WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2021
That's just the way humans work: Is our latest Storyline accurate? On January 6, did Hannity and Ingraham betray their genuine concern in private texts to Mark Meadows, then play a different game on the air that night?
Everybody has voiced some version of the latest hot claim, including the Post's Jeremy Barr. When we fact-checked Barr's specific complaints, we didn't think they held up real well.
Having said that, so what? The basic rule of the journalism game has been clear for decades. The basic rule goes like this:
Once a script has been put in place, everyone simply recites it. For example, this is the way Zack Beauchamp began his report on this topic for Vox:
BEAUCHAMP (12/14/21): As the Capitol riot unfolded on January 6, Fox News hosts knew exactly how bad things were.
“The president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy,” Laura Ingraham texted to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. “Please, get him on TV—[the riot is] destroying everything you accomplished,” Brian Kilmeade wrote to Meadows. “Can he make a statement, ask people to leave the Capitol?” wrote Sean Hannity in yet another Meadows text.
The texts, revealed during a Monday hearing of the House January 6 Commission, were at odds with the hosts’ on-air comments on the night of the attack. Ingraham suggested that “antifa supporters” may have been responsible for the violence. Kilmeade took a similar line: “I do not know Trump supporters that have ever demonstrated violence that I know of in a big situation.” Hannity, for his part, asserted that “the majority of them were peaceful.”
This is tangible proof that some of Fox’s marquee personalities knowingly lied to their audience about January. The lying began basically immediately, in the direct aftermath of a national tragedy.
Beauchamp offered one link in support of those claims—he linked to Barr's report. Basically, he simply paraphrased / copied what Barr had written, making things a bit more exciting by excitingly saying that Hannity and Ingraham had "knowingly lied to their audience."
Beauchamp took his mandated claims live and direct from Barr. Raise your hand if you think, for even one minute, that he did any fact-checking at all.
It was done this same way in 1999. Once the script had been established, the children all stood in line to say it:
Al Gore said he invented the Internet!
Many other mandated statements followed. George Bush ended up in the White House. The army ended up in Iraq.
It's the same familiar game in the present day. Today, though, the script tells us this:
The texts they sent to Meadows that day were at odds with their comments that night.
It doesn't much look that way to us. But this is a copying game.
Al Gore said he inspired Love Story.Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal.Al Gore hired a woman to teach him how to be a man.Al Gore doesn't know who he is.Al Gore has a problem with the truth, just like his boss, Bill Clinton.