PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor said congressional Democrats are looking for emotional witnesses to get viewers invested in impeachment proceedings.
Alcindor told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell that Democrats are hoping to make viewers "emotionally attached" to this week's impeachment hearings by bringing "blockbuster witnesses," including one who cried during her deposition. She also told Mitchell that Democratic aides considered the Robert Mueller testimony about the Russia investigation a failure due to a lack of emotion.
"They want Marie Yovanovitch to be there because I'm told she cried during her deposition," Alcindor said during an appearance on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports. "So she's really someone there to be emotional so that people can feel sympathetic."
Alcindor argued Yovanovitch's emotion could help send the message to the public that government officials "were actual victims" of Trump's policies.
Alcindor added that Democratic aides told her "they learned a lot of lessons from the hearing of Robert Mueller." The aides believe the Mueller hearings "didn't go well because an hour and a half in, there were a lot of disruptions, people weren't really emotionally attached to Robert Mueller," Alcindor said.
Yovanovitch is expected to publicly testify that President Trump recalled her from her position as ambassador due to a pressure campaign from Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump's attorney.
Public hearings begin on Wednesday with George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, and William Taylor, the foremost U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. Yovanovitch will testify Friday. Host Andrea Mitchell said Democrats are trying to prevent the impeachment process from becoming a "circus."
Alcindor's comments aren't the only example of the media focusing on how Democrats can maximize the impact of the impeachment testimonies. The New York Times published a letter to the editor titled "A Plea From 33 Writers: Words Matter. Stop Using ‘Quid Pro Quo,'" which argued the phrase "quid pro quo" is too confusing.
"Most people don't understand what it means, and in any case it doesn't refer only to a crime," the letter stated.
The letter argued that readers would find the story more accessible and more incriminating if the media used words like "bribery" or "extortion" because those words only refer to criminal behavior.