Analysis: Liz Cheney says “people need to look at the January 6 hearings” but right-wing media say the opposite

Tucker Carlson says the House special committee investigating the Jan. 6 coup plot is a “completely illegitimate committee.” Laura Ingraham revels in poking fun at this week’s “big primetime extravaganza.” Maria Bartiromo worries about suspects in the riot who are still behind bars. Donald Trump calls the whole thing “a lot of crap”.

That is the reality of the information environment going into Thursday’s prime-time hearing. As a bipartisan committee of lawmakers attempts to present the public with the full story of 1/6, a media universe full of Trump allies attempts the opposite.

It’s not just that Republican-leaning media downplays the work of the 1/6 Committee or is skeptical about the process, although both are true. It is that the GOP’s biggest stars are calling the investigation “illegitimate” and screaming that they don’t care and making fun of people who care, instead promoting conspiracy theories about the insurgency. They declined the hearings before the hearings begin.

This must be taken into account in the reporting. Because like Tucker “Patriot Purge” Carlson is, so is the GOP. I’m not suggesting the hearings are irrelevant — I’m saying they matter, and because they matter, pro-Trump media outlets attack, and that’s a big part of the story.

For example: will Fox News even show Thursday’s prime-time hearing in its entirety? Fox continues to decline comment, but it’s hard to imagine Carlson giving up his airtime for a hearing he describes as “illegitimate.”

I searched cable news for references to the “6th January” and found more than 800 mentions on MSNBC so far this year, versus only about 144 on Newsmax. And many of those comments on Newsmax were either anti-riot or sympathetic to the accused rioters.

So the result is another American information split – or maybe another tripartite split, with politically engaged viewers on either side and uninterested people in between.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to move the needle,” said Michael Fanone, a former DC city police officer who was dragged and beaten that day. said Jim Acosta on Sunday. “I think most people in this country are indifferent to what happened on January 6th and everyone else is pretty much on their side of the political aisle.”
>> Yes, political scientist Brendan Nyhan said Sunday how the 1/6 committee results are presented to the public “is a bit on the sideline”. But there are “MANY unrealistic hopes now being pinned on stage technology”. He said the committee is “struggling uphill against structural factors that favor Republicans” as well as a “media desire for new revelations and drama that is unlikely to be forthcoming…”.

Another challenge: Short attention spans

“When the committee holds the first of a series of public hearings during prime time Thursday,” wrote EJ Dionne Jr. in this WaPo column, “its members will be uphill fighting the short attention spans of our political and media systems. She will also fight against a concerted diversionary campaign by Trump’s supporters and the vast majority of Republican politicians – regardless of their true view of Trump – to make the threat to our democracy disappear as a public issue…”

Woodward & Bernstein view

The iconic reporter duo joined me on Sunday on Reliable Sources for a feature on the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. They spoke of the “bond” they have shared for decades, rife with discussion and disagreement. Then we turned to 1/6. “Carl and I and our endless discussions agree … there is a wealth of overwhelming evidence that this was a criminal conspiracy to undermine a legitimate function of government,” Woodward said.
>> The two men write about this in a new foreword to “All The President’s Men”. It was published by the Post on Sunday…

>> “What happened on January 6th? POTUS, his attorneys, his “aides” were trying to “prevent” the election, Bernstein said. They attempted to “stage a coup d’etat so that Joe Biden cannot become the duly elected and installed President”. He said: “I think there’s a misunderstanding about the enormity and the actual timeline of what happened…”

Costa’s question to Cheney

Robert Costa, co-author of Woodward’s “Peril,” interviewed 1/6 committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney for an opener on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

He asked, “Are you confident that what you found as a committee is going to kind of grab the American people by the lapel and say, ‘Wake up: you gotta watch out’?”

“That’s me,” she said… “The threat, and it’s an ongoing threat — you know, we’re not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any sense of remorse for what happened.” has brought. In fact, we are in a situation where, frankly, he is using even more extreme language than the language that caused the attack. So people have to be careful, people have to watch, and they have to understand how easily our democratic system can collapse if we don’t defend it.”

Fair – but “People must watch” doesn’t anticipate that many Americans will not only not watch, but also proudly flaunt their disinterest as part of their political identity.

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