Viewers of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Monday night would have no inkling the two were involved in an explosive revelation hours earlier from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
During a Monday meeting of the committee, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) shared a series of text messages sent from some of then-President Donald Trump’s most ardent allies at Fox News to Meadows during the riot.
In the texts, they implored Meadows to pressure Trump to stop his supporters, who were ransacking the Capitol in an effort to intimidate Congress into overturning the 2020 presidential election. The tone of the messages stood in contrast to their on-air rhetoric as the riot unfolded on live TV and afterwards. Hannity, for example, said later that day he’d heard “reports” that groups like antifa, a shorthand name for antifascist counter-demonstrators, could be the ones behind the violence.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol?” Hannity had texted Meadows during the riot.
“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham wrote.
“Please get him on TV,” the network’s Brian Kilmeade messaged. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
As the Daily Beast first reported, the subject did not come up once during Meadows’ appearance Monday on “Hannity.”
Instead, Meadows railed against the House committee investigating the attempt to overthrow the election, claiming its work was simply an effort to “go after Donald Trump” and criticized it for voting in favor of a resolution recommending criminal charges be filed against Meadows for his failure to comply with a congressional subpoena.
Hannity did find the time to bring up Cheney, though not to mention the Jan. 6 texts she had read aloud hours earlier.
“I love how Liz is now partnered with the people that called her father a war criminal, a murderer and a crook,” he complained.
Unlike other major networks, Fox News also did not show the hearing ahead of the committee’s vote.
Fox News hosts and guests have often played down the events of Jan. 6 or cast doubt about who was behind it.
Last month, Fox News host Tucker Carlson produced a documentary, “Patriot Purge,” for the Fox Nation streaming platform that included the baseless claim that the deadly attack was a “false flag” operation intended to demonize conservatives.