It’s worse than that. Not carrying the hearing but covering other news instead would be defensible, depending upon how salient the other news was. Although it’s not every day you get a primetime congressional inquiry into a coup attempt ring-led by a former and possibly future president.
The latest caravan news can probably wait a few hours when stacked up against that.
What Fox is going to do is air their usual primetime line-up of Tucker, Hannity, and Ingraham instead, knowing that those three will do what they can to minimize and discredit the hearing despite not knowing what testimony will be produced. They’re going to let the guy responsible for “Patriot Purge”…
It appears that @FoxNews is giving @TuckerCarlson a platform to spread the same type of lies that provoked violence on January 6. As @FoxNews knows, the election wasn’t stolen and January 6 was not a “false flag” operation. @rupertmurdoch @jayawallace @Suzannescott @SpeakerRyan https://t.co/ODKZFVUFBa
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) October 28, 2021
…make stinkfaces at the camera for an hour about what’s going on at the hearing. Or maybe he and the other two will simply ignore it altogether as a way of signaling to the Fox faithful that to even consider the evidence produced is an act of high treason against Trump.
The network isn’t refusing to cover the hearing, in other words. They’re counterprogramming it.
Liz Cheney was asked about Fox News’s decision not to air it live, the only major news network not to do so. All of the broadcast channels as well as CNN and MSNBC plan to carry it. She’s not surprised:
“What we’ve found in the committee’s work is very clearly a sophisticated effort overseen by former President Trump to attempt to overturn the results of the election, and that kind of threat to the function of our democratic process is really grave and threatens to undermine the very foundations of our country,” she told the Star-Tribune.
The hearings will be aired in prime time. Most networks and cable news channels will carry the event, but not Fox News.
“It’s really indicative of where Fox News is these days,” Cheney said. “I think it does a real disservice to its viewers.”
All partisan news outlets have a dual agenda, one to serve the public interest by telling the truth and the other to serve their party’s interest by promoting its perspective. Sometimes those interests coincide, other times they diverge and the outlet is forced to choose which to prioritize. Fox has made its choice.
And in fairness, it *would* seem a little ridiculous for the network to suddenly start paying attention to the January 6 committee now. According to WaPo’s analysis, they’ve underplayed or ignored the most interesting news to emerge from the investigation in recent months. And they’re currently being sued by Dominion voting systems for defamation for some of the rigged-election conspiracy claims that aired during the network’s coverage of the post-election period. Imagine the vertigo Fox viewers would experience if the Fox News team suddenly started taking the committee seriously.
The Guardian has a sneak preview of tomorrow night’s schedule. The committee’s going to start by building the case that, for the most dangerous actors outside the Capitol that day, the riot wasn’t a spontaneous act of frustration that got out of hand. It was planned.
The select committee is expected to start the questioning with testimony from Nick Quested, a British documentary film-maker who was embedded with the far-right Proud Boys group in the days and weeks leading up to January 6 and caught their activities on camera.
Quested, appearing pursuant to a subpoena, is likely to deliver his own opening remarks and testify about how the Proud Boys planned their January 6 operation in detail in the weeks before the Capitol attack, narrating and analysing the footage that he recorded…
The select committee is then expected to focus on the moment that Joseph Biggs, a member of the Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy on Monday, had a brief exchange with a man in the crowd near the statue just before the march morphed into the Capitol attack.
Biggs’ exchange with that man, Ryan Samsel, is widely seen as the tipping point that precipitated the riot. Samsel, who has been charged with attacking police, then walks up alone to the barricade and confronts US Capitol Police officers before pushing it over.
The MAGA contingent in Congress is also scrambling to counterprogram the hearing. Here’s what they’ve got right now:
Some stunning new Jan. 6 trutherism from Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), who is leading a GOP probe of security failures related to the Capitol attack. He told CNN’s @MZanona: “I think the Capitol Police didn’t have the National Guard here because maybe they just wanted it to happen.”
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) June 8, 2022
The Capitol Police wanted thousands of MAGA fanatics to push through the barricades and beat them with flagpoles?
Nehls was one of Kevin McCarthy’s five selections to the January 6 committee, all of which were withdrawn after Pelosi blocked two of them from being seated. “Nehls’ repulsive trutherism — ‘[the Capitol Police] maybe just wanted it to happen’ — is a good indicator of the level of seriousness McCarthy’s hand-picked members would have brought to the committee’s work,” says a Twitter pal.
The saddest thing about Fox News not covering the hearing live is that they’re forcing the most respected members of their news team to cover it instead for Fox Business, which gets a tiny fraction of the big network’s audience in primetime. Imagine the look on the faces of Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum when they were told that Fox viewers need to be able to see Tucker laugh theatrically at the proceedings for an hour so they’ll have to do their in-depth analysis of a plot to overturn a national election on a channel practically no one will be watching.
Exit quotation from Michael Fanone, one of the D.C. cops who was beaten nearly to death at the Capitol while participating in the alleged great police conspiracy to let MAGA fans attack them: “Unfortunately, I don’t believe that [the hearing is] going to move the needle. I think most of the people in this country are indifferent towards what happened on January 6, and everyone else is pretty well encamped in their side of the political aisle.”