Despite not broadcasting the Jan. 6 hearing live, Fox News was conducting a Jan. 6 inquiry of sorts itself on Thursday night, one that the host Tucker Carlson said would reveal the truth about the event he said “was not an insurrection.”
Mr. Carlson, whose 8 p.m. show is typically the highest rated on cable news, spent a full hour — uninterrupted by commercials — belittling the Jan. 6 committee’s findings, mocking its members and comparing its work to that of a totalitarian government.
He downplayed the violence that day, calling it “forgettably minor.” He described it as mere “vandalism.”
“You know what will get you to insurrection?” he asked. “If you ignore the legitimate concerns of a population, if you brush them aside as if they don’t matter.”
As viewers on the other networks saw powerful footage from allies of former President Donald J. Trump saying that they did not agree with his claims of being cheated of victory — including his daughter, Ivanka, and the former attorney general, William P. Barr — the audience on Fox wouldn’t have known any of that was taking place. While Fox News showed a feed of the hearing room with no sound, it cut away during that testimony.
Mr. Carlson and Sean Hannity, who took over the broadcast at 9 p.m., both boasted about Fox News’s decision not to air the hearing live. Mr. Carlson said his show was “the only hour on American television that is not broadcasting unfiltered propaganda into the homes of unsuspecting viewers.”
Mr. Hannity declared in his opening monologue: “Unlike this committee and their cheerleaders in the media mob, we will actually be telling you the truth.”
Fox hosts offered their own version of events of what they said unfolded on Jan. 6 and who was at fault, even if they didn’t always agree on how serious the situation got. While Mr. Carlson spent his program dismissing the threat the rioters posed that day, Mr. Hannity said the threat was serious enough that it should have been treated as such by the United States Capitol Police and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Why didn’t they lift a finger,” Mr. Hannity asked, “to protect the Capitol?”