Brian Stelter Attempts to Reframe the January 6 Hearing but Only Manages to Expose the Sham

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

In giving his reinterpretation of the J-6 hearing, Stelter’s desperation displays the true goal. 

There has been a dawning coming over the media landscape regarding the preening variety show that is the January 6 Committee hearing, one that the press does not want to admit outwardly. With each televised show concluding, the interest is waning and the reality that they have little of substance is becoming entrenched. All we have been shown is a repeat of prior findings, and edited-for-television clips defying trial standards for evidence, with claims being insisted but proof lacking.

Following each performance, there has been less press interest, with those true believers who are remaining becoming more shrill with their intent. Enter Brian Stelter, one of the more ardent supporters on the most ardent network for this comedy festival. CNN has been an ally of the J-6C from the start and has been the conduit for leaks all along. This February, when deposed CEO Jeff Zucker was dispatched, CNN’s main connection to the Congressional group, Jamie Gangel, detailed how various members on the committee were dismayed.

“Gangel said she received calls from four members of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol ‘who felt devastated for our democracy’ now that Zucker has exited CNN.”

The network has remained on course, highlighting and amplifying the committee’s work, and now Brian Stelter is doing some overtime, trying to preserve their implied relevancy. Prior to the initial primetime hearing, Brian was in full condemnation that Fox News was not participating with the other networks. Yet, by this Thursday, we saw other outlets straying from their dedication. Many PBS stations opted to run kids programming that afternoon, and NBC blatantly cut away to the US Open golf tournament.

There was no bleating from Mr. Stelter over these decisions, a silence made more pronounced by the fact that Fox ran the last two hearings in their entirety.

Then yesterday, CNN’s media maven attempted some cleanup duty on behalf of the committee. As it is becoming clearer there is little in the way of persuasive evidence being delivered, Stelter turned to a severe dose of reframing, in an effort to save the relevancy of these hearings.

This is a hearing ostensibly looking into the events of January 6, and the cause of the riot. But here is Stelter suggesting that is all possibly secondary. “It may be the least important aspect,” he says incredibly. This is nothing short of desperation. For him to suggest that the very charged duty of this hearing is a secondary concern reveals the failure of that mission statement. He starts listing off stories of recent election results in New Mexico being challenged, which have no bearing on an investigation into actions from over a year ago. 

One telling detail is seen in the floating headlines displayed during his monologue. Your Grandkids Will Care About the Jan. 6 Hearings Even if You Don’t. This tacit admission that people are not consumed by the performance of the hearing explains plenty. Over a year has been spent hyping the import of the riot, and this committee has been lovingly covered by his network; facing a growing tide of public apathy means he must recast things to save face and justify all the coverage.

APTOPIX Capitol Riot Investigation
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

With complete obliviousness, Stelter then quotes the newly installed New York Times executive editor, Joe Kahn, saying “You can’t have independent journalism in a non-free society.” The use of independent is amusing here, as Stelter and CNN have been obligingly working on behalf of the committee and the Democrats, absent anything approaching perspective. Instead of stepping back and seeing the lack of impact, and exploring why that is the case, Brian opts to work the spin machine. 

As networks wander from the hearings, he remains silent, and the mounting reality that there are few substantive findings is now being reinterpreted. Now it is less about finding the truth than leveraging future influence. This exposes the intent of this committee from the start. It is not a Congressional investigation looking for evidence; it is a partisan fishing expedition with an eye on the midterms and the 2024 general elections. 

People are coming to this realization, and pitchman Stelter is now trying a new advertising campaign, as they drift away from the broadcasts. There now is a need to repackage what is being sold — because it is not being bought by the general public.