Seven of Diamonds: Laura Ingraham, “Apocalyptically Pessimistic” Fox News Host, Defended Trump’s Voter Fraud Claims Knowing They Were False

It’s important not only for Fox News viewers, but for the network’s hosts and top executives, to hear former Vice President Cheney‘s warning about the ongoing danger Donald Trump and his lies pose to our constitutional republic.” 
– Jeremy Adler, spokesman for former Vice President Dick Cheney

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/10/dick-cheney-ad-air-fox-news-bringing-stinging-crit/

 

 

  • On November 15, 2021, Laura Ingraham wrote to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity: “Sidney Power is a bit nuts. Sorry, but she is.” 

And yet . . . 

  • Ingraham vaguely blames “the corrupt voices at the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC , NBC, for ‘keep[ing] voters in the dark” about “media-driven electoral fraud”.   foxnews.com, Jan. 5, 2021.
  • She said immigration is pushing “Western Civilization” toward “tipping over a cliff.”   mediamatters.org, Mar. 28, 2019
  • She has a long history of spreading hate speech, from her prime-time Fox News show, former radio show, and, now, new podcast. Ingraham has made scores of racist and anti-immigrant statements, including echoing white supremacists.  mediamatters.org,  Jun. 6, 2019
  • When LeBron James criticized Donald Trump, Ingraham mocked James as “barely intelligible” and “ungrammatical,” and advised him to “ keep the political comments to yourself,” and “shut up and dribble.”  npr.org, Feb. 9, 2018

 

House Speaker Johnson is caught between U.S. national security and Trump.

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

 

On the Fox News Channel tonight, Laura Ingraham told Johnson she had just gotten off a phone call with Trump and Trump had told her that he was against the immigration deal and had urged Johnson to oppose it.

“He…was extremely adamant about it,” she said. Johnson agreed and said that he and Trump had been “talking about this pretty frequently.”  

 

Laura Ingraham let plenty of false claims from John Eastman fly in her two-part interview with him — except one

The falsehoods you’re allowed to tell on Fox News

[Excerpt:]

John Eastman is an attorney, but he is not a criminal defense attorney. If he were, he probably would have advised himself not to go on Fox News and offer comments about his efforts to help Donald Trump retain power after the 2020 election — comments that he could have reminded himself could be used against him by prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., where he’s been indicted on charges stemming from those efforts.

On the plus side, of course, Eastman could be confident that Fox News host Laura Ingraham would not offer a particularly grueling cross-examination of his claims. And she did not. The conversation, which aired in two parts on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, was predictably genial, with Ingraham allowing Eastman to make dubious claims without significant pushback.

The interview was revealing, though. Not necessarily in how it indicts Eastman, though we shall see on that score. Instead, it was revealing as an indictment of Fox News.

 

BATTLE HYMN

Long before Ron DeSantis made the regulation of college curricula a stump-speech talking point, WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR. launched a conservative crusade to transform universities into bastions of right-wing ideology.

SAM TANENHAUS

JUNE 2023 

https://archive.vanityfair.com/article/2023/6/battle-hymn

[Excerpt:]

Subsequent generations, many led by young journalists inspired by Buckley, followed his example, stretching the limits ever further.

In 1974, members of the Yale chapter of Young Americans for Freedom—the right-wing campus organization founded in 1960 at the Buckley family estate in Sharon, Connecticut—invited the troublesome genetic race theorist William Shockley to debate whether “society has the moral obligation to diagnose and treat tragic racial I.Q. inferiority.”

A massive protest ensued—students, Black and white, appalled that Shockley was being given a platform at Yale, filled the auditorium and drowned out Shockley by shouting and clapping. Yale’s president denounced the protesters for choosing “stormtrooper tactics in preference to freedom of speech.” (Never mind that it was the crank Shockley who advocated what he called a “voluntary” plan to pay “low-I.Q. women to undergo sterilization.”)

Out of this came a new style of speech, the right-wing meme of “free speech”—free, that is, to speak in ways all but guaranteed to stir up audiences and very possibly lead to physical harm.

In the Reagan years, activists at Dartmouth founded a publication, Dartmouth Review—the title and format modeled on Buckley’s National Review—with encouragement and support from Buckley and others. Its most ambitious editors, Dinesh D’Souza and Laura Ingraham, aimed not merely to provoke but to incite. And they could do so from the safety of an autonomous operation, independent of the college.

Thus emboldened, the editors infiltrated a meeting of the Gay Students Association, for example, and secretly taped its proceedings, leading to a criminal investigation by the New Hampshire attorney general’s office for privacy violation—this during the AIDS epidemic, when animus toward gay men had reached dangerous levels. In the end, the attorney general did not seek charges. The Review also published attacks mocking affirmative action with crude parodies of Black speech.

And thus a new idea was born—of ideological difference waged as outright warfare, a conflict in which real harm might be done, perhaps should be done. It was a battle of ideas in which trophies were won, the bright scalps of victims. Over time, these methods became more reckless. In 2014 D’Souza pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and was sentenced to five years’ probation. Ingraham, closer to our day, was one of Fox News’s 2020 Biden election deniers, even as she privately acknowledged—in telltale emails—that the claims of a fraudulent vote count were false.

From the Trump years onward, the contagion has spread, and with it has come the latest twist in the ideology of conquest.

First, it starts with creating campus tempests, sowing chaos among the libs. The word goes forth that a controversial speaker will be coming to give a lecture, triggering a backlash within the university community—for instance, the federal judge who recently clashed with law students at Stanford and became a near folk hero to conservatives, who championed him as a “canceled” martyr while the accusing students were depicted as a wild-eyed mob. In other instances, reports are leaked by students to ideologically friendly publications, such as the Washington Free Beacon, which warn against the growing specter of “woke” oppression.

The second tactic aims for permanence, appropriating the very methods and approaches that Buckley said “collectivists” were practicing in 1949, only to the opposite effect. In this case, the indoctrination comes from the right—and is even more ambitious because its intention is to infiltrate the entire structure of the educational system, top to bottom.

It begins again in Florida, where DeSantis, looking hard by all accounts at the presidency, has become the nation’s education warrior in chief, wielding his executive authority over a large system of public institutions, from preschool through universities, appropriating power in ways Buckley would never have dreamed he could—or should. The data-immersed analysts at Vox have dissected “DeSantis’s war on ‘woke’ in Florida schools” and sorted it into a catalog of proscriptions: “strict book bans in various school districts…rolling back diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; reducing tenure protections; and review[ing] core courses to make sure they’re free of ‘liberal indoctrination.’ ”

It doesn’t stop at K–12, of course. DeSantis has backed a political ally, the Senate flameout Ben Sasse, former president of a small Lutheran college in Nebraska, to be president of the University of Florida in Gainesville, at a salary of $1 million a year. DeSantis has gotten even bigger headlines for targeting New College of Florida, a tiny liberal arts school in Sarasota, a haven for students such as X González, one of the most political and vocal survivors of the horrific Parkland slaughter, now a leader in the gun control movement. With its progressive curriculum and largely left-leaning student body, New College was ripe for attack.

If DeSantis seemed to show little interest in what was going on in Ave Maria’s classrooms, he more than made up for it here, firing its president, whom he replaced (at more than double the pay) with another political crony, and adding to its board of trustees six veteran culture warriors culled from the upper tiers of the New Right brain trust.

One, Charles Kesler, comes from the Claremont Institute, the conservative West Coast stronghold that used to be aligned with Trump but has since switched to DeSantis and has opened a new office in Tallahassee. Another is Christopher Rufo, whose crusade against “critical race theory” has made him, at 38, a household name on the right. A third is Matthew Spalding, a dean at Hillsdale, the famous Michigan college, whose influence penetrates the inner sanctums of the political-cultural right. The plan, it soon emerged, was to remodel quirky “woke” New College into a Gulf Coast version of Hillsdale.

What DeSantis is doing in Florida, other governors, moguls, and cultural gadflies are constructing or contemplating in states across the nation, from the civics institute at the University of Tennessee Knoxville to a Hillsdale extension campus in Washington, DC.

 

What Fox News Hosts Said Privately vs. Publicly About Voter Fraud

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/02/25/business/media/fox-news-dominion-tucker-carlson.html

Two days after the 2020 election, Tucker Carlson was furious.

Fox News viewers were abandoning the network for Newsmax and One America News, two conservative rivals, after Fox declared that Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Arizona, a crucial swing state.

In a text message with his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, Mr. Carlson appeared livid that viewers were turning against the network. The message was among those released last week as part of a lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox. Dominion, an elections technology company, has sued Fox News for defamation.

A graphic shows a text exchange from Carlson to Pfeiffer.
Carlson to Pfeiffer
We worked really hard to build what we have … It enrages me.

At the same time, Mr. Carlson and his broadcasting colleagues expressed grave doubts about an unfounded narrative rapidly gaining momentum among their core audience: that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Democrats through widespread voter fraud. The belief was promoted by then-President Trump and a coalition of lawyers, lawmakers and influencers, though they produced no evidence to support their assertions.

Many hosts, producers and executives privately expressed skepticism about those claims, even as they gave them significant airtime, according to private messages revealed last week by Dominion. What they said in those messages often differed significantly from what Fox hosts said in public, though they weren’t always contradictory.

Two days after the election, Mr. Pfeiffer said that voices on the right were “reckless demagogues,” according to a text message. Mr. Carlson replied that his show was “not going to follow them.”

A graphic shows a text exchange between Pfeiffer and Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 5, 2020
Pfeiffer to Carlson
It’s a hard needle to thread, but I really think many on ‘our side’ are being reckless demagogues right now.
Carlson to Pfeiffer
Of course they are. We’re not going to follow them.

But he did follow them. The same day, on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Mr. Carlson expressed some doubts about the voter fraud assertions before insisting that at least some of the claims were “credible.”

A graphic of a text exchange, followed by a video clip of Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 5, 2020
Carlson: “Not all the claims are credible — some are. … Serious questions about the legitimacy of ballots remained unanswered.”

In the days and weeks that followed, Mr. Carlson was one of several Fox News hosts who repeatedly took a different tone when speaking to viewers on air than when they were talking privately.

The private conversations pose a serious legal threat to the nation’s most-watched cable news network. Dominion has obtained thousands of emails and text messages from Fox employees as part of its $1.6 billion suit. The messages, taken as a whole, are at the core of Dominion’s case.

Fox News has argued in court that the First Amendment protects its right to broadcast false claims if they are inherently newsworthy — and in this case that there was nothing more newsworthy at the time than a sitting president’s allegations of widespread voter fraud.

In a statement, the company said that “the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution” and protected by legal precedent. It added, “Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”

But if a jury looks at the messages from Fox hosts, guests and executives and concludes that people inside the network knew what they were putting on the air was false, it could find Fox liable and reward Dominion with substantial financial damages.

On Nov. 7, 2020, Mr. Carlson told Mr. Pfeiffer that claims about manipulated software were “absurd.” Mr. Pfeiffer replied later that there was not enough evidence of fraud to swing the election.

A graphic of a text exchange between Pfeiffer and Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 7, 2020
Carlson to Pfeiffer
The software shit is absurd.
Nov. 8, 2020
Pfeiffer to Carlson
I dont think there is evidence of voter fraud that swung the election.

But during his broadcast on Nov. 9, Mr. Carlson devoted time to various theories, suggesting there could be merit to claims about software manipulation. “We don’t know, we have to find out,” he said.

A video clip of Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 9, 2020
Carlson: “We don’t know anything about the software that many say was rigged. … And you are not crazy for knowing it. You are right.”

Mr. Carlson also privately criticized Sidney Powell, a lawyer and conspiracy theorist who was gaining traction among the far right for her involvement in several lawsuits aimed at challenging the election results, the court filings show. Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, two hosts on Fox Business, a sister channel to Fox News that is also part of Dominion’s lawsuit, repeatedly invited Ms. Powell onto their shows as an expert on voter fraud claims.

A graphic of a text message from Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 16, 2020
Carlson to Pfeiffer
Sidney Powell is lying

Mr. Pfeiffer told Mr. Carlson over text message that election fraud claims, like those being made by Ms. Powell, “need to be backed up.” He warned that President Biden faced being undermined if he was eventually inaugurated.

Mr. Carlson agreed, the filings show.

A graphic of a text message from Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 18, 2020
Carlson to Pfeiffer
Yep. It’s bad.

The next day, Mr. Carlson eviscerated Ms. Powell in a brutal 10-minute monologue, dissecting her claims as unreliable and unproven. He said the show had repeatedly asked her for evidence and, “when we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

A video of Carlson from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020
Carlson: “She never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one.”

In the same monologue, however, Mr. Carlson also gave some credence to Ms. Powell’s claims, saying that “we don’t dismiss anything anymore” and that he is “hopeful” she will come forward with evidence.

A video of Carlson from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020
Carlson: “We did not dismiss any of it. We don’t dismiss anything anymore.”

Viewers expressed outrage at Mr. Carlson for challenging a prominent Trump ally. And Mr. Trump’s associates quickly jumped to her defense.

Privately, Mr. Carlson continued to criticize Ms. Powell, calling her claims “shockingly reckless.” Mr. Pfeiffer and Mr. Carlson both privately called her a “nut.” Laura Ingraham, who is the host of a 10 p.m. show, and Raj Shah, a senior vice president at the Fox Corporation, the network’s corporate parent, were equally incredulous.

A graphic of several text messages from Raj Shah, Pfeiffer, Carlson and Ingraham.
Said privately on Nov. 22, 2020
Shah to Pfeiffer
so many people openly denying the obvious that Powell is clearly full of it.
Pfeiffer to Shah
She is a [expletive] nutcase.
Carlson to Ingraham
[Powell is] a nut, as you said at the outset. It totally wrecked my weekend. Wow… I had to try to make the WH disavow her, which they obviously should have done long before
Ingraham to Carlson
No serious lawyer could believe what they were saying.
Carlson to Ingraham
But they said nothing in public. Pretty disgusting.
[Boldface added]

The next day, Mr. Carlson appeared to soften his public stance, suggesting that some of the criticisms about voting machines had merit and concluding, “This is a real issue no matter who raises it.”

A video from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 23, 2020
Carlson: “This is a real issue no matter who raises it or who tries to dismiss it out of hand as a conspiracy theory.”

Mr. Carlson was far from alone in speaking about Ms. Powell in a different way in private than on the air.

Internally, anchors like Bret Baier appeared surprised to find Ms. Powell getting significant airtime on shows by Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Dobbs, the court filings show. On Nov. 6, 2020, after someone forwarded Mr. Dobbs’s interview with Ms. Powell, Mr. Baier replied:

A graphic of a text message from Baier.
Baier
“What is this? Oh man.”

The private messages also showed that Ms. Powell was in direct communication with Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Dobbs, and that she revealed one of the sources for her outrageous claims. The court filings showed that Ms. Powell forwarded an email about voter fraud to Ms. Bartiromo from the source, a woman who claimed, among other things, that “the Wind tells me I’m a ghost.”

If Ms. Bartiromo was deterred by the unusual email, it was not evident to Fox News viewers. Ms. Powell was interviewed on the show the next day.

A video from “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”
Said publicly on Nov. 8, 2020
Bartiromo: “We talked about the Dominion software. I know that there were voting irregularities. Tell me about that.”

Consternation over Ms. Powell grew behind the scenes at Fox News as her lawsuits were repeatedly dismissed by courts and her promises to produce concrete evidence of widespread voter fraud never materialized. Yet she was still getting airtime, and senior executives at the network appeared concerned.

Gary Schreier, a senior vice president of programming at Fox Business, said in a private message to Lauren Petterson, the president of Fox Business, that Ms. Bartiromo “has GOP conspiracy theorists in her ear and they use her for their message sometimes.”

Days later, Mr. Schreier received an email from Dominion Voting Systems containing links that refuted Ms. Powell’s voter fraud claims.

That night, Mr. Dobbs interviewed Ms. Powell about Dominion’s comments. But he also used the interview to reinforce her claims of fraud. Mr. Dobbs concluded that “this looks like the effort to carry out an endgame” against Mr. Trump. Ms. Bartiromo interviewed Ms. Powell again two days later.

A video from “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”
Said publicly on Nov. 13, 2020
Dobbs: “This is the culmination of what has been over a four-year effort to overthrow this president.”
Said publicly on Nov. 15, 2020
Bartiromo: “Attorney Sidney Powell is leading the charge against Dominion and she says she has enough evidence of fraud to launch a massive criminal investigation.”

Several Fox News hosts and producers were criticizing Ms. Powell, including John Fawcett, a producer on Mr. Dobbs’s show, who said he believed Ms. Powell was “doing LSD and cocaine and heroin and shrooms.”

A text message from Ingraham.
Said privately on Nov. 15, 2020
Ingraham to Hannity and Carlson
Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry but she is.

But those criticisms never made it to air. Instead, when Ms. Powell appeared again on Mr. Dobbs’s show days later, she was hailed as a “great American” and “one of the country’s leading appellate attorneys.”

[Boldface added}

A video from “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020
Dobbs: “Our election is run by companies, the ownership of which we don’t know. Sidney Powell is among those trying to change all that.”

By late November, Mr. Fawcett became increasingly critical of Ms. Powell, according to the court filings. He concluded that she was not verifying her claims. On Nov. 27, 2020, he wrote that her lawsuits were “complete bs.”

Mr. Fawcett also told Mr. Dobbs that Mr. Trump’s legal team had disavowed her. Mr. Dobbs replied that he didn’t know what Ms. Powell was “thinking or doing, Or why!”

A graphic of text messages between Fawcett and Dobbs.
Said privately on Nov. 22, 2020
Fawcett to Dobbs
Could be losing her mind
Fawcett to Dobbs
I just don’t think she is verifying anything she is saying.

But over the next several days, Ms. Powell was invited back by Mr. Dobbs, who echoed her claims that “electoral fraud” was perpetrated by electronic voting machines, “prominently Dominion.”

Two videos from “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 24, 2020
Dobbs: “I think many Americans have given no thought to electoral fraud that would be perpetrated through electronic voting, that is these machines … prominently Dominion, at least in the suspicions of a lot of Americans.”
Said publicly on Nov. 30, 2020
Dobbs: “We have, across almost every state, whether it’s Dominion … whatever the voting machine company is — no one knows their ownership, has no idea what’s going on in those servers.”

The next month, after Smartmatic, a competitor of Dominion Voting Systems, sent a letter to Fox News signaling that litigation was imminent, the network put together a video package of an election expert debunking the conspiracy theories that suggested the company’s technology allowed the presidential vote to be rigged. It aired on the programs hosted by Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro.

On Feb. 5, 2021, one day after Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox, Fox Business canceled “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” At the time, Fox said it regularly reviewed its lineup. “Plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate postelection, including on Fox Business,” the network said.

 

Fox News has, arguably, had worse days than Thursday. But not many. And the worst is undoubtedly yet to come.Do yourself a favor and take some time to peruse the massive email dump the News Gods in their beneficence granted us last night. The voting machine company, Dominion, is suing Fox for the Murdoch First Born and a gadzillion dollars (actually $1.6 billion) for its election-related fabrications and lies.Yesterday, we got a look at some of the evidence Dominion has gathered. In court filings seeking a summary judgment, the company laid out in granular detail its case that “literally dozens of people with editorial responsibility—from the top of the organization to the producers of specific shows to the hosts themselves—acted with actual malice.”It is like peeling an onion of duplicity, hypocrisy, and journalistic malpractice.

One dazzling detail: “[Sean] Hannity and [Tucker] Carlson tried to get Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fired for fact-checking a Trump tweet about Dominion and noting that there was no evidence of votes being destroyed.”“Please get her fired. Seriously… What the fuck?” Carlson texted Ingraham and Hannity on Nov. 12, 2020. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.

Not a joke at all.The Dominion filing is filled with quotes that document what the Fox folks knew about the utter bulls*t they were broadcasting and when they knew it:Each circumstantial factor cuts strongly in Dominion’s favor. But here, the words of multiple Fox employees provide overwhelming direct evidence of actual malice. In addition to the evidence cited above, the excerpts below feature just some of the additional examples showing Fox employees knew at the time that these claims—and the guests promoting them—were:

  • “ludicrous” –Tucker Carlson [11/20/20]
  • “totally off the rails” –Tucker Carlson [12/24/20]
  • “F’ing lunatics” –Sean Hannity [12/22/20]
  • “nuts” –Dana Perino [11/16/20]
  • “complete bs” –Producer John Fawcett to Lou Dobbs [11/27/20]
  • “kooky” –Maria Bartiromo, regarding email received from Powell [11/07/20]
  • “MIND BLOWINGLY NUTS” –Raj Shah, Fox Corporation SVP [11/21/20]

There’s a lot more.The bottom-line via MMFA: “Fox knew that it was pushing lies about Dominion and the election, and the network continued to smear the company and spread conspiracy theories anyway.”

 

Letters from an America,

Feb. 16. 2023

A legal filing today in the case of Dominion Voting Systems against the Fox News Corporation provides a window into the role of disinformation and money in the movement to deny that President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion Voting Systems is suing FNC for defamation after FNC personalities repeatedly claimed that the company’s voting machines had corrupted the final tallies in the 2020 election. The filing today shows that those same personalities didn’t believe what they were telling their viewers, and suggests that they made those groundless accusations because they worried their viewers were abandoning them to go to channels that told them what they wanted to hear: that Trump had won the election. 

The quotes in the filing are eye-popping:

On November 10, 2020, Trump advisor Steven Bannon wrote to FNC personality Maria Bartiromo: “71 million voters will never accept Biden. This process is to destroy his presidency before it even starts; IF it even starts….  We either close on Trumps [sic] victory or del[e]gitimize Biden…. THE PLAN.”

FNC’s internal fact checks on November 13 and November 20 called accusations of irregularities in the voting “Incorrect” and said there was “not evidence of widespread fraud.”

On November 15, Laura Ingraham wrote to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity: “Sidney Power is a bit nuts. Sorry, but she is.” 

On November 16, Carlson wrote to his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, “Sidney Powell is lying.” 

On November 19, FNC chair Rupert Murdoch wrote: “Really crazy stuff.” 

Hannity later testified: “[T]hat whole narrative that Sidney was pushing. I did not believe it for one second.” 

Fox Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt later testified, “[N]o reasonable person would have thought that,” when asked if it was true that Dominion rigged the election.

The filing claims that FNC peddled a false narrative of election fraud to its viewers because its pro-Trump audience had jumped ship after the network had been the first to call Arizona for Biden, and its ratings were plummeting as Trump loyalists jumped to Newsmax. “I’ve never seen a reaction like this, to any media company,” Carlson wrote to Suzanne Scott, chief executive officer of Fox News, on November 9. “Kills me to watch it.” On November 12, Hannity told Carlson and Ingraham, “In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.” 

They went to “war footing” to “protect the brand.”For example, when FNC reporter Jacqui Heinrich accurately fact checked a Trump tweet, correcting him by saying that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “[t]here is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously…. What the f*ck? I’m actually shocked…. It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company.The stock price is down. Not a joke.” 

Heinrich deleted her tweet. 

The filing says that not a single witness from FNC testified they believed any of the allegations they were making about Dominion. 

[Boldface added]

 

As to whether there is sufficient evidence to indict former President Trump, consider this analysis by conservative analyst Charlie Sykes:

 

As to Trump’s “ideas”, consider this analysis by conservative analyst David Frum, former speech writer for President George W. Bush:

Laura Ingraham Lashes Out Over Warnock Victory: ‘I’m Pissed Tonight!’

Ingraham, who has been distancing herself from Trump recently, blasted GOP leadership and seemingly her own colleagues over what she saw as a “winnable race.”

Ingraham, who has been distancing herself from Trump recently, blasted GOP leadership and seemingly her own colleagues over what she saw as a “winnable race.”

Fox News host Laura Ingraham didn’t mince words after her network called the Georgia Senate runoff race for incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock on Tuesday night.

“I’m pissed tonight, frankly,” the conservative primetime star fumed over the loss by Republican nominee Herschel Walker.

Weeks after Republicans vastly underperformed in this year’s midterm elections amid expectations of a “red tsunami,” the final insult was delivered when Democrats expanded their majority in the Senate. And as was the case with other congressional and statewide races last month, the loser in the Georgia runoff was endorsed early on by former President Donald Trump.

Trump wasn’t alone in elevating Walker, who gave the Republican Party headache after headache over his abortion scandals, domestic abuse allegations, and multiple fabrications and embellishments, among other controversies. In fact, Ingraham’s Fox News colleague Sean Hannity was perhaps most instrumental in pushing Walker’s candidacy as he repeatedly offered up his primetime program to promote the ex-football legend.

Moments after her network called Warnock’s victory on Tuesday night, Ingraham lashed out at the Republican Party, conservative leaders, and perhaps even her own colleagues over what she felt was a preventable loss.

“I’d like to say this was surprising, but it’s not. The Senate Democrats, I would argue, did a much better job,” she sighed.

“We felt this coming,” Ingraham then said to Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway. “To me, it never felt like the Senate Republicans wanted this guy in office. He was a Trump pick, and they didn’t like that… There wasn’t the intensity on the part of the Republicans as there was on the part of the Democrats. I felt it, and you felt it.”

Growing more irate, she continued: “But we don’t change anything! We have the same people in place in leadership. The same people in place, apparently at the RNC, perhaps that’s not changing. We are doing the same thing over and over again. I’m pissed tonight, frankly!”

While Hemingway agreed with her, saying it was “offensive for Republican voters and donors” because there was “no clear messaging,” Ingraham grumbled that the race was still close.

“What did we say? This was winnable,” the Fox host exclaimed before tossing shade at former Trump White House counselor and current Fox News pundit Kellyanne Conway.

“Kellyanne, I know you didn’t want any change. I like Ronna McDaniel,” Ingraham said about the struggling GOP chairwoman. “Isn’t this like a warning sign flashing, or are we just going to keep doing the same thing all over again every single election?!”

After Conway bemoaned the lack of Republican spending in the race, she went on to claim Walker was “one of the most improved candidates” in this election cycle before saying Republicans need to “compete for ballots”—including early votes. Ingraham, meanwhile, unsubtly referenced Trump’s election denialism—which was boosted by her own network.

“If we don’t bank ballots early, we’re going to keep losing,” Conway noted.

“Why didn’t we?” Ingraham shot back.

“We didn’t!” Conway declared.

“We didn’t do it in 2020, because everyone said don’t vote early because that’s corrupt,” Ingraham retorted.

“Not everyone,” the ex-Trump aide insisted.

“Well, a lot of people did at the very top of the Republican Party! You didn’t,” the Ingraham Angle host interjected, making it clear she was pointing fingers at the ex-president.

Ingraham, a longtime MAGA acolyte who even served as an informal Trump adviser, has seemingly backed away from the former president in recent months—drawing criticism from more obsequious pro-Trump media outlets.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

August 4, 2022

Biden’s Justice Department does, in fact, appear to be adhering to the idea that we must all be equal before the law.

An exclusive story from CNN today said that Trump’s lawyers are in talks with the Department of Justice about a criminal probe of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

But, as legal analyst Teri Kanefield points out, the leak of this information is almost certainly coming from the Trump camp, which seems to think an indictment might be coming and wants to get out in front of the story. Kanefield might well be right.

Tonight, Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham, who was in contact with Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows during the January 6 crisis, ran a graphic suggesting the Department of Justice was playing politics rather than defending the law. It said: “If you can’t beat him, indict him.”

 

Image

August 5, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2021/12/13/fox-ingraham-hannity-kilmeade-jan-6-trump-texts/

 

Why Garland Should Go Big

He shouldn’t bring a pen to the gun fight

August 2, 2022

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/why-garland-should-go-big?

Trump Just Told Us His Master Plan

If he gets in next time, he won’t be dislodged by any means.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/07/trumps-america-first-speech-revealed-a-plan-for-power

Yesterday, an ex-president who had tried to overturn a democratic election by violence returned to Washington, D.C., to call for law and order. Again and again, the speech reversed reality. The ex-president who had spread an actual big lie against the legitimacy of the 2020 election tried to appropriate the phrase big lie to use against his opponents. The ex-president who had fired an acting FBI director days before that official’s pension was due to be vested lamented that police officers might lose their pension for doing their job.

Yet scrape aside the audacity, the self-pity, and the self-aggrandizement, and there was indeed an idea in Donald Trump’s speech at a conference hosted by the America First Policy Institute: a sinister idea, but one to take seriously.

Trump sketched out a vision that a new Republican Congress could enact sweeping new emergency powers for the next Republican president. The president would be empowered to disregard state jurisdiction over criminal law. The president would be allowed to push aside a “weak, foolish, and stupid governor,” and to fire “radical and racist prosecutors”—racist here meaning “anti-white.” The president could federalize state National Guards for law-enforcement duties, stop and frisk suspects for illegal weapons, and impose death sentences on drug dealers after expedited trials.

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2022/07/05/the-insurrectionists-clubhouse-former-trump-aides-find-a-home-at-a-little-known-maga-hub/

[Excerpts:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

“They’re frauds,” said one longtime Republican strategist who has worked for major campaigns and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person’s job could be at risk for speaking negatively. “They claim to be fiscal conservatives, but they’ve made a living off of generating conservative outrage in order to raise money for themselves.”

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

Last week, following the surprise bombshell testimony of former top Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson before the Jan. 6 committee, the CPI network went into action.

Hutchinson told the panel Meadows was in communication with Rudy Giuliani and other alleged Jan. 6 plotters, that Meadows appeared to know violence on the sixth was a possibility, that Trump knew his supporters on the Mall that day were armed when he dispatched them to the Capitol, that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol with his supporters and that White House lawyers warned “people are going to die.”

That evening, Stephen Miller, Trump’s former adviser who now runs CPI-linked America First Legal, appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show to call Hutchinson “an extremely junior, low-level aide.” [Boldface added]

“This is a Rorschach test for your sanity,” Miller went on. “If you heard this story, and you thought, ‘Man, I believe every word about this and I’m going to go online and say something about it energetically,’ something is wrong with you. Something is wrong with you if you’re that gullible.” 

Later that evening, former Trump Pentagon official Kash Patel, now with CPI’s Center for Renewing America, went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to join the attacks on Hutchinson. The 26-year-old former Meadows aide, Patel said, was a “junior staffer who is completely, I believe, lying to the Jan. 6 committee for [her] own self-gain.”

Though young, Hutchinson had so much access around the White House that some people derisively called her “Chief Cassidy,” the Washington Post reported.

On Hannity’s show the day after Hutchinson’s testimony, Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio laid into the committee: “This is not an unbiased finder of fact. These are nine people as you said, Sean, nine people who voted to impeach President Trump, nine people who are out to get President Trump and don’t want him to run. … All we have got from them is lie after lie after lie.”

 

FOX NEWS’ COVERAGE SEEMED AT LEAST A TEENSY BIT MOVED BY CASSIDY HUTCHINSON’S JAN. 6 TESTIMONY

Anchor Bret Baier said the ex–White House aide’s testimony was “compelling.” But it became clear throughout Fox News’ programming that he was in the minority, with the likes of Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham continuing to carry Trump’s water.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/06/fox-news-cassidy-hutchinson-testimony

Sean Hannity called the hearing “hearsay” orchestrated by an “anti-Trump kangaroo court.” He also downplayed Hutchinson’s claim that Trump was “fucking furious” over the crowd size of his January 6 rally and that, as she said, Secret Service agents were not “letting people through the mags [magnetometer metal detectors] with weapons—[with] what the Secret Service deems as weapons.” In response, Hannity, referring to Hutchinson as a “so-called witness,” said that “Trump flat-out denied this claim and pointed out a simple fact. Zero guns were ever discharged by those that breached the Capitol or in D.C. that day.

Likewise, Laura Ingraham, another Fox News opinion host, attacked the credibility of the witness, saying, “I spoke with some former White House staffers, three or four of them, in the afternoon, and they knew her well. And not one person had anything good to say about her performance today, because they watched.” (Both Hannity and Ingraham’s texts to White House staff around January 6 have come up during the proceedings.)

 

 

Trump’s cable cabinet: New texts reveal the influence of Fox hosts on previous White House

By Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey

January 9, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-cable-cabinet/2022/01/09/96fac488-6fe6-11ec-b9fc-b394d592a7a6_story.html

Stephanie Grisham, former press secretary to President Donald Trump, remembers the challenges that came from so many Fox News hosts having the direct number to reach Trump in the White House residence.

“There were times the president would come down the next morning and say, ‘Well, Sean thinks we should do this,’ or, ‘Judge Jeanine thinks we should do this,’ ” said Grisham, referring to Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, both of whom host prime-time Fox News shows. 

Grisham — who resigned from the White House amid the Jan. 6 attacks and has since written a book critical of Trump — said West Wing staffers would simply roll their eyes in frustration as they scrambled to respond to the influence of the network’s hosts, who weighed in on everything from personnel to messaging strategy.

Trump’s staff, allies and even adversaries were long accustomed to playing to an “Audience of One” — a commander in chief with a twitchy TiVo finger and obsessed with cable news.

But text messages — newly released by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection — between Fox News hosts and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, crystallize with new specificity just how tightly Fox News and the White House were entwined during the Trump years, with many of the network’s top hosts serving as a cable cabinet of unofficial advisers.

Read More

As the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol unfolded, Meadows received texts from Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, as well as Hannity, according to the newly released communications.

“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.” Ingraham’s private missives, however, differed starkly from what she said on her show later that evening, when she began whitewashing the violence of the day and claiming the attacks were “antithetical” to the Trump movement. [Boldface added]

Kilmeade urged Meadows to get Trump “on TV” to call off the rioters, writing, “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”

And Hannity asked Meadows, “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.”

What Fox News hosts said privately vs. publicly on Jan. 6

In private text messages on Jan. 6, Fox News hosts condemned President Trump’s response to the attack. In public, those same hosts deflected blame from Trump. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

‘Everyone tunes in’: Inside Trump’s obsession with cable TV

Other texts released by the committee reveal that Hannity also offered the White House advice in the run-up and aftermath to the attacks that resulted in five deaths. On Dec. 31, 2020, Hannity texted Meadows to warn, “I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told.” And on Jan. 10, 2021 — referring to a conversation he had with Trump himself — Hannity texted Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a close Trump ally, to try to discuss strategies to rein in Trump.

“Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days,” Hannity wrote. “He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”

A former senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid details of private discussions, said Trump would also sometimes dial Hannity and Lou Dobbs — whose Fox Business show was canceled in February — into Oval Office staff meetings.

“A lot of it was PR — what he should be saying and how he should be saying it; he should be going harder against wearing masks or whatever,” Grisham said. “And they all have different opinions, too.”

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Fox News declined to comment.

Michael Pillsbury, an informal Trump adviser, said he realized how powerful Fox News was in Trump’s orbit when the former president began embracing Sidney Powell — an attorney promoting Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud — and other election fabulists after seeing them on Dobbs’s show. Pillsbury added that while it seemed obvious that many of the claims were patently false, Trump was inclined to believe them, in part because he was watching them on TV and had affection for Dobbs in particular.

“It taught me the power of the young producers at Fox, and Fox Business especially,” Pillsbury said. “These young producers who are in their mid-20s. They come out of the conservative movement, they‘ve never been in the government. They are presented with these reckless, fantastical accounts. And they believe them and put them on for ratings.”

Alyssa Farah, a former White House communications director, said the four most influential Fox hosts were Dobbs, Hannity, Igraham, and Pirro — and in the final year of the Trump administration, Hannity was the most influential. Other former top administration officials also mentioned Mark Levin, another Fox News host, and Maria Bartiromo, a Fox Business host, as two other network stars in regular touch with the White House. [Boldface added]

From the point of view of the staff, Farah said, the goal was simply to “try to get ahead of what advice you thought he was going to be given by these people” because their unofficial counsel “could completely change his mind on something.”

Fox News hosts urged Trump to stop Jan. 6 violence, texts show

But the relationship was also symbiotic, with White House aides actively trying to influence the network, especially on issues such as spending deals and averting government shutdowns. They knew if they could get Fox hosts to echo their goals on air, that would help sway the president.

Jeff Cohen, author of “Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media,” said the recent text messages represent a “smoking gun.”

“If you watch Fox News as much as I do, and I watch a few hours a night, they’re always signaling their close contact with the White House,” Cohen said referring to the Trump era. “But these texts are just the hard evidence. This is just how deeply intertwined the Fox News leadership is with Trump and the Trump White House.”

The problem, he explained, is that even though many of these hosts are opinion journalists, they are still violating public trust by not disclosing the full extent of their relationships with the Trump administration.

“Journalists and media are supposed to be public checks on power, not private advisers to power,” Cohen said. “A commentator is still a journalist, and even if the commentator doesn’t consider him or herself to be a journalist, they still have to tell the public when they played a role in something they’re commenting on.”

One former top White House official said that the hosts often had more influence with Trump based on what they said on air rather than in their various backchannels to him and his team, in part because the former president was obsessed with the following — and ratings — of their shows.

Former Trump chief of staff John F. Kelly told others in the White House that Dobbs’s show was critical to understanding the president and that Trump’s ideas and feelings about people often originated from that program. Kelly also told colleagues that if Dobbs went after a White House senior staffer, they risked their status falling quickly in the eyes of the former president.

When Kelly could not watch the prime-time Fox shows himself, he would ask other staffers to monitor them, and he would scour the White House call logs for the names of Fox News personalities.

Pirro, several Trump aides said, often became irate if the former president did not appear on her show frequently enough in her view, especially if he had been on Hannity’s show several times prior.

Fox shows were so important to the president that White House staffers were determined to get guests booked on them, even forcing staffers to take weekend shifts appearing on Pirro’s show after Pirro complained she couldn’t get a guest — and the former president also called in himself.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Hannity called Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other Trump allies on a number of occasions to voice his months-long concern that the campaign was heading in the wrong direction and Trump would lose unless he turned around his operation, according to a Republican with direct knowledge of the campaign’s operations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private discussions. They added that Hannity was much more bullish on his show than in private about Trump’s electoral prospects.

Analysis: Sean Hannity’s Jan. 6 texts and the duplicity they reinforce

As the coronavirus pandemic ramped up in early 2020, a range of Fox News hosts again mobilized to offer backchannel advice to the Trump White House. In March, Tucker Carlson flew to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., to warn of the seriousness of the virus. Carlson told Trump he might lose the election because of covid-19, while Trump told the prime-time host that the virus wasn’t as deadly as people were claiming. 

In April, Ingraham arrived at the White House with two on-air regulars who are part of what she describes as her “medicine cabinet” for a private meeting with Trump. There, she talked up hydroxychloroquine, a controversial anti-malarial drug which public health experts have concluded is not effective as a covid-19 treatment. [Boldface added]

An internal Trump coronavirus response team led by Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, also prioritized the requests of certain VIPs, including Kilmeade and Pirro. Kilmeade had called two administration officials, for instance, to pass along tips about where to obtain personal protective equipment. And Pirro had repeatedly urged administration officials to send a large quantity of masks to a specific New York hospital.

At the time, a Fox News spokeswoman said neither host had been aware that their tips were receiving preferential treatment.

Since leaving office, Trump has vociferously complained about Fox, particularly its coverage of the election and what he views as increasingly negative coverage about him. But he has kept in close touch with many of the hosts and even sees some of them at his Florida resort.

The Jan. 6 committee has asked Hannity to cooperate with its investigation, and he has hired Jay Sekulow, a longtime Trump attorney, to represent him. “We are evaluating the letter from the committee. We remain very concerned about the constitutional implications especially as it relates to the First Amendment. We will respond as appropriate,” Sekulow said in a statement last week.

But some former senior White House officials said the texts make the role of Hannity and others seem more outsize than it was. The former president appreciated that the Fox crew was fighting on his behalf on a daily basis, this person said, “but he would not be like, ‘Let me call Larry Kudlow and change our economic plan because Laura Ingraham said that.’ ”

Of course, Kudlow, who now hosts a show on Fox Business, came to Trump’s attention as a top economic adviser in part because of the business show he previously hosted on CNBC.

 

Laura Ingraham’s Descent Into Despair

“At some point, her Reaganite optimism slowly hardened into something better described as a form of apocalyptic pessimism.”

She is now “. . . the Fox News presenter whose career is most closely tied to President Donald Trump . . . .”

By Anne Applebaum

July 16, 2020

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/laura-ingrahams-descent-into-despair/614245/

 

“In our campaigns, no matter how hard they may be, no matter how close the election, those who lose accept the verdict and support those who win.”

— Richard M. Nixon