Friday’s CBS Mornings went all out in reaction to Thursday’s primetime hearing of the House Select Committee on January 6, leading all broadcast network morning news shows with 16 minutes and 30 seconds on the liberal extravaganza and boasting the “historic” and “vital” gathering contained “shocking new evidence,” “harrowing testimony,” and a recognition that America’s still in grave danger.
Co-host Tony Dokoupil made it clear how CBS felt about the partisan committee: “Shocking new evidence and harrowing testimony from the Committee investigating the January 6th attack.”
After the show’s “Eye Opener,” Dokoupil reiterated their stance about the story that should be top of mind for Americans: “Obviously January 6 is the big story today. We’ve got a lot to get to including some important perspective on last night’s historic primetime hearing.”
Fill-in co-host Vladimir Duthiers cued up the first of four segments related to the riot, stating that Thursday provided “the clearest picture yet of what happened on January 6th as laid out in a primetime public hearing on Capitol Hill” even though it “began slowly with detailed statements from the Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee.”
In the lead-off report, congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane (who was hired by CBS after making January 6 his calling card at the D.C.-area NBC station) emphasized the focus was on Trump, the committee’s claim that Trump endorsed the cries of “hang Mike Pence,” and video from past depositions.
MacFarlane acknowledged Republican opposition with weak framing and ignoring the fact that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had rejected those nominated by House Republicans: “House Republicans have largely boycotted this Committee after also voting to block an Independent Commission to investigate January 6th.”
CBS News chief political analyst John Dickerson came next and said Thursday’s retelling from those who were maimed that day and depositions from Trump officials “reaffirm[ed]” that “all of this mayhem” was “unleashed by a lie.”
Asked by CBS Saturday Morning co-host Michelle Miller whether Thursday’s hearing “was enough to shift or change minds in the court of public opinion,” Dickerson conceded it’ll “take more than just one evening to change minds” though it might not.
As for why, Dickerson lazily put Americans into two camps with one being those appalled by Trump (who, therefore, back the committee) and those “who think [Trump] didn’t go far enough.”
Dickerson added that what’s “most vital about” the hearings was that it showed January 6 wasn’t “some event in the past,” but the ongoing threat to the “peaceful transfer of power.”
Dokoupil wrapped by inquiring about whether Dickerson agrees with a statement from Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) that the hearings “will change history.” Dickerson replied that they already have while throwing in a false claim about attacks on the Capitol (see 1954 and 1971) (click “expand”):
DOKOUPIL: John, on that question of the present and the future, you’re right, we won’t know where the public was and where they go after seeing this. But if we can take the longer view, you’re a historian of the presidency, I’m struck by Adam Kinzinger — Representative Adam Kinzinger’s comment that the hearing will change history. Do you think you’ve seen enough to say that that’s true?
DICKERSON: Well, history has been changed already because this happened. This is the first attack on the Capitol since 1814. We’ve looked — we’re learning new historical things like a Vice President had to step in where a President wouldn’t and I think one of the key things is understanding the central role the President played. One of the things that was a part of the testimony is, it’s not just about January 6th. When the election was decided President Trump tried everything possible to overturn the free and fair election. As testimony showed, former Attorney General Barr said, we can’t live in a world where someone seizes power on no basis. I mean, that’s a fundamental shot at the central tenant of American democracy. If you lose an election, you don’t get to just say, “no, I won,” and then use power to stay in office. That’s exactly what the founders created the American government to push against. So it is — whether people see it in those historical terms or not, it is nevertheless, in those historical terms that we saw that testimony and that this story sits.
Also in the first hour, Dokoupil had a 30-second news brief covering the arrest of Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelly (R) for alleged actions in Washington on the day of the riot.
CBS opened its second hour with Kinzinger as it continues his years-long crusade to acquire a TV contract. After a softball open by Dokoupil wondering “what was the Committee trying to get done” and whether “they accomplish[ed] it.”
Dokoupil then asked what should be done with in speaking to the “something like 21 million Americans” according to the University of Chicago who “don’t believe President Biden is a legitimately elected President — and this is a key thing — support the idea of violence in removing him”
Kinzinger replied that, while he’s unsure about them, it’s necessary that “the vast majority of Americans understand that the country is at threat” and not standing with him will mean “history” won’t look kindly at you.
Duthiers kept up the softballs with a question about “what...conclusions” should be “drawn on” from former Trump officials saying in depositions that the election wasn’t stolen even though “many people in the Republican Party...continue...to suggest that there was fraud.”
Miller — who’s husband is far-left activist Marc Morial — closed the interview by wondering if Trump will face criminal charges. In Kinzinger’s answer, take note of how he said the issue of hearings are worth fighting for so that his infant son doesn’t learn any lies in history class about what happened on that awful day (click “expand”):
MILLER: Congressman, Michelle, here. I have to ask to that point, exactly. What is going to be done about it? Obviously, Congress cannot charge Donald Trump, as you say, the man who attempted a coup, but DOJ can, and so do you see that happening?
KINZINGER: I really hope so, if they can look at this and say that meets our threshold of evidence. Look, we have to be very careful and very clear. We’re not a criminal committee. We’re investigating the facts. But if DOJ looks at what we’re doing, and said that reaches a threshold to charge, I think they should and I think that’s what I hope they at least look at. But the bottom line of this is, regardless of how many people’s minds turn today or tomorrow. This is something where you know I have a five-month-old boy now, his name is Christian. I want Christian when he’s in high school to learn the truth about January 6th. And as of today, that’s still up in the air because there’s a lot of conspiracy theories out there that say it was the FBI or say it Antifa or God forbid. I mean, I was watching last night that video again as the hearing was going on and I remember a Member of Congress saying this was nothing more than a tourist visit. I just shook my head when I thought of that. It was amazing.
MILLER: You said it best[.]
CBS’s cheerleading of the January 6 hearings as paramount (pun intended) to American lives was brought to you by advertisers such as Febreze and Progressive. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant CBS transcript from June 10, click here.