The opening hearing from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol made clear why Fox News broke from every other major news network by refusing to air the prime time hearing.
It was so the network can continue to mislead its viewers about what happened on Jan. 6, 2021.
ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC aired the full two-hour hearing live. Fox News did not, pushing its anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum over to Fox Business, while its opinion hosts ran counter-programming laden with false claims and conspiracy theories about the riot.
The hearing kicked off at 8 p.m., at the start of Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. Carlson continued to downplay the bloody riot on his show, as he has done for more than a year, calling it “a forgettably minor outbreak” of violence and “not even close to an insurrection.”
Darren Beattie, a former Trump administration staffer who has spread conspiracy theories about Jan. 6, appeared on Carlson’s show to claim “the feds” were involved in the attack.
“It’s a clear hoax,” Beattie said. “We know what’s happened, but there’s unfinished business and we need to expose the feds for what they’ve done.”
Meanwhile, the committee aired footage showing the extent of the violence that day. A horde of Trump supporters beating police with pipes and bats, overwhelming them and eventually breaking into the Capitol. Footage showed staffers in Kevin McCarthy’s office fleeing. A rioter read out Trump’s tweet attacking Vice President Mike Pence over a megaphone to a crowd, which responded by chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was knocked unconscious while being trampled by rioters, described the scene as a “war zone”:
It was something like I had seen out of the movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground, they they were bleeding, they were throwing up, they were, they had, I mean I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in peoples blood. I was catching people, as they fell, I was — it was carnage. It was chaos.
Edwards also described Officer Brian Sicknick, who died the day after the attack, as looking “ghostly pale” after being pepper-sprayed by the mob.
Of course, Fox News wasn’t going to air that. It would lay waste to much of their commentary over the last year pretending the riot didn’t happen.
Fox News hosts were also directly named in the hearings. Texts between Sean Hannity and Kayleigh McEnany (then-press secretary, now Fox News host) showed even opinion voices at the network were well aware of how bad the riot truly was.
“No more stolen election talk,” Hannity texted McEnany on Jan. 7. “Yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real, and many people will quit.”
McEnany replied: “Love that. Thank you. That is the playbook. I will help reinforce.”
Committee leader Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) argued the texts proved that officials in the Trump White House were aware the president was not telling the truth about the election, and that those lies fueled the riot.
“The White House staff knew that President Trump was willing to entertain and use conspiracy theories to achieve his ends,” Cheney said. “They knew the president needed to be cut off from all of those who had encouraged him. They knew that President Donald Trump was too dangerous to be left alone.”
On his show, Hannity concluded of the hearings: “The one person that looks good is Donald Trump.” The same Trump who was alleged to have said on Jan. 6 that Pence “deserves” to be hanged. The same Trump who tried to stay in power despite losing an election and being repeatedly told by his own officials that he lost that election.
Fox News prime time will undoubtedly continue to ignore the hearings at best, and spread false information about the attack at worst.
It’s self-preservation: On Monday, former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt, who was fired for scoffing at Trump’s claims of a stolen election and has since argued the network is responsible for fueling the riot, will testify.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.