WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2021
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?