Georgia election worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss was collateral damage in Fox News’ campaign to prop up Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud following the 2020 presidential election.
In December 2020, the network’s prime-time hosts and “straight news” personnel alike baselessly suggested that Moss and her mother and fellow election worker, Ruby Freeman, had participated in a fraud scheme. The Fox personalities don’t seem to regret their actions: After Moss described the impact those conspiracy theories had on her life to the January 6 House select committee on Tuesday, the network devoted all of 14 seconds to her testimony.
Moss’ testimony showed the human cost of Trump’s sinister effort to subvert the 2020 election. His campaign seized upon video of Moss and Freeman engaged in normal ballot tabulation procedures, claiming it actually depicted them producing “suitcases filled with ballots” from underneath a table after ordering their Republican counterparts to leave. Fox hosts pointed out the mother-daughter pair while pushing Trump’s false framing, and other right-wing outlets identified them by name.
On Tuesday, Moss said she and Freeman had been suffering through a wave of harassment ever since. “This turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card. ... I don't want anyone knowing my name," Moss told the committee. "I don't go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere at all. I've gained about 60 pounds. I just don't do nothing anymore. I don't want to go anywhere. I second guess everything that I do. It's affected my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies, for me doing my job -- same thing I've been doing forever.”
Moss’ gripping testimony spoke to the brutal impact the right-wing conspiracy theory pipeline had on individuals swept up in the Trumpist election subversion campaign. It is reminiscent of the trials the family of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was put through after Fox and other right-wing outlets tried to leverage his murder for political gain.
But Fox viewers who weren’t watching the hearing live in the middle of the afternoon almost certainly missed what Moss had to say. Almost immediately after she concluded her testimony and the committee adjourned, the network pivoted to covering new developments from the Uvalde mass shooting and never really returned to her story.
Here’s the sole coverage on Tuesday evening of Moss’ testimony – a brief clip during Special Report:
Fox hosts Jesse Watters, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham — each of whom covered the false “suitcases of ballots” smear — all passed on mentioning Moss’ testimony on their Tuesday broadcasts.
Fox is more interested in covering fake attacks on U.S. democracy than real ones. The network provided only 17 minutes of total coverage of Tuesday’s hearing, from its adjournment through 9 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. By contrast, the network devoted 24 minutes over the same period to covering new developments related to the June 17 arrests of seven staff members of NBC’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert who were allegedly present unlawfully in a congressional office building where they were filming a segment about the hearings.
Fox has tried to use the arrests for unlawful entry of a handful of comedians, including the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog puppet, to mock and downplay the January 6, 2021, insurrection, when a mob of enraged Trumpists stormed the U.S. Capitol, injuring roughly 140 police officers in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the election results. The network has spent at least 2 hours and 23 minutes total on the arrests since the story broke last Friday night.
Fox’s propagandists don’t want their viewers to know what these hearings have revealed about the events before, during, and after the insurrection — and above all, what the hearings show about the role the network played in Trump’s scheme to overturn the election. Instead, they’d prefer their audience treat the hearings as a big joke.