Fox News was never going to cover Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial on any level. The network’s anchors worked overtime in the days following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to downplay the incident, the motives of the people involved, and the president’s role in creating it. Naturally, with the Senate finally hearing and seeing evidence directly implicating the president, Fox News decided to keep its viewers in the dark.
Fox not airing the House Dems now presenting new Capitol security footage of the Jan. 6 attack; CNN and MSNBC are airing the proceedings
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 10, 2021
For Fox’s purposes, it was probably a good decision—the evidence the House managers presented Wednesday was damning. Lawmakers were silent and some were visibly emotional as video of the riot were played before them. The managers made a pretty clear case linking the president’s words and actions to the riot itself. The task wasn’t particularly hard, given all the speeches and rallies leading up to the fateful day. But seeing it all laid out in a clear, linear timeline makes it all the more obvious. It’s the kind of evidence bad faith actors can’t argue around without doing serious rhetorical gymnastics or spewing conspiracy theories. Fox News has no shortage of that either.
This is infowars shit, just a completely batshit conspiracy theory blasted into your meemaws face pic.twitter.com/pjHzzeo5At
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 11, 2021
During his prime time show, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that House managers were “flat out lying” about what happened during the Capitol riot before launching into full conspiracy mode. Carlson said the lies during the impeachment trial resembled the lies told by Black Lives Matter and “their sponsors in corporate America” as they “completely changed this country” and “upend our society.” He then reiterated the debunked claim that George Floyd, an unarmed, innocent Black man murdered by Derek Chauvin and the Minneapolis Police Department, died of a drug overdose. That served as a right-wing talking point used to delegitimize BLM protests last summer. More than half a year later, it’s still being parroted Fox News as “evidence” of Democrats lying to destroy American society.
None of this is exactly shocking coming from Fox News. They lied and conspiracy-theorized their way through Trump’s entire presidency, so why should his impeachment trial be any different? A network’s decision of what not to show is almost as significant as what they do, and it’s obvious Fox doesn’t want its viewers seeing a single thing implicating the president’s guilt. Wednesday was as clear an example as you’ll ever see of the allegorical cave Fox puts its audience in. As long as they have plenty of lies and conspiratorial garbage to gum up the works, no one inside will notice.