... Rep. Liz Cheney revealed that some of Fox's biggest stars pressed Mark Meadows for help during the siege of the Capitol.Stelter states the obvious:
"Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home," Laura Ingraham texted Meadows. "This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy."
... On Monday, Cheney read two other texts from Fox stars to Meadows from 1/6. One was from Brian Kilmeade: "Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished." The other was from Sean Hannity: "Can he make a statement, ask people to leave the Capitol?"
... Cheney shared just a tiny sampling on Monday. But the tiny sampling is deeply embarrassing for Fox and the Murdochs. As Maggie Haberman said, this "undercuts efforts by everyone whose name she read who might say Jan. 6 wasn't that bad."
When [Ingraham] wrote "this is hurting all of us," I'm certain she wasn't thinking about America or the rule of law. She was thinking about "us" in the Trump-controlled Republican party.But Ingraham was wrong -- it wasn't bad for them. The Republican Party regained its swagger almost immediately, as did Fox News. Ingraham and Kilmeade were wrong to worry about Trump's legacy -- Trump is on track to be the next president of the United States. The GOP is likely to have total control of the federal government by 2025.
The Fox hosts were wrong because they thought the attack would disgust people across the political spectrum, like 9/11 or Sandy Hook. But then, a few hours after sending those texts, the hosts did what right-wingers always do at fraught moments: they began writing the narrative before anyone else did. Stelter portrays this as an act of desperation:
... by the night of 1/6, Ingraham was spouting conspiracy theories about "ANTIFA" and excusing the peaceful "patriots" who, let's be clear, paraded into DC based on a lie she pushed over and over again. Fox's pro-Trump programming was partly to blame for the Big Lie, so when that lie led to violence, of course some of the hosts panicked and tried to put out the fire.But even if it was done out of fear, the rewrite of the narrative worked. And the Fox hosts should have known it would work. Democrats were appalled by January 6 -- that meant, automatically, that the Fox audience would have to disagree with the Democrats.
... Hannity and Ingraham also continued to lie about the election and strongly suggest that leftists were to blame for the Capitol chaos. And many Fox hosts have bashed other media outlets for continuing to report on the prosecutions and the probes -- in other words, for continuing to care about the terror. The memory-holing effort has been so extensive precisely because figures like Ingraham knew how bad it was.
The right had turned 9/11 and Sandy Hook into narratives of evil Democrats vs. patriotic Republicans, so why were Fox hosts even momentarily worried that their skills would fail them after 1/6?
The Fox stars sent their texts, then their training and instincts kicked in. They needed several narratives, which contradicted one another -- the riot wasn't violent, it was violent but for good reasons, it was violent because Antifa and the FBI were agents provocateurs. But as soon as Democrats got angry about 1/6, Fox and the GOP, predictably, were in the clear.