US networks to air January 6 hearings – but Fox News sticks with Tucker Carlson – The Guardian

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Public hearings by House committee investigating Capitol attack will be broadcast live on all main TV networks except Fox News
The public hearings by the House committee investigation into the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, which start on Thursday, will be broadcast live by all main TV networks and cable channels in America bar one – Fox News.
The historic proceedings kick off at 8pm New York time, and in Watergate style will attract near-blanket live coverage on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and more. By contrast, the most-watched TV news channel, Fox News, will stick with its primetime show, Tucker Carlson Tonight.
The decision pits Carlson’s introductory monologue against the opening remarks of the January 6 committee’s chairman, Bennie Thompson, as the latter outlines how Donald Trump tried to undermine the 2020 election in order to hang on to power. Carlson has used his platform consistently to belittle the investigation and to downplay the significance of the Capitol attack that led to the deaths of seven people and forced the then vice-president, Mike Pence, to flee a violent mob.
On the anniversary of the attacks, Carlson said on air that the insurrection “barely rates as a footnote”. He has championed false conspiracy theories about it, including the claim that the attack was a “false flag” operation spearheaded by federal officials to discredit conservatives.
News coverage of the hearings will be relegated from Fox News to its sister channel, Fox Business Network. As CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out, Fox News is the leading cable news network at prime time with more than 3 million viewers while Fox Business on average attracts fewer than 100,000.
The scheduling is dramatically different to the blanket coverage Fox News gave to the 2014 Benghazi hearings which were staged by the then Republican-controlled House to look into the attack in Libya in which the US ambassador was killed. The channel ran 1,098 primetime segments on Benghazi between the attack in 2012 and the hearings, according to Media Matters for America, with hours of proceedings broadcast live.
Hillary Clinton, who as US secretary of state at the time of the attack was a main target of the Republicans’ Benghazi investigation, caustically remarked on Tuesday: “Fox News won’t air the January 6 hearings because they prefer their sedition made fresh on-site.”
The scheduling plan drew fire from members of the January 6 committee. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republican members of the committee who are participating in the hearings in defiance of their party, accused Fox News of hiding the truth “if it disagrees with your narrative”.
Kinzinger, a representative from Illinois, made a direct appeal to Fox News staff: “If you work for Fox News and want to maintain your credibility as a journalist, now is a good time to speak out, or quit. Enough is enough.”
The relentless efforts of Fox News stars to diminish the significance of January 6 stands in contrast to what some of them said on the day itself. As hundreds of Trump supporters were storming the Capitol building, Laura Ingraham sent a text to the then White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, saying “the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Later that night, Ingraham used her show, The Ingraham Angle, to blame the violence on antifa.
Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the morning show Fox & Friends, and primetime star Sean Hannity, privately made similarly frantic appeals to Meadows as January 6 unfolded.
Fox News’s response to the congressional hearings forms part of wider counter-programming against the proceedings being waged by the right. Top Republicans including the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, are planning aggressive pushback, including a rapid response unit and talking points that describe the proceedings as “rigged”.
Republican leaders and others who remain loyal to Trump are also hoping that “January 6 fatigue” will have set in, and that large sections of the American public will fail to tune in.


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