When Rep. Bennie Thompson ordered the hearing, Fox’s Tucker Carlson ignored him. Carlson explained that the “ruling class” had “yet another lecture on January 6th.” He called the hearing “propaganda” and welcomed Fox’s decision not to televise it. He said: “They are lying and we will not help them.”
Carlson then lied to himself: He said “if anything noteworthy happens” at the hearing, “of course we’ll bring it to you right away.” But his show didn’t do that.
When Thompson said January 6 was “the culmination of an attempted coup,” Carlson questioned why the news media even cared. He barely mentioned Donald Trump, but he questioned why other networks are committing “collusion” with the House of Representatives by televising the hearing. His guest Jason Whitlock said, “Because the Democrats and the Left are desperate.”
When Rep. Liz Cheney first revealed many of the committee’s findings, Carlson said everyone knows America “could face some real problems very soon.” indicated that Congress should not waste its time with the 1/6 investigation; and called Thompson and Cheney “crazy guys.”
Carlson sounded like an amateur magician trying to distract kids when a performance falls apart: “Look here, not there.” He said, “Gas is over five dollars. Inflation is higher than when most Americans were alive. Violent crime makes it impossible to live in cities, and more than a hundred thousand Americans used drugs last year. Why not? Is there prime time to hear about it?”
Fox ignored his own role
When Cheney read a Jan. 7, 2021 text exchange between Fox stars Sean Hannity and Kayleigh McEnany in which Hannity called for “no more crazy people” and “no more stolen campaign calls,” Carlson showed the live coverage on other networks and did make fun of these networks. He didn’t mention anything about the lyrics.
Newsmax, Fox’s right-wing rival, did indeed show most of Cheney’s remarks, but was cut away for analysis by pro-Trump commentators. The network’s banners also promoted Trump’s talking points and sometimes Newsmax’s own app.
As the video ended, Newsmax’s Rob Schmitt said: “We’ve seen a lot worse in the summer of 2020, spurred by comments from across the aisle that have burned down major cities in this country. Where is the hearing on this? Well they don’t have that hearing because they don’t care about your life where you live.”
Sean Hannity took over Fox, but nothing changed. Hannity said the hearing — still ongoing — was “the most boring, boring” Democratic “fundraiser.” He didn’t play a word Cheney said. He instead focused on security flaws, blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosis.
When the committee swore in its witnesses, Fox’s banners called the hearing a “SHAM” and an “ANTI-TRUMP SHOW PROCESS.”
By the time the hearing ended and analysts from the other networks took in the enormity of what was being presented, the pro-Trump media narrative was already baked. At Newsmax, Schmitt dismissed it as a “completely one-sided hearing about something that happened a year and a half ago.” On Fox, the banner for Laura Ingraham’s 10 p.m. show read “6. JAN. COMMITTEE FLOPS IN PRIMETIME”.
“Do not get me wrong…”
Why is right-wing media opposition important? Because it ensures that the country stays on two completely different information channels.
Made for TV?
OLIVER DARCY WRITES:
We all heard that this would be a televised hearing, a presentation aimed at catching the public’s attention in a way that regular Capitol Hill events just don’t. In particular, we’ve heard that the 1/6 committee has been consulting with James Goldston to help with production. The NYT teased that Goldston was hired to “produce the hearings as if they were a must-see docudrama or miniseries.”
But in reality, the hearing didn’t feel like a “docudrama” or a “must-watch miniseries.” Not even close. Instead, it mostly used the style of a standard, run-of-the-mill Capitol Hill hearing. Yes, there was also a haunting video pack showing the raw violence of that day. But this video, the only real detour from the typical audio format, covered only a fraction of the two-hour affair.