"I for one am shocked Fox News hosts were saying stuff in private different to what they say in public. Shocked," Mehdi Hasan said last night on MSNBC.
"We have the president of Media Matters joining me now. Angelo Carusone, the Fox News hosts Liz Cheney quoted are very pro Trump, I think it is fair to say, but even they were worried in private about what was happening January 6th. That is a big deal, is it not, that they were in contact with the White House chief of staff asking him to get Trump to call off the mob?"
"It is a big deal because for two reasons. One, this is a stunning illustration, and it is rare to use the word stunning in relation to something Fox does, but this is a stunning illustration of the Trump-Fox feedback loop because it shows in real time on January 6th they knew there was a problem," Carusone said.
"They tried to protect and advise Trump to address that problem in real time. Then, after January 6th, they ran cover for him and to this day continue to rewrite history. The second reason is that we actually have their words that they were saying on air at the same time they were sending these messages."
Hasan then rolled tape.
Now the Democrats' case rests on two incredibly flawed and extremely weak arguments. Now the first that the president said, 'fight like hell' and those words are unacceptable and they incited an insurrection on January 6th.
The core claim of Democrats' impeachment article is that Trump's speech incited the January 6th riot. His speech on January 6th.
Fight like hell.
Well, it's language that they've used, that Republicans have used, big deal. Shows nothing.
"There is a word for what we just saw. It is gaslighting. Now thanks to the texts, we have the clear evidence for that gaslighting," Hasan said.
"That's right. On January 6th itself, the same day they were sending these text messages, all three of these individuals, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Brian Kilmeade went on Fox News and while they were telling Donald Trump he needed to call off his supporters, they were telling Fox News viewers and the American public by extension that the people that were actually attacking the Capitol were not Donald Trump supporters, but actually secretly antifa or Black Lives Matter. Laura Ingraham called in. Sean Hannity did a show that night. Brian Kilmeade did the same thing. So they recognized in real time that this was actually Trump supporters and yet they spent an enormous amount of effort that very day lying, explicitly saying and blaming this on antifa and Black Lives Matter," Carusone said.
"So I want everyone to carry on watching MSNBC tonight as they will. I know your organization monitors Fox News and watches their shows. I'll ask you a question. Tonight at 9:00, is Sean Hannity going to address his role in all of this? Is Laura Ingraham going to address her role in all this? I'm not holding my breath," Hasan said.
Carusone said they will wait "until they have a chance to deflect and attack. If they can't find an effective deflection, they will just ignore it and instead direct their audience's ire toward something else."
"And that's actually the part about this that is so scary is, not only does it illustrate the brazenness by which they're willing to lie, deceive people, it is one thing if it happened after the fact they were trying to rewrite history and engage in political cover-up, but the idea that at the same time they were texting Mark Meadows they were actually spinning something totally different for their viewers is stunning. But beyond that it shows we are in an environment right now where impunity is what is in control. That's scary. Because an environment where there is impunity means you start to have no rule of law and you basically have authoritarianism."
"One thing that is slightly reassuring from all the texts, in a weird kind of way the silver lining to this cloud is that, you know, I look at these polls saying Republicans say, well it wasn't that bad on 1-6. They were all patriots, all tourists. It wasn't violent. It was antifa. Then I think, well, do they really believe this stuff? It turns out the people at the top don't believe this stuff. They know the truth."
"I hope that this is a little bit different than the way it plays out with the covid disinformation, right? Because while at the same time these very same people are telling people not to get vaccines and not to wear masks, we all know they're well vaccinated and making sure they're protecting themselves and their families."
"That disconnect, I hope in this one instance that disconnect actually doesn't apply. That the fact that it is actually Fox hosts Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade acknowledging it was Trump supporters perpetuating this attack, maybe it resonates differently. I really hope this is different. Part of this is going to depend on all of us, the American public."