Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is set to begin in the U.S. Senate next week, with the potential stakes that he could be disqualified from ever holding federal office again in the wake of his role in the January 6 insurrection. But right-wing media have issued a common refrain: Rather than go forward with this public process to hold Trump accountable, the country should just move on. After all, they say, the trial would just make it harder for President Joe Biden to “unify” the country as he’d promised.
Fox News has pushed this message since the Biden presidency officially began — often conveniently overlooking the core disunifying element of the Trump supporters who attempted to overthrow Congress, and that this resulted in five deaths including a Capitol Police officer.
But beyond that omission, Fox has also exhibited a major case of hypocrisy when it comes to investigating terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of Americans. Compare the network’s flippant attitude over the past month, for example, to its endless parade of commentary over investigations of the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Back then, for Fox, the more investigations, the better.
In the years since the Benghazi attack, a long list of Fox hosts and commentators have called repeatedly for continued investigations of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alleging that there was a “massive cover-up,” that the administration “lie[d] about the cause of Benghazi,” and that a “list of questions remain unanswered.” (When those investigations never got the result they wanted, they kept making up rationales for new investigations, openly admitting that the rationale was political.)
But now it’s all the opposite — after an actual attack upon American soil, directly against the country’s institutions of representative democracy. Instead, those exact same people are calling the impeachment “just one more source of division,” saying that it would be better “just to ignore it,” and claiming that with Trump gone, the continued investigation is “a bit of overkill.”
After years of questioning whether one administration was capable of protecting American lives abroad, the message now is to “just move on” from an attack that took place on American soil.