As witnesses testified that former President Donald Trump and his campaign manufactured bogus claims that the election was rigged against him during the second day of public hearings from the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, Fox News seemed more focused on discrediting the committee’s process than engaging with its findings.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr’s testimony revealed how unhinged many in his camp were in pushing Trump to declare victory on election night and pursue baseless election fraud claims. Notable moments from today’s hearing included when Barr told the committee that Trump grew “detached from reality,” Jared Kushner’s testimony revealed that Rudy Giuliani was pushing Trump to go further with election misinformation, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) showed how the Trump campaign misled donors.
Despite all of the objective evidence showing Trump’s effort to defraud the public, and specifically his own supporters, regarding the election outcome, Fox News argued that the testimony presented was unimportant while complaining that the committee did not include pro-Trump perspectives — specifically, Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), who sided with the insurrectionists in voting to block certification of the Electoral College results and helped Trump spread his election lies, while Jordan is himself implicated in Trump’s coup plot. This represents a change of tactics from last week, when Fox shunted the committee’s prime-time hearing to its little-watched sister network while unleashing a torrent of lies and misinformation on its own audience.
June 13: Fox's “straight news” team parroted Trump's complaints about committee members, whined about the “process”
- Townhall editor and Fox contributor Katie Pavlich criticized the committee’s supposedly “one-sided” presentation while claiming it was a “corrupt-style of hearing that is very different than the process we've seen on Capitol Hill before.” She also questioned how the U.S. Capitol could possibly be breached due to high building security, demanding answers from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser.
- National Review columnist Andy McCarthy, claimed that “the committee disserved the cause of having a legitimate -- politically legitimate committee investigation by the way this committee was staffed.” In the same segment, Fox contributor Jonathan Turley criticized Pelosi for failing to “honor this bipartisan tradition” of having a balance of perspectives and thus “robbed the committee of that sense of legitimacy.”
- Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer later pushed McCarthy’s point, asking, “Was it, in hindsight, a mistake to reject Republicans on this committee that may have offered them greater credibility, knowing that you have Bill Barr on videotape with his voice saying, ‘I went to the president numerous times and told him we can't win this.’ In other words, how would you question a witness once Bill Barr makes statements like that?”
- McCarthy later proclaimed what “a blunder it was for Speaker Pelosi to make this a one-sided hearing” and complained about the lack of witness cross-examination.
- Turley later complained, “I thought the most telling moment came at the end when the chairman said, ‘I'm going to introduce this video, unless there is an objection.’ That really put a pin on it. It's like asking at a wedding, ‘Anyone who objects to this union, speak up.’ Nobody is really there to do it.” McCarthy added that since it’s “not a fair process that is aimed at getting to the truth,” the hearing is “more like messaging than it is a real investigation.”
- Fox News anchor Dana Perino told Democratic strategist Marie Harf: “We have seen all the substance, but I think that what you are hearing from the two lawyers in particular, are saying it just doesn't feel like the process is fair or right or legitimate in this setting.” Harf responded, “Look, we can have debates about the process, and I think the Republicans tried to put people like Jim Jordan onto the committee, and Jim Jordan is involved in January 6. He's involved in this story. You cannot put someone on a jury or as a defense prosecutor, to use Andy's language, that is involved in the possible crime or the cover-up.” The panel brushed off her comments, with Fox anchor Martha McCallum saying, “I think that if you feel strongly about your case that you are laying out, there is no reason not to have Jim Jordan, no reason to not have Jim Banks as part of this. It would have helped to legitimize it for them.”