A mix of right-wing messaging about the January 6 committee, calling it a "sham committee," a "theatrically produced sham hearing," and "boring remarks" with a sketch of the Capitol building in the blue-green background

Molly Butler / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Right-wing media have been dismissing, downplaying, and attacking the January 6 hearings

During its initial eight public hearings, members of the January 6 select committee, led by Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), presented evidence that former President Donald Trump and his allies actively worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In response, right-wing media dismissed and downplayed the abundance of evidence and witness testimony. 

The hearings featured testimony from a variety of witnesses, including Capitol police officers injured during the January 6 insurrection, former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt, and Greg Jacob, former counsel to former Vice President Mike Pence, who laid out exactly how close Pence came to a mob chanting “hang Mike Pence.” Testimony from election workers and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers laid out that Trump and Rudy Giuliani launched a coordinated plan to convince states to delay their vote count and investigate bogus claims of voter fraud. Explosive testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson revealed that Trump knew protesters on January 6 were armed, and he insisted on going to the Capitol himself, allegedly lunging at a Secret Service officer who wouldn’t drive him there. 

Throughout the hearings, the committee also presented other evidence to make its case, including communications that revealed that members of Pence’s own security detail called their loved ones to say goodbye as the insurrectionists were approaching and evidence that Trump repeatedly refused to condemn the violence

But throughout the first series of hearings (more are expected in September), right-wing media downplayed the violence at the Capitol, slammed the committee as a partisan sham despite nearly every witness being a Republican, insisted the findings were both boring and nothing new, and even attacked committee members and witnesses.

  • Attacking the hearing as a partisan sham

  • The most widespread attack on the committee hearings was that they were just a partisan exercise on behalf of the Democrats. Right-wing media often decried the hearings as illegitimate, sometimes citing the committee’s lack of members who had voted to overturn the election results while ignoring that two of the committee members are Republican members of Congress. Notable examples include:

    • Fox anchor Bret Baier attempted to delegitimize the January 6 committee by saying it is not “bipartisan” despite “two Republican lawmakers.” He went on to say, “There is no pushback that you would usually have in a bipartisan committee,” and they were “chosen by House Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi.” [Fox News, Special Report, 6/9/22]
    • Fox prime-time host Tucker Carlson called the hearings a “propaganda show” and compared them to “preproduced lying” of “totalitarian hellholes.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/9/22]
    • On his radio show, Fox host Mark Levin called the committee “an absolute abomination.” He also told his listeners to not watch unless “they enjoy Soviet-style show trials.” [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 6/9/22]
    • Later in the same show, Levin called the Democrats the actual “insurrectionists.” He also complained that Pelosi did not appoint a higher ranked Republican to the committee. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 6/9/22]
    • Fox anchor Martha MacCallum argued that representatives who believed the lie that the 2020 election was stolen should have been a part of the January 6 committee. MacCallum said, “I mean, isn’t that the way that we do things, where we challenge the supposition of why you’re gathered in this room, to go through this evidence in the first place? What’s wrong with that?” [Fox Business, special coverage of the January 6 hearings, 6/9/22]
    • Newsmax host Benny Johnson claimed that Democrats are using the trial to boost midterm campaigns. He tweeted, “Joe Biden has done nothing Democrats can campaign on in the midterms so they had to hold a theatrically produced sham hearing to demonize Trump. This will backfire.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Breitbart editor Joel Pollak also complained about the lack of conservatives on the committee. Pollak tweeted, “Very important fact about the #January6thCommitteeHearings: we have the self-declared ‘ranking member’ -- the faux representative of the opposition -- making the majority's case. There is only one side, making one argument, without any opportunity to respond. Totally un-American.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Newsmax contributor Jenna Ellis falsely accused the committee of not using facts. In a tweet, she said, “No one supporting the J6 narrative is doing so based on facts. They just hate Trump and his base.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • One America News Network host Liz Wheeler claimed the Democrats want to “demonize *everybody* who came to the Capitol on Jan 6th,” because “ALL Republicans are a basket of deplorables.” Wheeler’s comment was a reference to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment. [Twitter, 6/9/22; Media Matters, 9/10/16
    • Fox host Sean Hannity claimed the committee is “illegitimate” and “hyperpartisan.” He also called the initial hearing a “made-for-TV smear campaign against President Trump.” [Media Matters, 6/10/22]
    • Carlson’s guests disparaged the hearings as illegitimate and a “show trial.” These guests included right-wing pundit Ned Ryun, so-called “independent journalist” Michael Tracey, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. [Media Matters, 6/10/22]
    • 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.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/13/22]
    • National Review contributing editor Andy McCarthy proclaimed what “a blunder it was for Speaker Pelosi to make this a one-sided hearing.” He also complained about the lack of witness cross-examination. [Fox News, special coverage of the January 6 hearings, 6/13/22]
    • Fox anchor Dana Perino criticized the “process” of the hearings as unfair and illegitimate. Perino said, “We have seen all the substance, but I think that what you are hearing from the two lawyers in particular, are saying that it just doesn't feel like the process is fair or right or legitimate in this setting.” [Fox News, special coverage of the January 6 hearings, 6/13/22
    • Johnson tweeted, “How are these sham J6 hearings still a thing?” [Twitter, 6/16/22]
    • Conservative columnist David Limbaugh sarcastically tweeted, “It is also gratifying that this committee is wholly devoid of partisanship and partisan motives.” [Twitter, 6/16/22]
    • The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway tweeted, “Show trials are flatly UnAmerican and anyone participating in them or promoting them is bad.” [Twitter, 6/16/22]
    • Fox News host Howard Kurtz criticized the committee for having no “Trump defenders.” Kurtz wrote on Twitter, “Three House committee members are wasting valuable time by declaring Trump guilty. Just go to the witnesses. Such prosecutorial opening statements underscore the fact that the panel has no Republican Trump defenders to even raise questions.” [Twitter, 6/21/22]
    • McCallum complained that pro-Trump figures were not allowed to “cross-examine” witnesses. McCallum echoed right-wing talking points that the hearing is biased because Trump-aligned representatives aren’t being allowed to “cross-examine” witnesses, saying, “We've heard a lot of folks say that it would be good to have some people who are of the opposing viewpoint or at least who are willing to sort of cross-examine some of these witnesses to a greater extent than we've seen throughout this course of this process. But it is what it is.” [Fox News, special coverage of the January 6 committee hearings, 6/23/22]
    • Fox contributor Jonathan Turley compared the hearing to kabuki theater. Turley said, “It's so controlled that it makes kabuki look like an improvisational dance. … There's no room for the witnesses to go just marginally to the left or right. That really undermines it.” [Fox News, special coverage of the January 6 hearings, 6/23/22]
    • Fox host Greg Gutfeld called the hearings a “monstrosity” and described the proceedings as “pure political theater.” [Fox News, The Five, 6/23/22]
    • Hannity called the hearings a “kangaroo court” and a “really just a cheap, selectively edited political ad.” [Fox News, Hannity, 7/21/22]
  • Attacking hearing witnesses

  • Rather than making arguments about the testimony, right-wing personalities often used ad hominem attacks against witnesses, seeking to undermine their credibility. Many of the attacks were focused on Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to Mark Meadows whose testimony portrayed Trump as angry and unstable. Right-wing media also attacked January 6 rioter Stephen Ayres, former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger, and former Trump White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews. 

    Cassidy Hutchinson

    • Former Newsmax host John Cardillo claimed Hutchinson was a scorned staffer. Cardillo tweeted: “Never forget that Cassidy Hutchinson was running around telling people that she was going to be part of Trump’s post presidency private staff at Mar-a-Lago. That never happened. She was pissed off. Too bad there aren’t any Republicans on the committee to ask about that.” [Twitter, 6/28/22]
    • Cardillo called Hutchinson a “glorified receptionist and coffee fetcher in Meadows’ office.” [Twitter, 6/28/22]

    Other witnesses 

    • Right-wing pundit Julie Kelly went after a former Oath Keeper who testified, suggesting he didn’t know what he was talking about. She tweeted: “Oath Keepers ‘spokesman’ who hasn’t been in the group for years calls it ‘dangerous’ and ‘extremist.’ Talks about the ‘stack’ formation as evidence—no weapons, no assaults, some aided police that day. His eye opener was when some denied the Holocaust so he resigned.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • Kelly implied Ayres’ charge may have been reduced in exchange for his testimony. Kelly tweeted: “‘A lot of my charges have been dismissed.’ Ayres blaming Trump for believing the ‘Big Lie.’ As @FreeStateWill just noted, Ayres is one of the only (if not only) J6 defendant charged with obstruction to have charge dropped in exchange for one misdemeanor plea.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • Fox News host Howard Kurtz called testimony from January 6 rioter Ayres and former Oath Keepers spokesperson Jason Van Tatenhove the “weakest part of the hearing.” Kurtz suggested it was “the best” the committee could do. He did not acknowledge Tatenhove’s testimony about his experience with the Oath Keepers, the right-wing militia that helped storm the Capitol. [Twitter, 7/12/22; The Washington Post, 7/12/22]
    • Breitbart senior editor at large Joel Pollak accused Pottinger of “degrading his” country by testifying. [Twitter, 7/21/22]
    • In a follow-up tweet, Pollak implied Pottinger is a hypocrite for resigning after the insurrection but voluntarily associating himself with “the assault on the Constitution that the #January6thCommitteeHearings are executing, including attacks on innocent and cooperative witnesses.” [Twitter, 7/21/22]
    • Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier tweeted about Matthews: “Today’s star @January6thCmte witness was also concerned with mail in voting. What happened Sarah?” [Twitter, 7/21/22]
  • Attacking committee members

  • Right-wing media also tried to discredit the hearings by attacking the committee members, especially the two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Many of the attacks called the pair “RINOs” (Republicans in name only) and claimed that they’re “traitors.” The individual Democrats on the committee were also frequently called liars and hypocrites based on their previous statements about members of the Trump administration who participated in the events of January 6. 

    Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)

    • Conservative radio host Michael Savage called Cheney the “poster gal for traitors.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Newsmax host Greg Kelly slammed both Cheney and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, for their role in the Iraq War, telling the January 6 committee co-chair to “go to hell.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • In an apparent reference to Cheney’s reelection chances since serving as co-chair of the January 6 committee, Newsmax tweeted, “A man literally named Santa Claus has better primary odds than Liz Cheney.” [Twitter, 6/9/22
    • Daily Caller writer Heather Hunter questioned whether any of the clips that Cheney played during the June 16 hearing “actually backup the accusations she is making in the hearing.” [Twitter, 6/16/22]
    • Conservative filmmaker and election fraud peddler Dinesh D’Souza tweeted an article from the Conservative Brief on Cheney’s falling polling numbers with the caption: “Cheney is never coming back from this.” [Twitter, 6/16/22]
    • Federalist writer Anna James Zeigler accused Cheney of “begging Democrats to vote for her this November,” before ominously adding “You made your bed, Liz. Enjoy.” [Twitter, 6/23/22]
    • Fox host Mark Levin criticized Cheney for “lecturing the nation about ethics” and “urging Democrats to vote for her in the Wyoming GOP primary.” [Twitter, 6/23/22
    • Breitbart senior editor at large Joel Pollak accused Cheney of deceptively editing former White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s testimony. Pollak tweeted, “I don’t know why they bother pretending that @Liz_Cheney’s remarks are somehow spontaneous. They are scripted — and watch them splice and dice Cipollone’s testimony, after failing to ask him about the sensational (and false) Hutchinson allegations. The whole thing is nauseating.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • After the July 21 hearing, Pollak claimed Cheney “threw in an attack on ‘men’ for good measure.” [Twitter, 7/21/22]

    Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

    • Far-right account The Columbia Bulge wrote on Twitter: “This will surprise nobody, but Kinzinger sounded like he was about to burst into tears during his entire questioning & remarks today.” [Twitter, 6/23/22]
    • Pollak compared Kinzinger’s statements during the July 21 hearing to “a dramatic reading” and referred to the congressman as a “useful idiot” for the Democratic Party. [Twitter, 7/21/22]
    • Pollak followed that tweet up by characterizing Kinzinger’s delivery as “smug” and “profoundly unserious.” In an apparent reference to Kinzinger’s statement that he won’t run for reelection, Pollack questioned, “Was it worth it for this badly written, badly acted show trial script?” [Twitter, 7/21/22]
    • Stop the Steal organizer Alex Bruesewitz, who also received a subpoena from the committee, implied that both Kinzinger and Cheney had advanced knowledge of the January 6 attack and called on the Republican Party to “investigate those two corrupt RINOs!” [Twitter, 7/21/22; Reuters, 1/11/21]
    • NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck accused Kinzinger of trying to convince Americans that all Republicans “are evil.” [Twitter, 7/21/22]

    Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA)

    • During the July 21 hearing, Pollak accused Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) of calling Trump “a domestic enemy of the United States” in order to “demonize political opposition.” Pollak’s tweet went on to say, “Suppose he is the Republican nominee in 2024: Democrats have set a predicate for civil war.” [Twitter, 7/21/22]

    Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)

    • During the July 12 hearing, Pollak criticized Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) for referring to the 2020 election as “free and fair.” Pollak tweeted that the election “was not fraudulent (as I have long argued) but nor was it free & fair. Censorship, violence, rule changes (many invalid), extreme media bias. #January6thCommitteeHearings.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • Right-wing pundit Julie Kelly tweeted, “Murphy now showing clips of Trump allies shouting ‘1776’ during a rally on January 5. Maybe she doesn't know what that means.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]

    Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)

    • Former Breitbart blogger and pro-Trump organizer Jennifer Lynn Lawrence tweeted, “Did @RepRaskin have a photoshoot leading in to the hearing today? Maybe this time he was smart enough not to expose himself doctoring evidence. He was already caught red handed doctoring my tweet for his own benefit (thanks @nytimes) Why is he leading this hearing?” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • D’Souza accused Raskin of “brazen hypocrisy” because he “questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election” but is “denying the right of Trump and the Republicans to do precisely what he did.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]

    Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)

    • Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich called Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) “the least credible and biggest shamster” and tweeted that the Democratic Party is “drunk on power.” [Twitter, 6/21/22]
    • Fox News contributor Miranda Devine tweeted that Schiff and the Democratic Party “have abused democracy, continually lied and tolerated or outright encouraged violence and law-breaking from their militant wing.” [Twitter, 6/21/22]
    • Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley tweeted: ​​“Schiff 2022: Barr told the truth on election fraud but Trump would not listen. Schiff 2020: ‘You can tell that Bill Barr is just flat-out lying to the American people, and it's tragic but it's as simple as that…’” [Twitter, 6/21/22]
  • Downplaying the insurrection

  • In reaction to the hearings, right-wing media tried to launder the reputation of the insurrectionists by lying and downplaying their violence. From lying about people carrying weapons at the Capitol to ignoring and deflecting from the violence that broke out there, right-wing media figures tried to paint a picture of the riot that was vastly different to reality. 

    Downplaying or lying about the presence of firearms

    • Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson blatantly lied and said the insurrectionists were unarmed. During the opening monologue of his June 9 Fox News show, Carlson said, “Not a single person in the crowd that day was found to be carrying a firearm. Some insurrection.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/9/22]
    • Far-right account The Columbia Bugle downplayed the presence of guns at the insurrection by saying none were fired. The first tweet read, “Point to a single incident of a Trump supporter firing their weapon on January 6th.” The second tweeted threaded below read, “Oh that’s right you can’t, you f*cking liars.” [Twitter, 6/28/22]
    • Far-right influencer Jack Posobiec also tweeted lies that the insurrectionists were unarmed. Posobiec wrote, “Yeah if someone had brought and AR-15 to Jan 6 everyone in the country would know their name, social media, workplace, and Taylor Lorenz would have harassed their family.” Seemingly referring to Cassidy Hutchinson, he continued: “This witness either misunderstood what was going on or is spreading fairy tales for a gig at CNNMSNBC.” [Twitter, 6/28/22]
    • Fox host Sean Hannity dismissed the veracity of the witnesses who claimed Trump wanted to take down metal detectors. Hannity said, “The so-called witness also claimed President Trump wanted to get rid of the metal detectors.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/28/22]
    • Right-wing podcast host Ben Shapiro defended Trump's alleged remarks about taking down metal detectors at his January 6 rally by saying Trump probably did it in order to attract a bigger crowd. [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 6/29/22]

    Downplaying the violence of the insurrectionists 

    • Breitbart editor Joel Pollak wrote an article “debunking” the claim that insurrectionists were “beating and killing law enforcement officers.” Pollak ignored the fact that multiple officers were brutally beaten by rioters on January 6 and two died by suicide shortly afterward. [Breitbart, 7/21/22; The New York Times, 1/5/22]
    • New York Post writer and Fox News contributor Miranda Devine suggested the January 6 committee was lying about the brutality of the insurrectionists. Devine tweeted, “No law enforcement officers were killed in the Capitol riot. Only one person was killed - an unarmed woman, Ashli Babbitt, shot dead by a Capitol police officer. Cynical lies by the J6 committee. There was a point to be made but they have overreached beyond the limits of farce.” [Twitter, 7/21/22]
    • While discussing the hearings, Hannity pivoted to condemn the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. He asked the January 6 committee to investigate the two-year-old protests against racial violence. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/21/22]
  • Dismissing the hearings as boring and old news

  • A common refrain from right-wing media personalities was that the hearings were uninteresting and didn’t reveal any new information to the public, even though each hearing aired a wealth of never-before-seen testimony. Despite the hearings drawing millions of viewers, right-wing media figures insisted that the American public was uninterested in the testimony from those involved with or affected by January 6. Notable examples include:

  • Fox host Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard with a chyron reading: "Liz Cheney kicks off hearing with boring remarks"
    • Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum claimed that the hearings were not adding anything new. She said, “I don't think there was a lot of new ground that was really pushed here in terms of things we haven't seen.” [Fox Business, special coverage of the January 6 hearings, 6/9/22]
    • Fox host Howard Kurtz commented that the first hearing was not grabbing people’s attention, saying that the public had experienced enough “speechifying on the subject.” He tweeted, “The committee has a few precious moments to grab the attention of millions of casual viewers. I don’t think a history-lesson speech by Bennie Thompson is the way to go. We’ve had enough speechifying the subject.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Conservative radio host Clay Travis called the hearing “the most boring TV show opening in American history.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Newsmax’s Greg Kelly called the hearing a “scam,” adding, “These SNIPPETS of people's RECOLLECTIONS mean NOTHING.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • OAN host Liz Wheeler remarked that she was bored by the first hearing. She tweeted, “Wow this is SNORE. I honestly expected more from these lying, hate-filled hacks. But they've got... nothing. Yes, we know you hate Trump. Yes, we know you (naively) deny that voter fraud exists. Yes, we know you want to criminalize free speech. But do you have to be SO BORING?!” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Far-right troll Mike Cernovich tweeted, “This isn’t good TV. - Filmmaker who people actually watch.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Red State editor Jennifer Van Laar commented the hearing was “boring AF” and a “cringefest.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Kurtz remarked on what he viewed as old information during the hearing. He tweeted, “In 40 minutes I've learned 2 new facts: that Barr used ‘bull’ in talking to Trump, and that Ivanka says she respected Barr's findings. I don't get this approach of we're going to tell you this and that. But the hearing isn't aimed at journalists who've closely followed this.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway remarked on the length of the hearing, tweeting, “Is the Soviet-style show trial still going on?” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Fox host Sean Hannnity stated that the hearings were “so underwhelming” and “didn't come close to even capturing my interest.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/9/22]
    • Fox host Laura Ingraham called opening remarks from Rep. Benny Thompson (D-MS) ended up being a "​​12-minute snooze fest" and characterized the hearing as “bad programming.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 6/9/22]
    • Disgraced former Fox host Bill O’Reilly claimed that the hearing was inconsequential. He tweeted, “Nothing much from the January 6 spectacle. So lame the press is actually reporting that Trump wanted Pence 'hung.' No mention of the former president's penchant for hyperbole. Absurd.” [Twitter, 6/9/22
    • Brit Hume, a Fox political analyst, complained that the first hearing was only “rehashing of events we already knew about.” Hume said, “There was not really, except for some details, a speck of news in what the committee presented the other day.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/13/22]
    • Kurtz tweeted that the hearing “features a lot of dry legal talk from slow talking lawyers so lacks drama.” [Twitter, 6/16/22
    • Hannity downplayed bombshell January 6 testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson. He said on his radio show, “We didn't learn one new thing today.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/28/22]
    • MacCallum claimed the testimony about Trump’s angry response to not being taken to the Capitol was not shocking. She told the Fox News panel, “I'm not sure that it really shocks anybody that the president just, you know, knowing what we've seen, observing him over the years, if he got angry that he might throw his lunch.” [Fox News, America Reports, 6/28/22]
    • Kurtz described the hearing as “way too much congressional speechifying.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • Fox News contributor Leo Terrell tweeted, “Attention January 6th Fake Committee: Americans are not listening to you!” [Twitter, 7/12/22
    • FoxNews.com columnist David Marcus responded sarcastically to the hearings, tweeting: “Now we are hearing the opinion of a former anonymous Twitter employee who thinks Donald Trump is bad. Riveting…” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • Breitbart’s Joel Pollak said that the hearings did not meet the expectations set by the committee. He tweeted, “Thus far we’ve seen no evidence linking the Trump White House to the far right. That’s how this #January6thCommiteeHearing was billed, including by @cspan, but there’s nothing there.” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • Conservative writer R.J. Kassam framed the revelations as uninteresting. He tweeted: “So the big reveal is that they wanted to do another rally that night but hadn’t applied for the proper DC city permits. Wow. What a coup!” [Twitter, 7/12/22]
    • Fox host Jesse Watters said that “people aren't really paying close attention” to the January 6 hearings. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 7/21/22]
    • Right-wing commentator Benny Johnson called the hearing a “waste of time.” He wrote in a tweet: “It’s such a serious committee that they’re laughing at videos from that day that actually dispute their narrative. What a sham and waste of time.” [Twitter, 7/21/22]
  • Dismissing the hearings as a “distraction” from other issues

  • Many on the right have dismissed the importance of the January 6 committee hearings, portraying other issues — such as inflation or the economy — as more important or pressing, even claiming that Democrats and the media were ignoring those issues in order to focus on the hearings. Notable examples include:

  • A Fox News chyron reading: "Dems focus on riot but ignore Kavanaugh plot"
    • Fox News anchor Dana Perino claimed the January 6 committee hearings are meant to “distract from other issues.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/9/22]
    • NewsBusters’ Curtis Houck claimed that it is “hard to care” about January 6 given other pressing issues. He tweeted, “Yeah, sorry not sorry and call me an insurrectionist, but it's hard to care about this whole thing when people from the lowest rungs to beyond the middle class are struggling to make ends meet with inflation and record gas prices.” [Twitter, 6/9/22]
    • Perino and Fox anchor Bill Hemmer accused Democrats of burying a plot to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh while they focused on the January 6 committee. Perino claimed, “Democrats are largely ignoring the threat of another violent assault, this one focused on the judiciary.” Hemmer then criticized Pelosi for allegedly delaying legislation that would protect the justices. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/13/22
    • Conservative columnist David Limbaugh pivoted to criticizing Biden. After a Twitter user said he was deflecting, he added, “It is absolutely not a deflection. What would I be deflecting from? Dems have milked this January 6 thing beyond ridiculousness. They don’t stand a chance of making political hay with this so I’m annoyed, not worried. My annoyance is that we’re ignoring REAL threats to America.” [Twitter, 6/13/22, 6/13/22]
    • Limbaugh also claimed the hearings were distracting from more important issues. He tweeted: “Think about what we’re to ourselves as a country. Sitting around navel gazing about a hyper-inflated event while we just go straight to hell — arguably on purpose. I’m not worried about Republicans regaining power. I’m worried that it will be too late to reverse this hell.” [Twitter, 6/13/22]
    • Conservative commentator Mercedes Schlapp claimed that the hearings were focused on the wrong issues. She tweeted: “Focus of the liberal media and the democrats: January 6th. They are NOT focused on inflation, potential recession, high gas prices, high food prices and the stock market losses.” [Twitter, 6/13/22]
    • Fox host Mark Levin urged his radio listeners to not watch the hearing and “instead, watch me on Hannity." Levin laughed at the idea of the hearing, adding, “​​I'm laughing because how outrageous this whole thing is, this committee stuff. Still waiting for facts.” [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 7/21/22]
    • Fox Host Sean Hannity tweeted that Democrats are “obsessed” with the hearings. He tweeted: “DEMS OBSESSED WITH 1/6: Americans are struggling to pay for everyday necessities, but the Democrats just want to talk about January 6th!” [Twitter, 7/21/22]