The House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th Attack at the United States Capitol presented shocking evidence Thursday that Donald Trump knew that he lost the 2020 election, but played a primary part in a premeditated illegal plot to stay at power. This included summoning a mob of angry supporters to attack and violently attack the Capitol after all other attempts failed. The bipartisan committee unanimously authorized Trump to be subpoenaed for testimony about his actions prior to and during the deadly chaos.
The select committee went to great lengths in its latest televised hearing to shred Trump’s potential legal defenses should he ultimately face indictment. Top Justice Department officials and staff members testified that they repeatedly told Trump that his claims of widespread voter fraud were false, but Trump continued to spread lies to the media while urging federal and state officials to commit electoral fraud behind closed-doors. Plans to falsely proclaim victory if Joe Biden was elected were in place well before Election Day, as his adviser and propagandist Steve Bannon said. leaked recordings.
Yet millions of people continue to believe Trump’s lies and tune into his cheerleaders across the right-wing media. Advocates say the myth that the 2020 election was “stolen” will persist until Trump and his henchmen are held accountable for the plot to overturn the election and the events leading up to January 6.
“The right-wing media system has followed along with this idea of blind loyalty to Trump, anything that is said negative about him is seen as off limits,” Kristen Doerer, a managing editor at the media watchdog Right Wing Watch, told Truthout.
Any claim that Trump was acting in good faith — that he truly believed the election was stolen and was simply making his case to the courts and the public — should be no match for the mountain of evidence revealed by the House select committee. For example, law enforcement and the Secret Service circulated intelligence memos warning before the riot that extremists were making calls to “occupy federal buildings,” invade the Capitol and intimidate Congress. Trump’s supporters marched toward the Capitol on January 6, despite being told they had guns and weapons.
Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Public Citizen and cochair of the Not Above the Law Coalition, which advocates for justice and accountability for January 6, said the bipartisan select committee accomplished a “herculean feat.” However, simply revealing the truth will not stop MAGA politicians from passing voter suppression laws, protect poll workers from ongoing harassment, or keep election deniers up and down the GOP ticket from winning midterm elections. Across the country, Trump-backed candidates won primary races by exploiting the myth of voter fraud, undermining public confidence in elections and fortifying the “Big Lie” in the minds of Republican voters.
“The attack on our country hasn’t been punished: it’s been rewarded, and this has to stop,” Gilbert said in a statement after the hearing Thursday. “Thousands of pieces of evidence and testimony from Trump’s own staffers and foot soldiers have clearly laid out, fact by fact, what only those closest to him knew to be true: Trump engaged in a criminal conspiracy, knowingly made false claims — including claiming victory in the election — and incited a violent attack on the Capitol in order to overturn the 2020 election.”
The committee’s months-long investigation and blockbuster hearings have done little to shift public opinion. Trump’s favorability rating has remained stable at roughly 41 percentDespite news coverage about the January 6 hearings, and other Trumpian scandals, it has been months since I last saw them. A recent New York Times analysis of polling dataThe percentage of respondents who said Trump had not committed any serious crimes and was only exercising his right to contest election has remained almost unchanged at 38 percent since July’s hearings began.
Conservative news outlets have few incentives to cover the January 6 hearings — and plenty of incentives to downplay or ignore them altogether. Fox NewsFamously, he was punished by viewers for inaccurately reporting on Trump’s election results. That likely caused ratings to dip, Doerer said, pushing the network to indulge Trump’s conspiracy theories for months.
While quickly dismissed in the courts, dozens of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign provided and endless stream of headlines echoing Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. At least two journalists have resigned. Fox NewsIn protest of lies about the electionTucker Carlson, far-right commentator, aired the following.
“If you are not seeing any of this information, if you are not having your viewpoints challenged with facts — that Trump planned for months to overturn the election and stay in power — then you can hold onto this false idea that the election was stolen from Trump,” Doerer said.
Doerer said Trump’s celebrity status and cult following on the right has made pro-Trump media uniquely profitable, allowing the right-wing media ecosystem to expand during his time in office. Right-wing publishers do not invest in fact-checkers and reporters. Extreme content attracts readers and viewers, and millions of people get their “news” through the lens of podcasts, livestreams, tweets and talk shows featuring conspiracy theorists and far right pundits.
“The biggest moneymakers on Fox and elsewhere are people like Tucker Carlson, the people who are vehemently defending Trump,” Doerer said. “We see that in all of these different far right and right-wing media sources, and people are simply not getting the facts, they are not being challenged in their beliefs, and what they are seeing are the same messages, the same fearmongering, the same conspiracy theories repeated over and over again.”
Advocates argue that Trump could be held accountable for lying and breaking laws in order to remain in power. This could have a significant impact on pro-Trump media narratives. It would be much-watch TV if Trump had to defend himself in Court or testify before a House select committee. That’s why Trump is expected to challenge the subpoena in court, and cling to his hangers-on in the right-wing media at all costs.
“We cannot let people at the highest levels of power escape consequences for their actions,” Gilbert said.