OUR LOGIC, OUR FACTS: Can we put our faith in our tribe's Storylines?


What Ingraham and Hannity said: Late at night—actually, in the wee hours of morning—highly credentialed major experts keep telling us the same thing.

It always happens when our species stages its tribal wars, these disconsolate anthropologists say:

The warring tribes always invent their own brands of logic.  They also invent their own facts.

We thought of these despondent scholars when we watched Morning Joe this morning. Early in the opening segment, Willie did it again!

Mockingly, Willie said that the hapless Mark Meadows has said "his own book was fake news." Moments later, Joe happily chimed in:

As Willie said, he called his own book fake news, the corporate cable star said. Meadows is "going crazy," Joe enjoyably said.

We're sorry, but Meadows didn't call his own book fake news. He said that about a certain interpretation of something his book said—and interpretation he said was wrong. 

(What did he actually say in his book? Concerning that unresolved point, our pundit class has moved on.)

At times like these, tribal players like Willie and Joe will just keep inventing facts—and they'll keep reciting those facts.  And no:

Unless you choose to be a true believer, you can't assume the accuracy of your own tribe's facts. 

You can't believe your own tribe's facts. Beyond that, you can't assume the validity of your own tribe's logic. Major experts have said this again and again, and we've come to believe those experts.

We mention this because of some things we saw on cable last night. The presentations contradicted one our tribe's most recent Storyline, the Storyline which gave rise to such tribal facts as the facts on display below.

Below, you see part of a news report by the Washington Post's Jeremy Barr. Barr cited the texts three Fox News host sent to Meadows on January 6. He compared those texts with the things these Fox News stars were allegedly saying in public.

Barr included our tribe's favorite new facts, and a bit of bungled logic. Those facts and that logic emerged full-blown from the head of Storyline:

BARR (12/14/21): Three Fox News hosts who have been among Donald Trump’s most ardent media boosters were so horrified by the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that they begged the then-president’s chief of staff to convince him to intercede, according to newly aired messages from that day.


But the texts stand in contrast with some of the messages that Ingraham, Hannity and Kilmeade sent to Fox News viewers in appearances on the night of Jan. 6.

While Ingraham that afternoon called the attack “disgraceful” and said that “the president needs to tell everyone to leave the building,” later that night, she suggested on-air that some of the rioters might have been left-wing agitators rather than Trump supporters. “I have never seen Trump rally attendees wearing helmets, black helmets, brown helmets, black backpacks—the uniforms you saw in some of these crowd shots,” she said.

Kilmeade made a similar point in an appearance that night on Fox. “I do not know Trump supporters that have ever demonstrated violence that I know of in a big situation,” he said.

While Hannity expressed his displeasure with the riot—“I don’t want to ever see our Capitol building breached like this ever again”—he also cast doubt about whether Trump supporters were largely responsible. Of the Jan. 6 participants, Hannity said that “the majority of them were peaceful.” 

The Fox hosts were saying one thing in private, but something else on the air! At present, it's our tribe's favorite Storyline—but can we believe our tribe's facts?

Let's start with a point of logic. Let's start with Barr's logic concerning what Hannity said.

According to Barr, Hannity "cast doubt about whether Trump supporters were largely responsible" for the January 6 riot. According to Barr, he did so by saying that "the majority of [the January 6 participants] were peaceful."

We'd call that logic tribal. Stating the obvious, the majority of people who gathered for the original January 6 rally didn't end up engaging in mayhem at the Capitol. 

Surely, no one thinks different. If that's what Hannity said that night, it wouldn't contradict his private text to Meadows at all.

Is that what Hannity was saying when he made the quoted statement? We haven't seen a full transcript or tape of his January 6 program, so we can't tell you that—but based upon the evidence he presents, Barr's logic is very flimsy.

We can tell you this:

Last night, Hannity played videotape of some of the things he said on his Fox News program that night. That evening, for example, Hannity said this:

HANNITY (1/6/21): Let me stop here and be crystal clear. Those who truly support President Trump, those that believe they are part of the conservative movement in this country, you do not, we do not support those that commit acts of violence. 

They—people, we don't believe, should be vandalizing our nation's Capitol, attacking the brave women and men that keep us safe in law enforcement. And all of today's perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But every good and decent American we know will and must condemn what happened at the Capitol. And moving forward, we have got to do a dramatically better job protecting the innocent men and women who work there. We've got to protect our law enforcement officers. We've got to protect every single elected member of the Congress and Senate. This is not politics. They deserve to be protected.

What else did Hannity say that night? We haven't been able to find a full tape or a full transcript. But if you've listened to our own tribe's latest messaging, that statement may perhaps be surprising—and it's completely consistent with the text Hannity sent to Meadows earlier in the day.

We have found a videotape of Ingraham's full program that night. As it turns out, she did call the riot "disgraceful," as Barr conceded. (Quite a few guests concurred.)

She did so in an interview with none other than Kevin McCarthy! At minute 28 of the tape, the interview starts like this:

MCCARTHY (1/6/21): I will tell you, what happened today was not right. It was un-American. And, to me, it was the worst of America if you saw that. 

Thus spake the earnest minority leader on that very night. A few minutes later, this: 

MCCARTHY: When you sit back and look, we've got FBI running through here, it's part like a crime scene. Because whoever stormed inside our offices and rammaged [sic] different parts, they need to be prosecuted. That's wrong. And that's not who we are as Americans.

INGRAHAM: No. It's disgraceful.

That said, is it true that Ingraham "suggested on-air that some of the rioters might have been left-wing agitators rather than Trump supporters?" 

We'll start by noting that "suggested" and "some" are highly elastic words. At any rate, that's the one charge Barr managed to lodge against Ingraham's allegedly two-faced performance. But did she actually do that?

Having watched the full hour, we'd start by saying no. We'd call that a highly selective assessment.

Several of her numerous guests did suggest that Antifa may have been involved. At a few junctures, Ingraham alluded to some such emerging reports.

That said, she also directly pushed back against the emerging claim at one point in the broadcast (minute 46). She cited an experienced observer who said it wasn't them:

INGRAHAM: Now Andy Ngo, who covers Antifa, Chris, I know you know of him, independent journalist. He was there at the Capitol, right in the mix. He said—[correcting herself] Yeah, he wasn't there, he was looking at the images, excuse me, of today. He said he doesn't think it's Antifa. 

In that way, Ingraham pushed back against the emerging claim, a claim the red tribe would find pleasing.

How about it? Did Ingraham really "suggest on-air that some of the rioters might have been left-wing agitators rather than Trump supporters?" 

In our view, that's a remarkably selective account of the hour. But according to experts, this is what happens whenever our species starts to stage one of its tribalized wars.

Last night, Ingraham showed the statements she tweeted for all to see during the actual riot—public tweets which were completely consistent with the text she sent to Meadows at the same time. Also, she played some clips of what she actually said on the air that night.

There was much she said that night with which a blue tribe voter may not agree. But if you've been watching our own tribe's hacks assemble our own tribe's latest facts, you might be surprised by large amounts of what she and Hannity actually said that afternoon and evening.

No, Virginia! We're sorry, but Meadows actually didn't call his own book fake news. The fraudsters who are hired to please our floundering tribe have simply been telling us that.

They may even believe the things they say. That's how tribal we "rational animals" have always been, and still are.

Concerning Ingraham and Hannity on the evening of January 6, we will tell you this:

They offered frameworks and points of view with which you may not agree. In our opinion, the principal framework to which we refer—it involves the widespread looting and arson of the previous year—isn't completely crazy.

In our view, they have a point.

That framework isn't completely crazy, but it isn't our tribe's Storyline. And at tribally segregated times like these, you know where that leads—to a Babel of "logic" and "facts."

Can we believe our own tribe's facts? Can we trust our own tribe's logic?

Tomorrow: Still hoping to reach Drum's distinctions

Other invented facts: Last Wednesday night, Our Own Rhodes Scholar invented some wonderfully pleasing facts. 

She and her useless staff of twenty pulled those facts out of their ascots. For our final report on this ultimate nonsense, you can just click here.

Can you believe this Rhodes scholar's facts? How about Brian Stelter's?

How about Joe and Willie's facts? They're an entertaining buddy team, but whose facts can you believe?


  1. tldr, but as usual, thank you, dear Bob, for documenting a tiny portion of the recent liberal-goebbelsian atrocities.

    Anyhow: "Can we put our faith in our tribe's Storylines?" you ask.

    Not only you can, dear Bob -- you do. Otherwise, you and your comrades -- 25% of the US adults altogether -- would've immediately stopped self-identifying as 'liberal'.

  2. Anyone who isn't a bigot, or isn't perfectly fine with bigotry, left the Republican Party more than two decades ago.

    1. This is ad hominem attack and does not deal with the subject at hand. Likely because the source of this silly outburst has no facts or arguments. It is an infant banging its spoon on the highchair.

  3. So partisan cable TV stations devote air time to criticizing other partisan cable TV stations. What a waste. It just isn't important news that FOXNews thinks CNN is inaccurate or vice versa.

    1. So you’re saying Somerby’s post is pointless and a waste of time.

    2. Good one, mh :)

      Of course your aware that the the lies told by CNN and FoxNews about each other aren't important. The fact that they tell these malicious lies is important. The lies promote viewership, but at the cost of promoting group hatred.

  4. ...what about that CNN senior producer in the news, dear Bob?

    Tsk. What a story, eh? We bet he's extremely good at toeing your cult's party line.

  5. Somerby asks whether we can trust our own tribe's facts and logic. Does he mean to say that people just blindly follow their tribes?

    In my experience, people are testing facts against their own experiences, including the various sources they read, few of which are official tribe bulletins. We use our own logic to think about what we hear. The more broadly we sample information and think about things, including discussing what we read with trusted others, the more we arrive at our own conclusions and develop our own ideas. I don't see anyone just repeating what he or she hears on MSNBC or CNN. I don't know whether folks blindly repeat what they hear on Fox News though. Maybe Somerby's beliefs about how people think come from the Fox audience, not the left?

    It seems like, not only does Somerby want to undermine faith in what is said by Maddow and others on cable news, but he wants to undermine our faith in our own thinking, our own logic. I am resistant to that because I live inside my own head and I disagree that his criticisms apply to how my mind works. His repeated assertions that WE think some particular way, strike me as attempted gaslighting.

    If you think about it, Somerby says awful things about the way his own readers approach the world. He doesn't know any of us, so he has no basis for doing that. That makes it all the more likely that he is working hard to undermine the left, not just journalists but also each of us who reads his blog. Who does that? Not anyone who wishes us well.

  6. Politics is not tribal warfare. The right wing invented that idea and it is wrong. That Somerby repeats this right-wing meme here shows where Somerby is coming from.

    Somerby doesn't know any scholars, much less anthropologists. This is a conceit of his, and it is tired and wrong. Someone coming here for the first time will have a very hard time figuring out what Somerby means when he says this crap. It has become so personal to him that it resembles stream-of-consciousness schizophrenic ideation. In Somerby's case, it doesn't matter if what he says makes sense, as long as it is negative toward the left and his other targets (journalists, professors, women, black professionals, Maddow specifically and other gay cable news hosts).

    It is time for Somerby to find a different hobby (or is it a job?).

  7. https://aaronrupar.substack.com/p/mark-meadows-texts-fox-news-anchors-january-6?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxMTM1MDIsInBvc3RfaWQiOjQ1NDc3NzIyLCJfIjoiRW8rcUciLCJpYXQiOjE2Mzk1OTQ2NjQsImV4cCI6MTYzOTU5ODI2NCwiaXNzIjoicHViLTUwMTQyMyIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.7rKgPk92I3TDLOj8ShLXVJDph_frhdBGm0V9Bhm6VO4

    It took Fox News almost a full day to come up with a way to spin revelations that prominent anchors texted Mark Meadows on January 6 and pleaded with him to persuade then-President Trump to do something about the attack on the Capitol — only to go on the air that day and try and shift blame to anyone but Trump. And when Fox finally did figure out talking points to explain that disconnect, they weren’t particularly persuasive.

    Why should anyone care? Fox News spinning and making weak arguments in service of Trump isn’t really notable at this point, after all. But the January 6 double talk by Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set the tone for the Republican Party’s line about January 6, and no doubt played a role in convincing many of its viewers that Trump’s coup attempt was actually no big deal.

    As I detailed yesterday, texts released by the January 6 committee on Monday evening fully revealed the cynicism involved in Fox News’s effort over the past year to reframe a violent attack by Trump supporters to overturn the 2020 election results as the work of antifa or a trap set by FBI agents. Hannity, Ingraham, and Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade all tried to absolve Trump and his supporters of blame on the air, while privately making clear that they believed he was responsible and had the power to stop it.

    “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote to Meadows as the Capitol was being ransacked. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”

    That message shows that Ingraham rightfully placed blame on Trump for inciting the violent unrest. But hours later, she went on TV and sang a very different tune, saying “there are some reports that antifa was sprinkled throughout the crowd.”

  8. This is what is important, not this bullshit Somerby is trying distract everyone with:

    “All of my colleagues, all of them knew that what happened on January 6th was an assault on the constitution. They knew it at the time yet now they are defending the indefensible… How we address January 6th is moral test of our generation.”

    — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), on the House floor.