look at the body language of those who ask the questions and of those who answer. That can be very telling. Marie Yovanovitch, the Ambassador to the Ukraine, was almost in tears at the time because apparently she felt attacked. Another time a questioner was talking so rapidly that he wasn’t giving the person testifying time to reply. Finally someone shouted, “Give her time to answer.”

There is another one who has been criticized by some of the others at the hearing not so much for asking for information but for attacking the one testifying. My interpretation of this is that this questioner was not so much seeking information as as he was playing to his party’s constituents, to show them they and their party are the only ones smart enough to ask the “right” questions.

What viewers may not realize is that written testimonies are already entered into the proceedings. This was made clear when Ambassador Sondland kept saying he was not allowed to have these notes of the answers he had previously given. There was never a reason given for this, nor who was refusing to give the notes.

I know many, if not most, members of the would-be viewing audience work and can’t watch the proceedings during the day. So, tape them and watch later. Our government needs to be open and transparent, regardless of which party is in charge. It’s when we don’t care enough to know what is going on that we allow others to make decisions for us that we may not like or agree with. My way of thinking is that if you can’t make enough time, or care enough to know what is going on, then you have no right to badmouth anyone.

— Gayle Raif, a Longview resident, is a regular contributor to the Saturday Forum.

Today's Bible verse

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

— Isaiah 7:14

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