ABC’s “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday” whitewashed GOP election lies from their January 6 committee coverage
Republican attacks on the committee shouldn’t be a reason to question its “credibility” — the real question should be about why Republicans are against the investigation
The House select committee on the January 6 insurrection is set to hold its first hearing on Tuesday, investigating the riot in the Capitol by a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters who were attempting to stop the result of the 2020 election from being certified. But so far, media coverage has enabled Republican sabotage of the committee after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected the appointment of two Republican members, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN), who have both avidly spread misinformation about the election.
Although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has tried to have his caucus boycott the proceedings, the committee will in fact now proceed with two Republican members appointed by Pelosi, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
But unfortunately, two Sunday shows this past weekend treated the Republican objections to the committee as if they were a legitimate grievance against the committee’s overall work, rather than an effort to obstruct the entire investigation on political grounds.
Jordan and Banks both lied about the election and attacked the January 6 investigation
Jordan declared in a December 9 appearance on Fox News Radio: “I don't know how you can ever convince me that President Trump didn't actually win this thing based on all the things you see.” Jordan was also one of several House Republicans who met with Trump in late December to confer on strategy to reject the certification of the election results. But during a House committee hearing on January 12, he insisted: “I've never said that this election was stolen.”
Banks also appeared the night of January 6 on Fox News, after Congress had reconvened, to announce that he would introduce legislation against mail-in voting, as part of an effort to “restore the trust and integrity in our elections.”
Last week, after McCarthy first selected Jordan and Banks for the committee, they openly disparaged the investigation and accused it of being an attack on Trump and millions of his supporters.
This Week and Fox News Sunday fell for the Republican framing — but State of the Union didn't
As a positive example, CNN anchor Jake Tapper noted on State of the Union that McCarthy had attempted to put “two of the most prominent election liars” on the committee.
But on ABC’s This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos told Pelosi that “your decision to reject Congressmen Jim Jordan and Jim Banks from the committee has drawn fire from Republicans,” without once noting Jordan and Banks’ records of both attempting to subvert the election and to undermine the subsequent investigation of January 6.
Instead, Stephanopoulous deferred to the narrative that the Republican obstruction is supposed to create by asking Pelosi, “Are you confident that the committee's work can be seen as credible, if most Republicans won't participate?”
Banks appeared on Fox News Sunday, in which guest anchor Martha MacCallum did not ask Banks a single question about his lies over the election result.
When Banks had previously appeared on the May 9 edition of Fox News Sunday, anchor Chris Wallace asked Banks about his vote to reject the election results and his prior support for lawsuits to overturn the election. “I stand by my vote to object on January 6,” Banks said. “I stand by the Texas lawsuit because I have serious concerns about how the election in November was carried out.”
Moreover, MacCallum allowed Banks to blame Pelosi for the breakdown in security on January 6, without challenging his false claim that Pelosi “has more control and authority and responsibility over the leadership of the Capitol Police than anyone else in the United States Capitol.” (This is not true: The speaker’s office does not oversee Capitol Police operations on a day-to-day basis, and the authority it does have is shared with the Senate Majority Leader — who at the time was the Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.)
CBS News’ Face the Nation did not discuss the January 6 committee at all, while NBC News’ Meet The Press was off the air this past weekend for the network’s coverage of the Olympics.