“What we witnessed today, in front of the American people, is something we have never seen before,” ABC News’ David Muir commented after Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive testimony. “We’ve said it many times after these hearings, but it’s quite different.”
Across all news outlets, the coverage has been unwavering. The all-caps headline on the NYT’s front page on Tuesday night read, “HELP DETAILS TRUMP’S RAGE ON JANUARY 6.” The Drudge Report captured the dramatic testimony with a series of five banner titles detailing “THE RAGE OF THE DON”.
The bar for being surprised by Donald Trump’s behavior is quite high at this point. Much of the press and public have become numb to the former president’s lopsided conduct. It’s hard to shake the country with the details of his antics. But Tuesday’s surprise hearing unquestionably did just that.
“It was a big deal”
Don’t just take it from me. Take it from John Dean. Remember, he said Monday that the surprise hearing “better be a big deal” and told lawmakers “cancel now if you can’t match.” He said on CNN right after the hearing, “It was a big deal. Absolutely. I think she knocked it out of the park…”
Former White House acting chief of staff turned CBS News political commentator Mick Mulvaney took to Twitter to share his thoughts during the hearing. Among them: “Things went very badly for the former president today. I guess it will get worse from here.”
The committee surely has other damning revelations that it plans to share. As Chris Wallace noted on CNN, “There are still secrets out there.” Wallace pointed out that after all the investigative journalism and books that have been written about Trump, Tuesday’s hearing revealed shocking details about his behavior that went unreported. So which shoe will drop next?
NYT TV Critic’s Review
“Barring other surprises, the committee is now taking a mid-season break until after the July 4 holiday. It has left its viewers with quite a story to chew on during the break. The price of success, of course, raises the bar , and it remains to be seen whether the final run of hearings can pay off the buildup, or if it can spur real political or legal action. But this episode? It was a beast.
Watergate Point from Lowry
BY BRIAN LOWRY:
A quick note on comparisons of the January 6 hearing with Watergate strictly from a media perspective: while the analogy is understandable, the media landscape has changed so profoundly that as a point of reference it passes alongside how the world has changed, in a way that both undermines the impact of Hutchinson’s testimony (the sheer volume of options available to distract us) and amplifies it (real-time commentary on social media and endless post-match analysis, drawing attention to each of his revelations)…
How it goes in MAGA Media
I noted earlier that the Dayside Fox crew expressed some shock at Hutchinson’s testimony. The same cannot be said for the prime-time propagandist bloc that Rupert Murdoch employs.
Predictably, by the time Sean Hannity’s show aired, Fox was firmly back in Trump’s corner. Hannity told his audience that Tuesday’s hearing was yet another “insignificant” product of the work of the “anti-Trump kangaroo court” working in the “sewers of Washington.” Hannity denounced what he said was “a cult-like obsessive compulsive rage against Donald Trump” of “Trump haters” that “never ends”. And he kept attacking Hutchinson.
Suffice to say that if you had the impression that the hearing was going to unfold differently in MAGA Media than the scandals of the past, it is certainly not…
“Facts mean nothing”
Carl Bernstein acknowledged Tuesday night that the facts just don’t move the modern GOP. “Facts don’t mean anything,” he said during a panel on CNN. “Facts meant nothing for four years of presidency, for Donald Trump’s post-presidency and for Donald Trump’s campaign.”
Bernstein again suggested that the old rules that govern journalism are being broken. He said the press needed to “deal with this” another way and asked, “How can we start covering this differently?”