Today's Jan. 6 hearing: What time and where you can watch live — and one place you can't
If you’re still saying there’s nothing interesting coming out of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, you’re just not even trying anymore.
Like so many other things in life, watching TV has become a partisan exercise, at least in this case. Defenders of Donald Trump grouse that it’s all a big showy nothing.
The hearings have been gripping television, the history of an attempt to overthrow democratic institutions told in episode form. The committee got some flak before the hearings began for orchestrating the whole thing like a TV show.
It’s good that they did.
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What time is the next Jan. 6 hearing?
The next hearing — and for now, at least, the last — is scheduled for 5 p.m. Arizona time on Thursday, July 21.
Broadcast and cable-news networks are expected to cover the hearings live, with the exception of Fox News; live coverage will once again be shunted off to Fox Business, as with the previous prime-time hearing.
Reports say this one will focus on Trump’s actions — and inactions — during the attack on the Capitol. Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee and, if we’re going to make the TV comparisons, its lead character, said at the end of the July 12 hearing that Trump personally reached out in the last two weeks to a witness and that the committee contacted the Justice Department about it.
(Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, was by far the most compelling guest star.)
In case you were wondering what Cheney was intimating, she next said, “Let me say one more time, we will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously.”
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Why the Jan. 6 hearings are powerful TV
Sometimes the committee recaps what’s gone on in previous hearings — again, like an episodic TV show. Other times its members will tease upcoming episodes, er, hearings. Cheney in particular has proved skilled at dropping little bombs at the end of hearings, making sure your interest doesn’t wane.
It’s effective. The committee has taken more the HBO Max approach — one episode at a time, allowing interest and water-cooler conversation to build — as opposed to Netflix, which typically unloads an entire season in one fell swoop. (Yes, the last two episodes of Season 4 of “Stranger Things” were held back a few weeks. That’s the exception, not the rule.)
All of these TV comparisons are not meant to belittle the importance of the hearings and what they have revealed. But TV is a powerful medium and, as Cheney’s tampering revelation shows, it retains the power to surprise in an age when it seems not much can.
There is also just the enormity of it all. In that regard you wish this were a fictional drama, in particular when you hear how close Trump’s plans came to succeeding. And yet this is real life — and it’s not as much a drama as it is a horror story.
It’s also history. People who remember them still talk about the Watergate hearings in the summer of 1973. Obviously they made an impression. But that was an enormously different media landscape.
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There is no more important TV than these hearings
What’s going on now is bigger, and scarier. When you start throwing words like “civil war” around, it’s terrifying. And it’s covered in different ways by different networks. We’re not a three-network world anymore. We’re a nonstop information-overload society; the news of the moment bombards us relentlessly, on platforms never dreamed of when Watergate played out.
Sometimes that’s unhealthy. Sometimes it’s just kind of unpleasant. And sometimes it’s necessary. This is one of those times. If you’re doing a roundup of the best shows of summer, maybe you’ll find “The Bear” or “Stranger Things” or “Dark Winds” on the list.
But you won’t find anything as compelling, as harrowing or as important as the Jan. 6 hearings have been — and will continue to be as their impact plays out over the coming weeks and months.
So tune in to the last hearing? Um, yeah. Because you can’t tune it out.
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How to watch the next Jan. 6 hearing
The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection next meets at 5 p.m. Arizona time on Thursday, July 21. Most networks are expected to cover it; Fox News will not.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Jan. 6 hearing: What time it starts, how to watch live, why you should