Analysis: Liz Cheney Says ‘People Need To Watch’ Jan. 6 Hearings, But Right-wing Media Says Otherwise

Tucker Carlson says the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 coup plot is a “totally illegitimate committee.” Laura Ingraham is having fun poking fun at this week’s “big primetime extravaganza”. Maria Bartiromo worries about the riot suspects who are still behind bars. Donald Trump calls it all “a lot of bullshit”.

That’s the reality of the news environment ahead of Thursday’s prime-time hearing. While a bipartisan committee of lawmakers tries to present the full story of 1/6 to the public, a media universe filled with Trump allies tries to do the opposite.

It’s not just that the Republican-aligned media downplays the work of the 1/6 committee or heaps skepticism on the process, though both of those things are true. It’s that the GOP’s biggest stars are calling the investigation “illegitimate” and shouting that they don’t care and ridiculing people who care and spreading conspiracy theories about the riot instead. They rejected the hearings before the hearings began.

This must be taken into account in the media coverage. Because as Tucker “Patriot Purge” Carlson goes, so does the GOP. I’m not saying the ratings aren’t relevant — I’m saying they’re important, and because they’re important, pro-Trump media figures are on the attack, and that’s a big part of the story.

For example: Will Fox News even show Thursday’s entire primetime hearing? Fox continues to decline to comment, but it’s hard to imagine Carlson giving up his airtime for an audience he calls “illegitimate.”

I searched for references to “January 6” in cable news and found over 800 mentions on MSNBC so far this year, compared to about 144 on Newsmax. And many of those comments on Newsmax were either dismissive of the riot or sympathetic to the accused rioters.

The result, then, is another American information divide – or perhaps another three-way divide, with politically engaged viewers on both sides and indifferent people in between.

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe that’s going to move the needle,” said Michael Fanone, a former DC Metropolitan Police officer who was dragged and beaten that day. Told Jim Acosta on Sunday. “I think most people in this country are indifferent to what happened on January 6, and everyone is pretty much on their side of the political aisle.”
>> Yes, political scientist Brendan Nyhan said On Sunday, the way the conclusions of the 1/6 committee are presented to the public “is a bit on the sidelines”. But there are “LOTS of unrealistic hopes being pinned on the set design at the moment”. He said the committee “struggles with structural factors that favor Republicans” plus a “media yearning for new revelations and dramas that aren’t likely to happen…”

Another challenge: short attention spans

“When the committee holds the first in a series of prime-time public hearings on Thursday,” EJ Dionne Jr. wrote in this WaPo column, “its members will battle our system’s short attention span. They will also fight back against a concerted campaign of distraction by Trump supporters and the vast majority of Republican politicians – regardless of their real view of Trump – who want to make the threat to our democracy disappear as a public issue. …”

Woodward and Bernstein’s view

The iconic journalist duo joined me on “Reliable Sources” on Sunday for a segment on the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. They talked about the “bond” they shared for decades, full of discussions and disagreements. Then we went to 1/6. “Carl and I, and our endless discussions, are in agreement … there is overwhelming evidence that this was a criminal conspiracy to overthrow a lawful office of government,” he said. said Woodward.
>> The two men wrote about it in a new preface to “All The President’s Men”. It was published by the Post on Sunday…

>> “What happened on Jan. 6? POTUS, his lawyers, his aides,” tried to stop the election “from happening,” Bernstein said. They tried to “make a coup so that Joe Biden does not become the duly elected and installed president”. He said “I think there is a misunderstanding about the enormity and the actual timeline of what happened…”

Costa’s question to Cheney

Woodward’s “Peril” co-writer Robert Costa interviewed Committee 1/6 Vice-Chair Rep. Liz Cheney for a curtain raiser on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

He asked, “Are you confident that what you’ve found, as a committee, is going to somehow grab the American people by the lapels and say, ‘Wake up: you have to do Warning” ?

“I am,” she said…”The threat, and it’s an ongoing threat — you know, we’re not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any remorse about this what happened. We’re actually in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, than what caused the attack. And so, people have to be careful. People have to watch, and they need to understand how easily our democratic system can crumble if we don’t stand up for this.”

Fair – but “people need to watch” ignores the reality that large numbers of Americans will not only not watch, but will proudly display their disinterest as part of their political identity.

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