Stephen Colbert went live after the first night of the House January 6 committee’s primetime hearings, which synthesized existing information and dropped new bombshells about the former president’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. “Prior to these hearings, Republicans tried to claim that tonight was going to be a nothingburger. They were wrong,” the Late Show host said. “It was a juicy double cheeseburger stuffed with burger between two buns made of burger smothered in a zesty burger sauce.
“It was such a juicy burger that even Fox News knew that their viewers would be tempted to take a bite,” he continued, which is why for the first hour of his show, opposite the hearings, Tucker Carlson took no commercial breaks.
“Do you understand what that means? Fox News is willing to lose money to keep their viewers from flipping over and accidentally learning information,” said Colbert. “But I am really not surprised. That’s the first rule of any cult: never leave the compound.”
As for the hearing itself, “it made my heart well with gratitude to see the committee weave [details] together in a compelling case that January 6th was not a spontaneous gathering of vape-fueled neo-knuckleheads that got out of control,” Colbert said. “It was, in fact, an attack premeditated by the president of the United States to prevent the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation’s history.”
Colbert homed in on some highlights from the first evening of testimony, including a clip of Ivanka Trump, in her committee interview, reacting to former attorney general Bill Barr calling her father’s charges of election fraud “total bullshit”.
“I respect attorney general Barr, so I accepted what he was saying,” she said.
“That must have been a bittersweet moment for the president: she finally screwed him,” Colbert joked.
Colbert also looked ahead to more primetime specials, because “after two hours of documentary evidence and testimony, we learned that this insurrectionist conspiracy was, like everything else associated with that last administration, exactly what you thought but worse than you could’ve imagined. ”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers also ripped Fox News for not airing the January 6 committee hearings. “Of course Fox isn’t airing it – they’re a key suspect in it,” he noted. “That would be like if Court TV’s coverage of the OJ trial had been hosted by OJ.
“We already know thanks to the January 6th committee not to take anything Fox hosts say seriously, since behind the scenes they were privately imploring Trump to quell the mob,” he continued. “They knew it was his fault and they knew he had the power to stop it. They won’t say that in public, but they did say it in private.”
As the committee found, numerous Fox hosts texted Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, during the Capitol attack. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, for example, texted: “Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
“First of all, I’m shocked to learn that Brian Kilmeade is capable of texting at all,” Meyers quipped. “I just assumed he does all his communicating from him via tin can attached to a string.”
On a more serious note, “they all knew,” said Meyers. “They were watching the riot on TV, like the rest of us, and they all knew it was bad and that Trump could stop it, just like the rest of us. As you can see from these private texts, they weren’t sitting there thinking ‘this is just a peaceful protest’ or ‘this is all antifa’s fault.’ They knew Trump could stop it if he wanted to.”
And on Full Frontal, Samantha Bee reiterated the drumbeat for stricter gun control laws after mass shootings in Buffalo and at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. “For years we’ve known that we have a gun violence epidemic in this country, but the past few weeks have been almost unbearable,” she said. “And while you might think that all this would finally bring everyone together to do something, you’d be wrong. And honestly, kinda dumb. I mean, come on, this is America.”
A CBS News/YouGov poll found that 44% of Republicans accept mass shootings as part of a free society. “That is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard,” Bee said. “Human lives are not an acceptable cost for a hobby.”
In the short term, lax gun control in the US will probably get worse, as the supreme court could strike down New York state’s ban on a concealed weapon, which could invalidate similar laws in states such as California and New Jersey. “In the worst-case scenario, it could soon be easier for almost anyone to carry a gun in public for self-defense,” Bee explained. “You’d think we’d know this by now, but more guns do not make us safer. There’s a direct correlation between weak gun laws and higher rates of gun deaths. But America’s gun fetishists won’t be satisfied with weakening just this one law.
“It’s hard to be optimistic about the future when half of our elected officials won’t even admit there’s a gun problem,” she added. “And it is excruciating to see the headlines about shootings day after day. But we cannot look away. The people who value guns more than lives want us to get exhausted. To just be relieved that it wasn’t us or our kids who died this time and to move on. They want us to accept mass shooting days as a routine nuisance, like rainy days that you factor into your daily life.
“They want us to forget the Sandy Hook kids, who should be in high school now,” she continued. “To forget the Columbine kids, who should be reaching middle age. And to forget all the chances our leaders have squandered to prevent the countless shootings that have happened since.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism