Watching the conclusion of the Trump hush money trial on Fox News and CNN was like experiencing the event on two separate planets. On one planet, the American judicial system had descended into a banana republic; on another, a local district attorney with a rocky history had landed a solid counterpunch.

These dueling media ecosystems are going to play an enormous role in how the country deals with the first former president to be convicted as a felon. 

Those two competing views played out on Capital Tonight on Friday when we invited a Republican and a Democrat to join us with their take on the case.

“What we see having occurred is, sort of, a perversion of our legal system. Go try to find another district attorney in America to bring that charge,” said Dave Catalfamo, former aid to Gov. George Pataki, and president of Capital Public Strategies Media. “Actually, I challenge people to even describe the charge in ways that our viewers can understand.”

Democrat Jack O’Donnell, managing director at O’Donnell Solutions, had a very different take.

“Dave can say what he wants about this being that the fix was in, but you know, I was actually surprised that it was guilty on all charges,” O’Donnell said. “I think the DA did a good job and his staff did a really good job explaining this to people who watched the whole thing.”

The two political analysts also had different takes on the political implications of the ruling. 

“Alvin Bragg and his crew in New York did what Donald Trump couldn’t do. Did what no politician in America could do. He basically consolidated the Republican Party,” Catalfamo said. 

But O’Donnell believes that down-ballot Republicans may be in for a rude awakening.

“I think the college-educated, suburban moms who Donald Trump has lost, who voted for Republicans for the House two years ago, might be having second thoughts today,” he said.