IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Fox News' Jan. 6 disinformation started well before the hearings

After spreading election lies that fueled the Capitol riot, Fox News won’t be airing the first Jan. 6 committee hearing Thursday.

In the weeks following the 2020 election, left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters documented that Fox News programming cast doubt on the election result “nearly 800 times.” Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that, unlike most major networks, Fox News will not be airing the first hearing to be held Thursday by the House Jan. 6 committee, which will present findings about the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol to prevent the congressional certification of then President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and the efforts behind the scenes to wage a coup.

If the right-leaning audience that nightly watches Fox News were to see the findings of the Jan. 6 committee on live TV, the hope is that they would become better informed.

The committee’s 11-month investigation included interviews with hundreds of witnesses and the review of countless hours of footage and more than 100,000 documents. The goal of the upcoming hearings is to “provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multistep effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power," according to a spokesperson. But Fox News has made the call to deprive its two plus million viewers who watch the network’s prime-time lineup of that information.

Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., has painted a compelling picture about what we might see during these trials.

At an event in late April at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Raskin declared that "no president has ever come close to doing what happened here in terms of trying to organize an inside coup to overthrow an election and bypass the constitutional order."

That helps explain why major networks including MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN are prepping their prime-time lineups to air the first hearing live from gavel to gavel. While Fox News will not be providing live coverage, the hearing will be aired on its far less-watched and lower-rated network, Fox Business.

The House Jan. 6 committee is kicking off the first of its public hearings on Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET. Get expert analysis in real time on our live blog at

Fox News plans to air its usual lineup Thursday night, including featuring hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson — two people who have amplified lies about the 2020 election and downplayed the Jan. 6 attack.

Jan. 6 was an act of “domestic terrorism.” While hundreds have been arrested by the Department of Justice for their roles in the attack, there’s still much we don’t know about it or many behind-the-scenes attempts to overturn the election. Still, Fox News has chosen to shield its audience of millions from the truth.

This is dangerous to say the least. A January CBS poll found that over 40 percent of Republicans believe — falsely — that the Jan. 6 attack was carried out by leftist groups. (It was not, as fact-checkers have repeatedly confirmed.) That same poll found that only 21 percent of Republican voters view the attack as an “insurrection,” and 56 percent see it as “defending freedom.” An April poll by The New Republic found 57 percent of Republicans now view the Jan. 6 attack as an act of “patriotism.” If the right-leaning audience that nightly watches Fox News — the top ranked cable news network in the country — were to see the findings of the Jan. 6 committee on live TV, the hope is that they would become better informed, if not finally believe that what happened on Jan. 6 was the un-American act of terrorism that it truly was.

There’s a straight line from the misconceptions GOP voters hold about Jan. 6 to Fox News. (And there’s also proof that we can rectify those misconceptions, if the right resources are provided.)

As Media Matters details, “The network’s most prominent figures relentlessly attempted to subvert democracy by fueling conspiracy theories and spreading misinformation.”

“Now, tonight, millions of Americans, you do ... feel betrayed," Sean Hannity said on his show just a week after the election. "According to Politico, look at this: 70 percent of Republicans, they don’t believe this election was free, fair, and for a good reason.”

In December, he told his millions of fans, “We are tracking multiple stories, serious allegations of election irregularities all across the country tonight.” Hannity had also communicated often with Trump in the days surrounding Jan. 6, 2021, and the House committee asked him in January to cooperate with their probe. (He did not).

For his part, Carlson’s comments have included claiming that “Jan. 6 barely rates as a footnote," and that "really not a lot happened that day if you think about it." He mocked Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for expressing fear for her life when the attackers laid siege to the Capitol. He slammed GOP Sen. Ted Cruz earlier this year for stating that Jan 6 was a “terrorist attack.” Cruz later appeared on Carlson’s show to apologize for calling Jan. 6 what it really was. Carlson’s three-part series “Patriot Purge,” which aired in fall 2021, “conjured a dystopian, alternative explanation for the insurrection, centered on a mix of conspiracy theories,” according to the nonpartisan outlet Politifact.

Fox News is depriving its audience of the truth by design. If it were to air the facts, that could very well undermine the past lies broadcast by its own anchors and people beloved by its audience, like Trump.

The Jan. 6 siege is unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. It was an attack not just upon our Capitol, but upon our democratic republic, our Constitution and who we are as a nation. There are no gray areas when it comes to this. You are either with the United States of America or with those who sought to illegally keep Trump in power. Fox News has chosen a side — and it’s clearly not the side of the United States of America.