FBI Director Christopher Wray has been testifying Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing about the events of January 6, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to halt the counting of Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden.
Fox News, meanwhile, is not giving the hearing the coverage it deserves as Wray, who was originally appointed by Trump, blows holes through the fake narratives that the network’s top hosts have attempted to push about the insurrection.
In the late morning, America’s Newsroom co-anchor Bill Hemmer briefly mentioned the hearing: “There’s a lot to get to on this, so we're keeping an eye on it for headlines coming up shortly.”
But instead, Fox News viewers were treated over the next two hours to such topics as “cancel culture.”
Yes, it was a white-supremacist terror attack
During the hearing, Wray said that white supremacist ideology “is a persistent, evolving threat” and is “the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio, if you will, overall.”
“That siege was criminal behavior, plain pure and simple,” he told the senators. “It’s behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism.” He later confirmed that as more suspects have been arrested for alleged involvement in the attack, they’ve found individual motivations included “militia violent extremism and some instances of racially motivated violent extremism, specifically advocating for the superior[ity] of the white race.”
In an interesting sleight of hand, during Fox’s afternoon program America Reports with John Roberts, co-anchor Sandra Smith presented a quick update that showed Wray discussing how “the problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now.” But Smith did not show any clips of Wray singling out white-supremacist ideology as the key driver of domestic terrorism.
Thus, a Fox viewer might be tricked into conflating the events of January 6 with the network’s own false comparisons of that event to racial justice protests from last year.
Previously, Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson has spun an alternate reality, insisting back in January: “It was not an insurrection. It wasn't an armed invasion by a brigade of dangerous white supremacists. It wasn't. Those are lies.” He also objected to “people in positions of power and authority” calling the siege “domestic terrorism” — instead claiming it was “simply that a political protest got out of hand after the president recklessly encouraged it.” Carlson has also repeatedly warned his viewers that when Democrats speak about cracking down on white supremacists, “they’re talking about you.”
Just last week, as the Senate hearings on the insurrection were set to begin, Carlson maintained that there was “no evidence that white supremacists are responsible,”even though members of a variety of far-right militias were present at the seige, and numerous white supremacist emblems were seen as well, ranging from Confederate battle flags to a sweatshirt with “Camp Auschwitz” written on it.
But going back much earlier, Carlson had previously legitimized the attackers, telling his viewers on the night of the attack: “If you don’t bother to pause and learn a single thing from it, from your citizens storming your Capitol building, then you’re a fool.”
But Fox hosts have spun another story for their audience. On January 6 itself, Fox host Sean Hannity insisted on his radio show that Trump supporters “were there to peacefully protest. Then we had the reports that groups like antifa, other radical groups … that they were there to cause trouble.” That night, Fox host Laura Ingraham also disputed that Trump supporters were really committing the attack: “I have never seen Trump rally attendees wearing helmets, black helmets, brown helmets, black backpacks.”
Later in January, Fox Business anchor Maria Baritromo claimed during a seemingly ordinary news headline on security preparations for President Joe Biden’s inauguration that “a new report says that some far-right protesters have discussed posing as members of the National Guard to infiltrate the inauguration — the way Democrats infiltrated two weeks ago and put on MAGA clothing.”
Fox News hosts and anchors also attempted to latch onto the arrest of Utah man John Sullivan, due to his previous attendance at Black Lives Matter events. However, participants in left-wing movements have long shunned Sullivan, “accusing him of being either a right-wing infiltrator or a dangerously naive amateur.”
Meanwhile, the FBI has found at least one alleged Capitol insurrectionist who dressed up as an anti-fascist, boasting to his friends: “I’ll look just like ANTIFA. I’ll get away with anything.”