NEW YORK (AP) — By the numbers, the January 6 panel hearings drew 20 million live viewers on opening night, 11 million for the first daytime session and nearly 9 million for the third installment of Thursday.
However, these traditional criteria of the Nielsen society do not begin to measure the true scope of what is said there.
Memorable moments from every audience are sliced up for quick consumption on countless news programs, comedy shows and online, to the point that some have been seen more times later than when they were live.
In many ways, this is the first congressional hearing in memory that seems specifically designed for the needs of modern media, said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York and a frequent media blogger.
“It has worked before,” he said.
While it’s impossible to know what – if anything – covered in the early stages of the hearing will stick around much beyond the news of the week, there are already breakout moments and characters.
GIULIANI AND ALCOHOL
Receiving Wide Distribution: Excerpts where President Donald Trump’s former political director, Bill Stepien, assistant Jason Miller and committee member Liz Cheney says that attorney Rudy Giuliani drank too much before advising Trump on election night 2020.
Hours after the allegation, the clips were featured in the top-rated late-night comic monologues Stephane Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel. The shows are typically seen by a combined audience of almost 5 million people each evening, with many more people watching online the following morning. Kimmel accompanied him with a film about when Giuliani acted bizarrely in defense of Trump.
The episode resonated in part because it was a connectable moment in an otherwise very serious story, said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.
“Having people who are major figures in a national political setting accused of being wasted is something that people may find immediately understandable,” Thompson said.
Recorded testimony from former Attorney General William Barr that he found Trump “detached from reality” with some of his claims about voter fraud was the source of several reports from Monday’s hearing. It was a vivid and disturbing image from a former president of the man who ran Trump’s Justice Department.
ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all featured the clip of Barr’s commentary, and together the three programs typically reach more than 20 million viewers — double the number of people who have saw the audience live.
There is no count of how many times it was repeated on cable news, nor an estimate of how many people saw it that way.
Two anecdotal examples illustrate how widely it has been viewed online. A clip of the moment posted by Reuters on Facebook has been viewed 928,000 times, and the clip posted on The New York Times Instagram account has been viewed 404,000 times.
DAUGHTER AND SON IN SON
The filmed testimony of Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner was particularly powerful, largely simply because they come from the family of a man who values loyalty.
A clip of Ivanka Trump saying she Barr confidence rating fraud allegations garnered more than 1.6 million views in an Instagram post by The Shade Room, a media outlet that focuses on celebrity entertainment, and 1 million when Bloomberg shared it on Twitter. Twitter posts of the video uploaded by MSNBC and the committee itself got more than 900,000 views together.
A video of her remember a phone call his dad doing to Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021 aired on each of the three Thursday evening newscasts, sometimes accompanied by colorful descriptions of his language.
by Kushner stop response when asked what he told his stepfather about Giuliani — as if weighing in real time what it meant to be under oath — became joke material.
Previously little-known former White House attorney Eric Herschmann rose to stardom last week for his filmed testimony regarding his conversations with John Eastman, architect of Trump’s failed maneuvers to retain power.
Editing his own colorful language, Herschmann remembers saying “are you crazy?” when Eastman speaks the day after the Capitol riot about a potential Georgia election results call. Like a stern parent, he tells Eastman the only words he wants to hear from him are “orderly transition” and advises him to “get a great criminal defense attorney”. You are going to need it.
Acknowledging the testimony’s potential impact, Cheney posted it to Twitter the day before it was featured prominently at the hearing, giving it extra attention. It also served to highlight the committee’s finding that Eastman had unsuccessfully sought a presidential pardon.
Politico even reported on the art hanging on the wall behind Herschmann during his testimony.
Cheney’s briefing on the committee’s case, in prosecutorial style, at the top of his only prime-time hearing, drew widespread attention, as well as some tips that can live longer than his political career.
“Tonight I say this to our fellow Republicans who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain,” she said.
The Associated Press tweet with a video of Cheney making the remark has been viewed more than a million times.
Someday, depending on how history views the events of January 6, 2021, it might end with the most remembered moment, such as when it was revealed during the Watergate hearings that John Dean warned Richard Nixon of a “cancer in the presidency”. said Thompson.
“I see that as the classic quote,” Thompson said.
Associated Press correspondent Arijeta Lajka in New York contributed to this report.
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