50+ lies and conspiracy theories Fox News has spread about elections & January 6 in 2023

Recent releases of court interviews and private messages show Fox hosts said they never believed the 2020 election lies they spread

Tucker Carlson showing an image of the U.S. Capitol building

Update (4/19/23): This piece has been updated with additional examples and context.

Although documents released during Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against the network show various high-level Fox News personnel admitting under oath, and in private text messages and emails, that they never believed the lies and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election that their network spread, the network has continued pushing lies and baseless theories about American elections and the January 6 insurrection. A Media Matters review revealed at least 64 such instances so far in 2023 alone.

Two February filings in Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News, which Fox settled on April 18 for $787.5 million, revealed that the network knew it was pushing lies to its viewers in the aftermath of the 2020 election by suggesting that Dominion’s voting machines were involved in widespread election fraud. The filings show Fox stars Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity discussing that former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell is “lying” and “nuts,” with producers describing her lies as “bs.” Additionally, Hannity testified under oath that he “did not believe” Powell’s election lies “for one second,” even as he hosted her to push those lies to his audience.

Yet these same Fox stars are among the shameless liars at Fox who in early 2023 have pushed other election-related lies and baseless claims, or allowed their guests to do the same, dozens of times. 

One of the various lies and conspiracy theories spread on Fox News’ airwaves this year is the baseless allegation of “election interference” by Twitter, the FBI, and the Department of Justice by citing the December 2022 release of the lackluster “Twitter Files” about the social media company’s decision to temporarily block a story about Hunter Biden. 

Network personalities are also downplaying the violence of the January 6, 2021, pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which ultimately resulted in nine deaths and about 150 injured police officers who were attacked by the insurrectionists.

Fox has also spread other claims that sow distrust in election results.

Here are the more than 60 election and insurrection lies and baseless theories spread by Fox so far in 2023

  • Independent Women’s Forum senior fellow Gayle Trotter whitewashed Trump’s failed coup attempt: “The criticism of the media in this circumstance is that there's a double standard. So Trump is not allowed to grouse about the results of the 2020 election, but obviously Hillary Clinton, Stacy Abrams, if you want to look back really far, Al Gore, were able to complain about the results of their elections and Trump, you know, did not complain that Biden was elected with the help of the Russians, and that Biden is Putin's puppet.” [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 1/1/23]

  • Fox host Jeanine Pirro: “What we saw as a result of Elon Musk exposing what was going on Twitter was that there was … suppression not only of free speech, but suppression in one direction so that there would be an election impacted in one particular way and not both ways.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/2/23]

  • Carlson: “The FBI is now a bigger force in American elections than any single group of voters.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/3/23]

  • Trump Media executive and former Republican member of Congress Devin Nunes: “It's very clear” that the FBI interfered in elections starting with the Obama administration. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/4/23]

  • Carlson on the January 6 insurrectionists: “The DOJ has been allowed to prosecute and jail hundreds of nonviolent political protesters whose crime was having the wrong opinions.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/6/23]

  • Senior fellow at the Hoover Institution Victor Davis Hanson called for more regulation of social media companies, referencing “the idea that Facebook and Twitter, the old Twitter, and Google and Apple can control elections and can censor free expression without impunity.” [Fox News, Unfiltered with Dan Bongino, 1/7/23]

  • Fox host Mark Levin to Rep. James Comer (R-KY): “Who is going to be looking at this January 6 committee and all the information they gathered and the fact that despite all the information they gathered, they gathered nothing on Nancy Pelosi and them turning down National Guard that was offered to them by President Trump and all the rest.” [Fox News, Life, Liberty, Levin, 1/8/23]

  • Fox host Jesse Watters: “You can't set a precedent where, you know, the FBI and the CIA can interfere in an election and cover up presidential corruption to swing an election and just say, OK, you know, it's the partisan witch hunt, you cannot do that.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/9/23]

  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) accused the FBI of election interference: “I would argue it was all the other elections as well. So in 2016 they spy on Trump's campaign and do what you just described. 2018, it’s the Mueller investigation. 2020 they suppressed the Hunter Biden story. And in 2022, 91 days before the midterm election, they raid President Trump's home.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/10/23

  • Jordan: “This idea that the Justice Department seems to get involved in all our elections. I mean, one of my colleagues said this in a committee hearing a few months back and I thought it was so accurate. In 2016 they spy on President Trump's campaign. In 2018, they have the Mueller investigation. 2020 they suppressed the Hunter Biden story and in 2022 they suppressed this information.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/12/23

  • Carlson pushed the conspiracy theory that FBI “agent provocateurs” were largely responsible for leading the crowd during the January 6 insurrection. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/13/23]

  • Fox host Maria Bartiromo: “Isn’t this election interference? I mean, the FBI sat on the Biden laptop right before the election. They pursued FISA warrants before the 2016 election. This is the third election, 2016, 2020, 2022, that we're seeing election interference, is it not?” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 1/15/23]

  • Fox News contributor Charles Hurt: The FBI “cover[ed] for” Biden “in the last election.” [Fox News, Gutfeld!, 1/16/23]

  • Hurt: “We now know” the DOJ “cover[ed] problems for Joe Biden and to help get him elected.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/17/23]

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): The DOJ didn’t leak news about classified documents found at Biden’s home “because they want Democrats to win.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/18/23]

  • Fox host Will Cain: Biden was “elected through manipulation of the American public and anti-democratic means, which no doubt about it, the election two years ago was anti-democratic, at the very least by manipulating the public's access to information and therefore our minds.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/19/23]

  • Levin: “In 2020, the FBI interfered again, meetings with Big Tech to cover up Hunter Biden's laptop story -- twice. And of course, they interfered with the midterm elections this time by withholding the fact that there were classified documents that Joe Biden was holding illegally, and they kept that secret for at least several months.” [Fox News, Life, Liberty, Levin, 1/22/23]

  • Fox News contributor Miranda Devine: Jan. 6 prosecutions are “political persecution,” “most of the people that they've been rounding up are just guilty of trespassing. A lot of them were confused.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/23/23]

  • Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway on Trump’s reinstatement by Facebook: “Now finally two years later after meddling in election after election, now they’re finally saying, ‘Oh, well he can come back now.’” Monica Crowley agreed, and plugged Hemingway’s book: “Molly has also written a phenomenal book called Rigged about the 2020 election talking about the hundreds of millions of dollars that Mark Zuckerberg and his team poured into swing state's and swing districts in order to influence the election and deny Donald Trump reelection.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/25/23

  • Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY): Hunter laptop story coverup “was clearly a palace coup.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/26/23

  • Fox News contributor Joe Concha on the “Twitter Files”: “We need a level playing field. We need transparency. We can't have one side or another being favored because we saw the disaster that that resulted in before the 2020 election.” [Fox News, The Story, 1/27/23]

  • Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade on the “Twitter Files”: “What was happening during the 2020 election to suppress all pro-Trump thought and any time Trump would trend positively, somehow it would be looked at as Russian disinformation.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/30/23

  • Former Trump adviser Stephen Miller: The FBI not announcing it found classified documents in Biden’s home before the 2022 midterm election “was a cover-up, a concealment to try once again to influence the American electoral process.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/1/23]

  • Levin: January 6 insurrectionists arrested by the FBI were “people who were merely parading and, quote-unquote, ‘trespassing’ on the Capitol grounds.” [Fox News, Life, Liberty, Levin, 2/5/23]

  • Cain: “In 2020, we had massive mail-in – it’s the biggest aberrations of an election we’ve had in quite some time, right. Massive mali-in balloting, rules change in the middle of the night. … It was done not to help the people but to help Joe Biden. It was to help a political party win.” [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 2/6/23]

  • Frequent Fox guest and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on alleged censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story by Big Tech, the media, and Democrats: “The effort in October to defeat Donald Trump was totally corrupt and historic and involved a total abuse of government power and an absolute violation of the constitution. … You can argue about Election Day results. The campaign itself was clearly corrupted in October.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 2/8/23]

  • New York Post’s Jon Levine: “There's been a lot of polling showing that if the American people had full knowledge about the Post Hunter Biden story we might have had a totally different election.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 2/8/23]

  • Hemingway on the Hunter Biden story: “In fact, [it's a] violation of people’s First Amendment rights by having the government coordinate with very powerful corporations to destroy people's right to share information, to destroy freedom of the press. The New York Post is a large newspaper. It’s the oldest continuously publishing newspaper in America. They absolutely had the goods on one of the most important stories of the 2020 election. This is election meddling at a level that is just unthinkable.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/8/23]

  • Hannity: “Twitter, Facebook, Google, other Big Tech companies were coordinating, collaborating with not only the DNC, the Biden campaign, but the upper echelon of your FBI -- all united in one effort to defeat Donald J. trump and help elect Joe Biden.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/8/23]

  • Hannity asked Comer: “Do you believe at the end of the day that top people in our FBI possibly went on a disinformation campaign to create doubt to help Joe Biden become elected, put their thumb on the scale of this presidential election, and impact the result of the 2020 presidential election, by the way which also happened in 2016?” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/8/23]

  • America Reports co-anchor John Roberts and Devine: After highlighting the statement of computer repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac (who reportedly had gotten Hunter Biden’s laptop for repairs) which detailed the FBI’s supposed coverup of Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 election, Roberts said, “Sounds like the fix was in.” Devine later added, “You would think that that material would be something that the American people should have been able to see before the election so they could do the proper due diligence on one of the candidates for president, but the New York Post was the only outlet trying to get that information out to the public before the election, and of course, we were immediately censored by Twitter and Facebook.” [Fox News, America Reports, 2/9/23]

  • Hannity asked Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), “Was there a a well-designed and orchestrated censorship campaign to influence the 2020 election? Is that a fact at this point?” Both members of Congress agreed. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/9/23]

  • Hannity: “Your own federal government interfered in the 2020 election, and they tipped the scales to the candidate they preferred.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/9/23]

  • Hannity and Pirro agreed that, in Hannity’s words, “the FBI put their thumbs on the scale” of both 2016 and the 2020 elections. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/9/23]

  • Fox host Steve Hilton praised Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) for saying the FBI helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election: “I’m so please that she’s speaking so clearly on this -- much more clearly than any other Republican in Congress right now. She also made the point very clearly that the FBI directly interfered in the 2020 election to help Joe Biden get elected. That is an attack on our democracy, if we want to use the language of the Democrats.” [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 2/10/23]

  • Levin: “In 2020, the FBI interfered again, meetings with Big Tech to cover up Hunter Biden's laptop story -- twice. And of course, they interfered with the midterm elections this time by withholding the fact that there were classified documents that Joe Biden was holding illegally, and they kept that secret for at least several months.” [Fox News, Life, Liberty & Levin, 2/12/23]

  • Cruz: “In the 2020 election, Big Tech went all-in trying to defeat Donald Trump, trying to give what was in effect billions of dollars of an in-kind donation to Joe Biden, suppressing the Hunter Biden story. … I believe Big Tech censorship is the single greatest threat to free speech in America. And it's the single greatest threat to free and fair elections.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/13/23]

  • Ingraham: “Ahead of the 2024 election, the feds are working behind the scenes to demonetize successful conservative media organizations.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/14/23]

  • Jordan: “Several government agencies” met weekly with social media companies and “suppressed information” before the 2020 and 2022 elections. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/15/23]

  • Carlson on the 2020 presidential election: “Results like that would seem to defy the laws of known physics and qualify instead as a miracle.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/16/23]

  • Bartiromo cited the “Twitter Files” to say: “We know … that federal agencies had up to 1,000 people within the government that had their own lists about who they're telling Twitter to cancel and the posts to take down,” calling it “election interference.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 2/19/23]

  • Fox Nation host Piers Morgan: Twitter “canceled the [New York Post] story” on Hunter Biden, which is a “perfect example of cancel culture working … specifically to thwart democracy and perhaps to change the result of a U.S. election.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/22/23]

  • Carlson: The “sketchy” 2020 election has led to a tenuous legitimacy of American democracy. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/24/23]

  • Levin downplayed the crimes of the January 6 insurrectionists, saying those charged with violent attacks on police and other crimes months after the attack were just “rounded up”: “January 6, they talk about an insurrection? They rounded up a thousand people and prosecuting a thousand people.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/27/23]

  • Hannity: The FBI warning Twitter and other Big Tech companies about misinformation on their platforms “sounds like the FBI put their thumb on the scale to -- in terms of helping Joe Biden, being biased against Donald Trump in the 2020 election.” Fox News legal analyst Greg Jarrett agreed, saying, “They absolutely did.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/28/23]

  • Hannity claimed the FBI and the DOJ “have both been weaponized” and have been “putting their thumb on the scale” for Democrats “in every major election since 2016, including 2016.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/1/23]

  • Ingraham: The Democrats’ plan is to “weaponize the DOJ. That’s what they need to do to defeat Republicans, or so they think.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/1/23

  • Watters: Biden “won more votes in the history of the United States. So they say.” [Fox News, The Five, 3/2/23]

  • Hannity to Jordan: “Now in 2016, in the presidential race and in 2020, did the FBI put their thumb on the scale in favor of Democratic candidates?” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/3/23]

  • Bartiromo and Jordan discussed the “Twitter Files,” with Jordan saying the FBI and other intelligence agencies prompted Twitter to “shape the narrative” before the 2020 election by briefly blocking a New York Post story on Hunter Biden, likening it to an “October surprise” before the election. They then agreed that this was “election interference” and Jordan said, “This isn’t the first time it seems that the FBI meddled in an election.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 3/5/23]

  • Carlson featured a series of cherry-picked videos from more than 40,000 hours of footage House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made available exclusively to him in order to convince the American public that what they had obviously seen that day — a violent assault targeting Congress by Trump supporters — had not actually occurred. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/6/23]

  • Carlson again used surveillance video of the January 6 insurrection to downplay the violence: “The tape we showed last night indicated very clearly that Capitol Hill police in some cases escorted protesters through the Capitol as if they were giving a tour.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/7/23]

  • Fox chief political analyst Brit Hume denied January 6 was an insurrection: “Basically, it comes down to this question, Bret. Was it a riot — which I think it was, and which I think Tucker said as well it was — or was it really an insurrection that threatened the republic, as Bennie Thompson put it. We came, as he put it, critically close to losing our democracy that day. I don't think the evidence supports that. Although it certainly had its elements of violence. It was certainly a riot and an ugly one. Insurrection? I doubt the evidence fully seen will support that.” [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 3/8/23]
  • Hannity: The FBI is “putting their thumb on the scale of a presidential election” like “they did … in the fall of 2020.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/9/23]
  • Fox media analyst Howard Kurtz defended Fox’s airing of election lies about Dominion Voting Systems: “There is a crucial First Amendment argument here involving the coverage of unsubstantiated claims of 2020 election fraud by Donald Trump and his allies. … There was, to be sure, straight reporting by the news division, which also caused some friction, but the fact that some people in the chain of command privately dismissed the fraud claims as nuts or outlandish or insane doesn't necessarily mean Fox couldn't cover and comment on the extremely newsworthy spectacle of a president saying an election was stolen.” [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 3/12/23]
  • Carlson: “January 6, I think, is probably second only to the 2020 election as the biggest scam in my lifetime. And you know it is because they become completely hysterical when confronted with any facts that deviate from their lies.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/14/23]
  • Carlson called January 6 insurrectionists “patriotic Americans who questioned — who dared to question — the official story of the 2020 election.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/21/23]
  • Carlson: “Let's pretend for a sec that our country had a news media that was interested in bringing you the news, not in lecturing you about your moral inferiority — ‘you're so bad’ — or lying to you in transparently obvious ways. ‘January 6 was an insurrection, guys.’” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/22/23]
  • Ingraham speculated that FBI informants were “working the crowd either before they entered the Capitol or while they were in the Capitol” on January 6. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/23/23]
  • Ingraham downplayed the January 6 insurrectionists as “old ladies walking through the halls of Congress taking selfies.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/29/23]
  • Hurt: “The 2020 election was a massive lie. Joe Biden’s election was a massive lie.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/30/23]
  • Carlson cited cherry-picked video to depict a convicted January 6 insurrectionist as a “political prisoner” while downplaying the violence at the U.S. Capitol, before claiming the “actual insurrection” was a protest against gun violence in the Tennessee statehouse. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/31/23]
  • Fox aired in full a post-arraignment speech by Donald Trump which contained lies about the 2020 presidential election related to emergency pandemic measures to expand voting, lies about ballot stuffing, and false claims that there was “election fraud specifically in Georgia.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/4/23]
  • OutKick founder Clay Travis: Biden only won the 2020 election “after they rigged the entire election.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 4/10/23]