As the US watched the January 6 hearing, Fox News showed outrage – at Biden getting Covid
Fox News’ primetime stars chided Biden for contracting the virus they say he alleged couldn’t be caught with a vaccine
On Thursday night as the Congressional hearings into the January 6 Capitol riot drew to a close, Tucker Carlson directed his outrage at a president he felt had lied and was not being held accountable for falsehoods that shook popular faith in the American democratic system. But he wasn’t talking about Donald Trump inciting rioters to storm the Capitol. He was talking about Joe Biden getting Covid.
Whilemillions of people last night tuned into America’s other TV news channels and heard testimony about what Trump did, or rather did not do, during the hours when the rioters stormed the Capitol, Fox News viewers saw the network’s primetime stars Carlson and Sean Hannity chide the “twice jabbed, double-boosted” president for contracting the virus they say he alleged couldn’t be caught with a vaccine.
Carlson opened his hour-long show with a spirited takedown of Biden, scolding him for spreading the virus during his Middle East trip and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for dismissing the question of where the president might have contracted the virus. Carson joked about the possibility of him losing his sense of smell, a much-discussed Covid symptom, denying the president the pleasure of sniffing the heads of women and girls – suspect past behavior that Biden had been singled out for in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Carson further took issue with the “proof of life” pictures and video the White House posted of Biden in isolation at work, and delighted in pointing out how the president wasn’t wearing a mask in any of them. He had Yale School of Public Health epidemiologist Harvey Risch on the show to tout ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as far more effective defenses against Covid – despite considerable medical assertions to the contrary. “Doctors are more afraid of what happens if they go outside the permitted messaging,” Risch said.
“Oh man, I feel like we’re losing a lot right now,” Carlson replied. “Thank you for your bravery and your commitment to actual science.”
Science, and the left’s supposed efforts to monopolize it, was a consistent theme on both Carlson’s and Hannity’s shows. Next he questioned NBC News’ decision to air a report about women who chose to sterilize themselves in reaction to the reversal of Roe. And while it was clear that these women were making that decision as to bypass more conventional contraception options that the supreme court ruling has rendered illegal, Carson nonetheless saw this as the left pivoting from defending abortion to attacking fertility – a rebellion against family values that was of a piece with a larger corporate agenda. “Civilizational suicide” was the phrase he used to sum it all up.
Still, the radio host Dana Loesch was quick to dismiss the decision of these women as no great loss. “Republicans will go out and have more babies,” she said, “How about that.”
It wasn’t until about halfway through the show that Carson acknowledged that a significant portion of the country might be watching something else – not that he felt they especially needed to. “You all know what happened,” he said. “Some guy in Viking horns on mushrooms wandered around and made weird noises, and that was kind of it.” He put down the hearings as “more lifestyle liberal narcissism. That’s really the key to everything”.
The show reached peak irony when Missouri Senator Josh Hawley appeared to discuss a Fox News story about undocumented Americans gaining access to free flights by presenting their arrest warrants as identification. Of course at around the same time Hawley was grandstanding on Fox News, the January 6 committee was presenting footage of him running from a pro-Trump mob he also egged on – footage that quickly made him a social media meme.
“So much for Joe Biden and Doctor Fauci’s science,” snarled Hannity, who underscored Biden’s Covid reveal with an embarrassing picture of the president shrouding his whole face behind a mask. But unlike Carson, he actually spent quite a bit of airtime acknowledging the January 6 hearings – and debunking them as a complete waste of time. “Unsurprisingly, they did not establish a criminal case or reveal new, damning or incriminating evidence of President Trump as they promised they would,” said Hannity – who, of course, is extremely friendly with and a fierce defender of the former president. “A perfect example of people overpromising and not delivering. Kind of like the Trump-Russia collusion.”
He skewered the committee for not calling the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, or Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to testify about the lack of security at the Capitol while suggesting a slew of crude reinforcements that might’ve kept the mob at bay. Hannity raged at the committee for bringing in “hearsay witnesses” and presenting evidence that fit a predetermined, anti-Trump narrative. And then heasked why no Secret Service agents were called to testify, conveniently leaving out the part where they submitted a single text message to the committee after deleting all their exchanges from that day.
But Hannity’s main takeaway was that the Capitol riots, while bad, paled in comparison to the Black Lives Matter protests that overwhelmed American cities during “the summer of 2020”. He argued that more needed to be done to avoid a repeat of the fiery violence that “peaceful protestors” had inflicted on police, businesses and civic institutions while showing clips of Schumer, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and other prominent Democrats stoking that rage as Trump stands accused of doing. “Equal justice is dead in this country right now,” fumed former Trump aide Stephen Miller. “What we have is third-world justice.”