Media Matters

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Fox News covers new January 6 insurrection updates implicating Trump and his allies for less than 5 minutes

Stories about Trump “more likely than not” committing felony obstruction, his allies facing a criminal contempt of Congress, and gaps in his White House call logs during the Capitol attack received scant coverage

  • Since yesterday, news reports have broken about former President Donald Trump's likely felony obstruction to stop the Congress from certifying Joe Biden's 2020 presidential win, criminal charges recommended against two former Trump advisers for contempt by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack, and a 7-hour gap in official White House phone logs on January 6, 2021. Fox has covered these three insurrection-related scandals for less than 5 minutes, combined. 

    • Fox covered U.S. District Court Judge David Carter’s finding that Trump likely committed a felony for just 1 minute and has not mentioned it since the midnight hour.
    • Fox discussed the contempt of Congress recommendations for just 2 and a half minutes.
    • Fox devoted just over 1 minute to the gap in the January 6 White House logs.

    On Monday, Judge Carter observed, “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.” The ruling included an order to release 101 emails from John Eastman, a lawyer and Trump ally affiliated with conservative think tank the Claremont Institute, who advised the Trump administration on ways to overturn the 2020 presidential electoral results. Fox covered Carter’s finding that Trump likely committed a felony for just 1 minute and has not mentioned it since the midnight hour.

    The House committee probing the Capitol riot also issued a recommendation on Monday for Congress to hold former Trump White House advisers Dan Scavino Jr. and Peter Navarro in contempt of Congress for their refusal to cooperate with the committee. “They are obligated to comply with our investigation. They have refused to do so. And that's a crime,” said committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS). The committee subpoenaed Scavino last September, and he has sued to block the release of phone records. Navarro, a former Trump administration trade adviser who received his subpoena in February, described the investigation as a “partisan witch hunt” and called members “terrorists.” Fox covered this story for just 2 and a half minutes.

    And earlier today, news broke that the official White House logs presented to the House committee had an at least seven-hour gap in Trump’s phone records on the day of the January 6 insurrection. The timeframe -- from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. EST -- covers the period when Trump supporters attacked the Capitol, during which public reporting has shown that Trump made a phone call to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) while trying to reach Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and called House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Fox has covered this development for just over 1 minute.

    Fox’s lack of coverage for these stories fits with the network’s pattern of ignoring Trump’s corruption as president, his defense of Capitol rioters, and other facts about the events of January 6, 2021.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video databases for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “Trump,” “Eastman,” “Navarro,” “Scavino,” or “White House” within close proximity to any of the terms “conspiracy,” “felony,” “contempt,” “crime,” “circumvent,” “joint session,” “election,” “electoral,” “insurrection,” “certification,” “log,” “phone,” “call,” or “Capitol” or any variation of any of the terms “obstruct,” “subvert,” “overturn,” “corrupt,” “Congress,” “email,” or “January 6” from midnight March 28, 2022, through 2 p.m. EDT March 29, 2022.

    We included segments, which we defined as instances when Trump’s alleged obstruction of Congress, the White House phone log gap during the January 6 insurrection, or Navarro and Scavino’s contempt of Congress was the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of any of the three stories. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed any one of the three stories with one another. We also included passing mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker mentioned any one of the three stories without another speaker engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host teased a segment about any one of the three stories scheduled to air later in the broadcast. We rounded all times to the nearest minute.