Fox News let over 16 hours pass before even mentioning the bombshell information released by the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, which revealed failed attempts by multiple Fox personalities to convince then-President Donald Trump to call off a mob of his supporters who had attacked the Capitol. Those same hosts have deliberately lied about the attack ever since, and sought to stop the investigation.
During a committee meeting Monday night, which preceded a motion to refer former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for criminal contempt for obstructing the investigation, select committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) read a series of texts sent to Meadows during the siege of the Capitol, including several from Fox News hosts who implored the White House to put a stop to the chaos:
- Sean Hannity texted to Meadows: “Can he make a statement. Ask people to leave the Capitol.”
- Laura Ingraham wrote: “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
- Brian Kilmeade said: “Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
Cheney’s presentation was carried live in its entirety by CNN and MSNBC and dominated programming for the rest of the evening, but it was barely covered on Fox News. Fox’s prime-time programming neglected to mention the story, despite the personal involvement of Hannity and Ingraham. The next morning, Fox & Friends also neglected to mention the story, despite Kilmeade’s personal involvement.
It was not until later on The Faulkner Focus that the network gave even the slightest mention of the text messages. Fox congressional correspondent Chad Pergram briefly noted that “the committee revealed messages sent by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox hosts to Meadows during the riot. They implored the White House to convince the president to intervene and urge his supporters to stand down.”
Pergram then read one text message from Donald Trump Jr., saying, “We need an Oval Office address. … It has gone too far.” Pergram did not name Hannity, Ingraham, or Kilmeade, nor any of the contents of their messages to Meadows that day.
Earlier on Tuesday, during a brief segment of live coverage of the House Rules Committee meeting, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) noted that some people “in the very conservative news media were begging that there be an intervention, that the president put an end to this. And he didn’t. It took hours.” The network cut away about two minutes later, and neither of America’s Newsroom co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino explained to viewers what McGovern had been talking about.
Meadows actually appeared Monday night on Hannity’s TV show, during which the two men never acknowledged Hannity’s text message to Meadows the day of the insurrection, which was already out in the public domain. Instead, Meadows insisted: “The way that some of the Democrats are spinning this, trying to spin some nefarious purpose, I think at the end of the day, they're going to find that not only did the president act, but he acted quickly.”
Of course, Meadows’ declaration ran counter to the messages he had received that day — and it is very much worth noting that he appeared on national television to say such a thing, but is refusing to sit down with a House committee investigating the attack.
In reality, Trump had reportedly refused to deploy the National Guard, leaving the task for then-Vice President Mike Pence to step in even though he was not in the legal chain of command. In the end, it took hours for the Guard to arrive, a fact that Trump immediately began lying about.
Later that night, on Fox’s purported “straight news” program Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream, the anchor played a brief clip of Meadows’ appearance on Hannity’s program, again without mentioning the messages from her colleagues — followed by a teaser for the latest online viral videos, including “the laziest but possibly the cutest game of fetch ever caught on camera.”
In addition, the contempt vote against Meadows was briefly mentioned during a headline segment on Tuesday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends, which Kilmeade co-hosts. The show also played a clip of Meadows’ appearance with Hannity the night before, but it did not mention Kilmeade’s own text message to the former Trump chief of staff.
Back in January, Kilmeade argued against impeaching Trump over the insurrection, on the grounds that the country was “ready to explode again,” a stark difference from his calls for violent crackdowns on protests aligned with causes on the left.
On the night of January 6 itself, both Hannity and Ingraham spread false claims that the Capitol rioters may have been left-wing militants disguised as Trump supporters. These claims had to have been deliberate lies — because if they had actually believed that, then their private messages for Trump to call off the mob would have been pointless.
Months later, the two Fox hosts also fervently opposed the formation of a commission to investigate the attack, warning that it would only be a “smear campaign” used to “tar and punish Trump supporters.” (Or, perhaps, they did not want their own messages from that day to ever become public.)