The January 6 select committee hearing revelations Fox News didn’t want its viewers seeing live

Fox capitol

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

Fox News is a Republican propaganda outlet whose stars have spent the last 17 months downplaying the January 6 insurrection, so of course it had no interest in allowing its viewers to see live, unedited coverage of tonight’s first hearing by the House select committee investigating it. The Fox audience missed out on stunning video of the attack and a host of revelations about the events leading up to and during it, including that President Donald Trump had been told by top aides that he had lost the election and that the voter fraud claims he was making were baseless; extensive details about the role the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers played in the insurrection; and that Trump never called in the National Guard to defend the U.S. Capitol.

Fox was created to generate alternate narratives that would shield Republicans from scrutiny and pseudoscandals that would hurt Democrats. When a violent mob of Trumpists, riled by voter fraud lies from Trump, Republican leaders, and Fox personalities, breached the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the network sprang into action. Fox has diligently avoided reporting on many of the key developments about the right-wing coup attempt, as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump documented. Instead, led by Tucker Carlson, Fox fabricated a counternarrative in which the insurrection’s perpetrators were actually its victims.

Live coverage of the January 6 hearing could have broken through that alternate reality bubble. And so while its major cable and broadcast news competitors carried the hearing, Fox aired its regular prime-time lineup of propagandists, with the network’s “news team” banished to sister channel Fox Business until 11 p.m. ET, after much of the audience has gone to sleep. That allows the network to either ignore the damaging new details in future programming, or develop propaganda rebutting that information, either way denying the audience a full understanding of the events.

Here is a sampling of what Fox’s viewers didn’t see while the network’s stars were instead recapping conspiracy theories about the attack, downplaying the violence and the hearing's findings, and hosting kooks and white nationalist fellow travelers who described January 6 as “a clear hoax”: