'This was obscene': Tapper reacts to ex-White House aide's Jan. 6 testimony

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“What we have witnessed today, in front of the American people, is something we have not seen before,” ABC News’ David Muir commented after Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive testimony. “We have said this a number of times after these hearings, but this is quite different.”

    Over on CNN, Jake Tapper was more blunt, saying it was “one of the most stunning offerings of testimony in American history.” Tapper later said Hutchinson had “exploded the lies and the myths that the Trump team have been perpetuating for more than a year now.”

      Muir and Tapper weren’t alone. The testimony even rocked — to some extent — the daytime Fox News crew. Bret Baier noted that he has “covered politics a long time” before saying the kind of “jaw-dropping” testimony of a White House in crisis delivered Tuesday had not been on display before the American people “since Watergate.”
      All across the news media, the coverage has been unflinching. The all-caps headline across NYT’s homepage Tuesday night read, “AIDE DETAILS TRUMP’S RAGE ON JAN. 6.” The Drudge Report captured the dramatic testimony with a set of five banner headlines detailing “THE DON’S RAGE.”

      The bar for being taken aback by Donald Trump’s behavior is quite high at this point in time. Much of the press and the public have become desensitized to the former president’s unhinged conduct. It’s difficult to jolt the country with details of his antics. But the surprise Tuesday hearing unquestionably did just that.

        “It was a big deal”

        Don’t simply take it from me. Take it from John Dean. Remember, he said on Monday that the surprise hearing “better be a big deal” and told the lawmakers to “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…”

        What’s next?

        Former acting White House chief of staff turned CBS News political commentator Mick Mulvaney turned to Twitter to offer his thoughts during the hearing. Among them: “Things went very badly for the former President today. My guess is that it will get worse from here.”
        Surely, the committee has more damning revelations that it plans to share. As Chris Wallace noted on CNN, “There are some secrets still out there.” Wallace pointed out that after all the investigative journalism and books that have been written about Trump, the Tuesday hearing proved some shocking details about his behavior that have gone unreported. So what shoe will drop next?

        NYT TV critic’s review

        “For one afternoon, the investigation played like the Watergate hearings as punched up by the writers’ room of ’24,'” NYT TV critic James Poniewozik wrote…
        “Barring further surprises, the committee now takes a midseason hiatus until after the July 4 holiday. It has left its viewers with quite a story to chew on over the break. The price of success, of course, is raising the bar, and it remains to be seen whether the hearings’ final run can pay off the buildup, or whether it can spur actual political or legal action. But this installment? It was a beast.”

        Lowry’s Watergate point

        A quick note about the Jan. 6 hearing comparisons to 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 misses how the world has changed, in ways that both undermine the impact of Hutchinson’s testimony (the sheer volume of available options to distract us) and that magnifies it (real-time social-media commentary, and endless postgame analysis, calling attention to every one of her revelations)…

        How it’s playing 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 bloc of prime time propagandists Rupert Murdoch employs.
        As you would expect, by the time Sean Hannity’s program aired, Fox was firmly back in Trump’s corner. Hannity told his audience that the Tuesday hearing was yet another “meaningless” product of work from the “anti-Trump kangaroo court” working in the “Washington sewer.” Hannity ranted against what he said is “an obsessive compulsive cult-like rage against Donald Trump” from “Trump haters” that “never ends.” And he went on to attack Hutchinson.
        Which is all to say, that if you were under the impression that the hearing was going to play differently in MAGA Media than scandals of the past, it is most certainly not…

        “Facts mean nothing”

          Carl Bernstein on Tuesday night acknowledged that facts simply do not move the modern day GOP. “Facts mean nothing,” he said during a panel on CNN. “Facts have meant nothing for four years of the presidency, for the post-presidency of Donald Trump, and for the campaign of Donald Trump.”
          Bernstein suggested again that the old rules that govern journalism are broken. He said the press needs to “deal with this” in another way and asked, “How do we start to cover this differently?”
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