Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Brian Kilmeade pleaded with Mark Meadows to get Donald Trump to condemn the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. But their on-air message was dramatically different.
Fox News is not reporting on text messages sent by several of the network's most prominent hosts to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows urging then-President Donald Trump to condemn the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol.
The details of the text exchanges were revealed in a congressional hearing on Monday night by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). After Cheney read the details of the texts into the congressional record, Fox News has avoided mentioning the information, even as it was widely reported across other prominent media outlets.
Fox News' prime-time programs that followed reports of the texts — including "Hannity," "Tucker Carlson Tonight," and the "Ingraham Angle" — did not mention them. And on Tuesday, the story was ignored by Fox's flagship morning news program "Fox & Friends."
Notably, the text exchanges were not disclosed to Fox News viewers even as host Sean Hannity interviewed Meadows and discussed the decision by the Jan. 6 congressional committee to refer Meadows to the Department of Justice for contempt of Congress. Nor were the texts mentioned in a FoxNews.com report on the Meadows referral.
According to the texts revealed by Cheney on Monday night, Hannity wrote to Meadows on Jan. 6, "Can he make a statement asking people to leave the Capitol?"
Fox host Laura Ingraham wrote to Meadows that day, "Mark, the president needs to tell the people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy."
"Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade said in a Jan. 6 text to Meadows, "Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished."
Trump never did condemn the attack. Three hours after the attack, he released a video telling the attackers, "Go home. We love you. You're very special." A few hours later, he tweeted, "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."
Trump was later impeached in the House of Representatives, for the second time, for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 attacks.
In the same time frame that Fox hosts were texting Trump's team to respond to the attack, they were also in the process of working to deflect the blame for the attack.
On the Jan. 6 broadcast of her show, Ingraham told viewers, "Earlier today the Capitol was under siege by people who can only be described as antithetical to the MAGA movement," incorrectly claiming, "They were likely not all Trump supporters, and there are some reports that antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd."
On his radio show on the same day, Sean Hannity alleged, "Then we had the reports that groups like antifa, other radical groups — I don't know the names of all of them — that they were there to cause trouble."
Since then, hosts like Tucker Carlson have promoted the conspiracy theory that the FBI was behind the Capitol attacks.
In congressional testimony since the attack, FBI Director Christopher Wray has debunked the allegation that the attackers were affiliated with antifa or any other such movement.
"We have not to date seen any evidence of any anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with the 6th," Wray testified on March 2.
More than 600 people have been arrested in relation to the Capitol attack, many of whom have clearly identified themselves as supporters of Donald Trump whose goal was to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory over Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.