On July 27, four officers gave riveting testimony during the first hearing by the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot. That evening, Fox News’ prime-time hosts did everything in their power to dismiss, downplay, and mock the hearing as well as the testimony from the officers. The next day, Fox’s so-called “news” shows just wanted everyone to forget the emotional and compelling hearing ever happened.
Fox’s “news” shows, which consist of 8 hours of programming between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., covered the previous day's hearing on the January 6 attack for just 5 minutes. Out of the network's six “news” shows during that time, only two even mentioned the hearing.
Faulkner Focus briefly reported on comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that the committee was just getting started. Anchor Harris Faulkner also brought up GOP criticism questioning whether the committee is “too far partisan.” The other show to cover the previous day’s events was The Story, which hosted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), whom Pelosi had rejected from sitting on the committee. Jordan used his appearance to push a lie that Pelosi is to blame for the security failures that day.
Fox’s programming helped lay the groundwork for the anger and resentment that led to the storming of the Capitol, and the network has been whitewashing the January 6 attack ever since. So, it’s not surprising that Fox News quickly moved on from covering the hearing. According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, the network's viewership cratered while it was airing the hearing. It is, however, another reminder that no matter how much Fox pretends to have a “news” side, it’s really all the same propaganda.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT for any of the terms “hearing,” “commission,” “committee,” Capitol,” “capital,” “insurrection,” or “the hill” or any variation of the term “January 6” for July 28, 2021.
We included segments where the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex was the stated topic of discussion or where there was “significant discussion” of the January 6 commission in multitopic segments. We defined significant discussion as two or more speakers discussing the January 6 commission with one another. We also included passing mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker discussed the January 6 commission without another speaker engaging with the comment. Finally, we included teasers for January 6 commission segments scheduled to air later in the broadcast.
We timed all relevant segments, mentions, and teasers to the nearest minute.
We split Fox programs into “news” and “opinion” sides. We defined “news” programs as those with anchors, such as Bret Baier or Martha MacCallum, at the helm, while we defined “opinion” programs as those with hosts, such as Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham. We used the designations from each anchor's or host’s author page on FoxNews.com. We also considered the format of the program; we defined those using a panel format, such as Outnumbered and The Five, as opinion programs.