For both France’s Le Monde and Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, respective papers of record, the hearing merited merely one small front-page teaser during the week.
Broadcasters across Europe barely mentioned the Senate trial. On Tuesday, one of France’s main public evening newscasts — France 2’s Journal de 20 heures — prioritized stories on China’s new coronavirus, power cuts, pension reform strikes, teacher strikes and migration figures. Impeachment came up nearly a half-hour into the 38-minute broadcast, between reports on the costs of charging electric cars and waste collection in Italy.
Americans tend to understand the basics of the proceedings against Trump, according to a New York Times survey. For many in Europe, on the other hand, the proceedings were full of “details that are hard to comprehend,” Bierling said.
On a continent where confidence in Trump remains low, the lack of coverage did not indicate a lack of support for impeachment. But many in Europe share the perception that in the end, Trump is likely to stay in office, Bierling said. “People are sick of hearing about him because when his name comes up it tends to be associated with bad news for Europeans,” he added.
Trump did manage to make headlines for another reason. As the trial kicked off Tuesday, German public broadcaster ARD, in its main evening newscast, led its international coverage with a report on Trump’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he clashed with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
In Berlin, the collision of worldviews was a bigger story than the impeachment trial.