The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection held another hearing Monday morning, revealing more about how former President Donald Trump became “detached from reality” in his attempts to hold on to power after losing the 2020 election. While Fox News carried the hearing live for its daytime programming, its sister channel Fox Business carried a variety of political counterprogramming — sometimes openly declaring its intention to deflect from the committee’s findings about the insurrection and Trump’s attempt to overturn American democracy.
The committee’s hearing was originally scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, but was delayed following the news that one witness, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, had been granted leave from the hearing in order to attend the birth of his child. The hearing instead began approximately 45 minutes late, and finished for the day at around 1 p.m. ET. During each of those three hours of committee-related programming, the Fox Business Network pushed a variety of right-wing political spin about inflation, immigration, and the Supreme Court.
Early in the 10 a.m. hour, at around the time the committee had originally been scheduled to begin, Fox Business host Stuart Varney spoke with Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy about inflation. Campos-Duffy declared that voters were “not going to be fooled” in the midterm elections, as she wrongly attributed inflation to Biden’s “green energy policies,” which she described as “this new religion that the left has taken on.” (Fox has waged a propaganda campaign blaming Biden for high gas prices, while deliberately playing down both the effects of international sanctions against Russia and price gouging by the oil industry.)
Additionally, Varney and Campos-Duffy insisted that inflation was a far more important issue than an attempted coup against American democracy. “One last point, in all the people you spoke to, did anybody mention January the 6?” Varney asked.
“Not one, Not one,” Campos-Duffy replied. “They said inflation, at the top of their agenda.”
During the 11 a.m. hour, Varney ran a segment on Fox’s perennial election year topic of migrant caravans, featuring a report from Fox’s anti-migrant mouthpiece Bill Melugin followed by a discussion with National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd. (The actual substance of the reports involved instances of migrants being lawfully intercepted by authorities in either Mexico or Texas, but this process did not stop Varney from declaring that “the chaos continues.”)
And in the 12 p.m. hour, with Fox Business correspondent Jackie DeAngelis guest-hosting on Cavuto: Coast to Coast, the program discussed the Supreme Court’s expected decision in which it will overturn the abortion rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade. While there are indeed aspects of this story that would be relevant to financial news — for example, the plans by multiple U.S. companies to pay for employees’ travel costs in order to obtain an abortion or the decision’s impact on the economy — the Fox Business segment did not discuss any of that, instead focusing on political protests against the justices involved in an unprecedented rollback of constitutional rights.
While she was at it, DeAngelis also found a way to criticize the January 6 hearings. “You know, it’s interesting, because we're watching the January 6 hearings take place right now,” she said. “And at the same time, you know, we’re looking backwards into something that happened in this country instead of, sometimes, focusing on what’s happening in front of us right now. It is illegal to protest at the home of a Supreme Court justice, yet nothing happened here.”
This programming arrangement was a reversal of last week’s scheduling on Fox’s part. When the committee’s hearing ran in prime time last Thursday, Fox’s main channel broadcast political vitriol against the hearing, while Fox Business carried the hearing along with purported news commentary meant to play down the committee’s revelations and to continue legitimizing Trump’s election lies.