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There are 2 repercussions that weren't discussed: 1) the clear evidence that Hannity was deeply involved in internal WH discussions eviscerates many of the 'privilege' claims asserted by Trump and his inner circle in their refusal to cooperate with the 1/6 Committee, 2) Hannity's texts likely provide an opportunity for the voting machine manufacturers suing Fox to strengthen their defamation cases (even add Hannity specifically to the suits) since he was clearly advising Trump as an operative, clearly acting in bad faith, and it's significant that he's represented by a Trump attorney vs a Fox attorney. He's now strengthened the cases against his own employers.

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author

Oh good pt re: Dominion lawsuit

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I hope Dominion eats Fox alive.

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Not literally, of course - there's no antidote to their poison.

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Jan 5, 2022Liked by Eric Boehlert

Keep the heat on 'em Eric. It's working!

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It's great to see Faux getting called out by Jan. 6 Select Committee for their indirect complicity in the January 6 insurrection.

Methinks Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeanine Pirro, Brian Kilmeade, and the other primetime noisemakers stupidly believed they could influence Trump.

Obviously, they already knew he was totally unhinged, but by secretly keeping their true feelings about him, they were willing to endanger American democracy in order to enrich themselves.

Anyway, I recently saw the Late Late Show with James Corden episode where he mentions in the monologue that Biden got a 60% disapproval rating on a CNBC poll over his handling of the economy. He also got 55% disapproval rating for his handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Seriously, the American mainstream media establishment's harsh, distorted & dishonest coverage of the Biden administration all in the name of clicks & views is hurting his presidency.

Piling up bad news all in the name of "fair & balanced" reporting to pander to conservatives, while downplaying &/or ignoring this adminstration's legislative successes just because Biden isn't a human content-generating machine like Trump is not just hurting the administraton, it's hurting the entire country.

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author

the disconnect between media coverage of Biden and his actual accomplishments continues to be startling

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founding

Just read an excellent article by the WaPo Plum Line’s Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman taking the media to task ignoring Republican obstruction because they accept it as normal, putting their focus on Democrats’ disagreements about substantive issues:

“Precisely because this GOP opposition is a foregone conclusion, Republicans are too rarely asked by reporters to justify it. This in turn causes that opposition to become accepted as a natural, unalterable, indelibly baked-in backstop condition of political life.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/04/republican-united-opposition-democracy/

Accepting blatantly bad behavior as the norm normalizes it. Melania excusing Trump’s misogynistic statements to Billy Bush as “boys will be boys” is a perfect example of this.

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You give her too much credit.

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founding

Just an example of how people normalize terrible behavior. I know several women (some in my family) who used that to excuse what Trump said about grabbing women — “if Melania doesn’t care why should I?”.

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I believe she's as sextist and misogynistic as trump.

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Birds of a feather… the whole lot of them, Bannon,Stone, Rudy, Pillow guy, Javanka etc…are each low life grifters. And they were running the country into the ground. Deplorables, every one of them. Melania is an amoral opportunist as are the others.

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Eric, do they ever try to justify their bias to you? I am getting angrier and angrier at these fascism-enabling idiots. When the coming authoritarian dystopia packs them off to gulags in North Dakota, I won't be standing up for any of them.

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Only North Dakota? This made me laugh.

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Indeed, while Trump constantly insults the media as "Fake News", but the Beltway buffoons keep lapping it up because it's an easy payday.

It's frustrating they're okay with the verbal abuse from the Lardfather while ignoring the Biden administration's attempts to engage in a more substantive discussion.

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founding

Also they have been intimidated by right wing attacks that began decades ago. I recently read that back in the 70s 0r 80s a wealthy right wing guy (forget his name) bought shares in the NYTimes so he could harass the board at their meetings. Eventually he got regular private meetings with the publisher to appease him. Fifty years ago Agnew repeatedly attacked the media in many of the same ways Trump did.

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Apparently the increase in personal threats against them and their families has increased and could be a deterrent to saying more pro-Biden stuff.

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founding

True but that doesn’t explain decades of pulling their punches while hammering Democrats for every perceived fault.

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My personal take is that the Beltway media has been doing this for so long that they've either deliberately or unknowingly ignore the growing radicalization in the GOP. Those buffoons still believe it's "business as usual" when that isn't the case at all.

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NYT Opinion (can’t spare a headline:/ ???): https://twitter.com/maddow/status/1478429825320824834?s=20

They left out the word ‘Pssst’…

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That was Krugman's newsletter and that was his whole point; he even gives a nod to the bad media coverage about the good economic news.

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Jan 6, 2022·edited Jan 6, 2022

SO - 'ironic' Opinion pieces - and 'hard-hitting' pieces in The Style section... WTH

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Sorry - it’s one of those laugh/cry things😂🤔😐

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Love it

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Hannity and the other members of Trump's Fox Cabinet tried to use their one time on-air condemnations of the violence as a shield to deflect their incitement before, and their "it was no big deal" dismissal, after 1/6. The Committee has uncovered Hannity's awareness of, and complicity in, Trump's deliberate attempt to overturn the election. His lament that the mentally unstable Trump couldn't be reasoned with is laughable. Trump didn't *suddenly* get crazy.

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author

His texts are extremely damaging, indeed. I assume there are more

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It seems the January 6 Committee know just how much information to release and when to release it. Some very sophisticated cat and mouse maneuvers going on by them.

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The responses to Hannity's texts and those of other Fox propagandists could be the most telling of all. For example, how did Mark Meadows respond and characterize Trump fiddling while Rome burned?

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Right?

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I'm very curious about what Trump was telling Hannity that alarmed the latter enough to send these tweets. Seems to me that Trump was getting more and more frantic and insane as the days were progressing.

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author

Exactly!

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founding

Malignant narcissists like Trump melt down and can become very dangerous when they lose. It destroys the whole fantasy world they have created for themselves.

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Yes they do. My biggest fear during this time period was that he would drop a bomb somewhere.

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It was Gen. Milley's fear, too. And the Chinese government's.

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This is a great report, Eric. Thank you!

This revelation that a prominent news “personality” Sean Hannity likely had inside news of a coup attempt and did not report it is indeed shocking. It’s another fail of our political press, though entirely in keeping with his own ethics and that of his employer.

But then again we have seen book sales from Woodward, Karl, and other journalists that had scoops that should have been reported contemporaneously, too.

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It’s interesting that the FNC hosts were frantic and fearful and yet it looks like that as a practical matter, 1/6 will have far less lasting repercussions than one would expect or hope. A little fascinating how they panicked and misjudged things.

To be clear, that’s just an observation and in no way an endorsement. But I should add that the failure of our elected officials to respond properly by at least protecting the power of the vote (elections without power is what you get in a non-democratic state of course) is telling. Bu, you know, a couple of decades of neglecting a problem just lets it worsen.

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author

Yes! Hannity was freaked out abt Jan 6 days in advance and days after

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founding

I don’t think people like Hannity and Trump’s kids were freaked out because they were afraid what the insurrection would do to our democracy. I think they were freaked out because they were afraid by Trump not stopping it he would destroy his legacy and with it their ability to continue to control the base. Some of the texts and statements by those who were urging Trump to step in show that is what they were afraid of.

When it turned out that January 6 didn’t destroy Trump’s cult as they had feared, most of them started justifying and/or downplaying what had happened. Protecting democracy never mattered to these people; protecting their power and wealth is all they care about.

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As I believe Eric pointed out months ago, the press has nothing to lose. They'll keep their jobs no matter what happens.

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founding

If we lose our democracy and the incredibly strong protections it provides for journalists they will lose big time and will be in grave danger. Trump’s attacks on the media have already increased the number of serious threats against them.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/03/journalism-us-threats-press-freedom/

Many of them who clearly realize the serious threat Republicans pose to our democracy still keep doing things that make its demise more likely. For example I was just watching Chuck Up Todd do an entire segment about everything that is going wrong for Biden that ignored all the good news about the economy but hyped the inflation threat. The next segment was about the dangers our democracy faces from the far right.

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Serious investigative journalists and journalism will be endangered, yes. But the media won't go away, only those that won't toe the party line, celebrate dear leader, and bash the opposition and "dangerous" resistance. Look at Poland, Hungary, Russia, etc. There are plenty of ambitious people out there more than willing to act as propagandists for the money, power, and fame. Many of them—as is confirmed by the 1/6 committee's releases—absolutely know better. Some are true believers. But don't think for one minute the press will go away. Their protections, yes—and we're seeing movement on that with some of the SCOTUS justices and Federalist loons.

It won't even look all that much different from what we've seen over the past six years.

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Not in a Dictatorship which hates a free press.

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Spot on.

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This absolutely right here. ^

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Murdock and company have blood on their hands. All of the texts from Hannity, Ingraham and the rest of those talking clowns can't erase the fact that their schmoozing of Trump for four years prior is what helped to lead this delusional psychopath to ultimately decide on January 6th's course of action. Of course none of them over at Fox will ever see time because in the US, having money and being white keeps you safe from the law. Had the writers of the HBO series Succession presented this reality as a script, it likely would have been passed over for not being believable.

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I have a stupid question: Didn't Hannity have a duty to report a conspiracy to overthrow the government?? Clearly, he was more than a bystander. Why didn't he go to the FBI?

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He didn't think he would get caught. I was taken aback by the way he spoke to "Mark" about being displeased with his phone call with the President. Very demanding, as if he was the president.

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He also probably believed that because guys like John Eastman and Rudy G, who have law degrees, were steering the ship, that what was afoot was not illegal, per se, but just "out of the box" thinking. It's also stretching atty/client privilege beyond recognition when it is claimed by political operatives who were chatting up lawyers (who were NOT representing them) about how to throw a wrench into a government function.

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He and his cronies have been manipulating trump all along. He's been their ticket to fame.

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Not surprising. Hannity had a longstanding personal relationship with Trump.

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This made me so happy to read this morning. It never occurred to me that the Jan. 6th Committee was media-savvy. Who exactly? Is it the representatives themselves or their staff? Anyone know who is directing all of this? Also, Merrick Garland better say something significant tomorrow or this good mood is going to change.

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author

Committee is def doing smart job rolling out info, using Fox as punching bag etc

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I asked because I hope there is a media savvy team for the midterms. Also, are any of these people electable? Who are these hidden secret weapon staffers? Has the Democratic Party ever considered a "farm team?"

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founding

Just heard that wealthy right wingers are running ads in WVa designed to put pressure on Manchin to keep obstructing Biden’s agenda. Democrats should respond in kind, not wait until the election to spend on ads. I did see an ad her in NC about how the oil companies are making record profits by unfairly raising gas prices, using inflation as a cover.

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Again, I beseech David Geffen, Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy to help with ad buys wherever necessary.

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It took two years with Watergate. That we are six months into this investigation and know as much as we do speaks to the committee’s dedication and speed. Sure many of us knew some or even a lot of what happened before and on 1/6 from separate media accounts (reporting), books, and smart people on blogs and Twitter. But that is way different from producing actual legal evidence that will hold up in court.

The committee has played it very well, from the tantalizing revelations of texts, memos, etc to interviews and the releasing of their own letters—like the one to Hannity yesterday, which made it impossible for Fox and friends to spin it to their own ends.

But to collect enough evidence for an airtight case doesn’t happen overnight, not when you want the verdict to hold on appeal. I am curious to hear what Garland has to say and how much he is willing to reveal. He was the prosecutor who led the investigation and oversaw the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh. Garland called that “the most important event of his career.” He certainly knows the stakes.

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I concur - I am patient about the Jan. 6th Committee. But if you're going to announce the AG is going to speak live on January 6th, he cannot simply pull a "rah-rah, this is going to take time." I'm not saying he needs to produce a subpoena for TFG but please, say something meaningful.

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"Rah rah" isn't good enough. Even DOJ alum Neal Katyal said yesterday that he was getting a bit worried because while it's possible that DOJ working on such a massive case could be this leakproof, he wasn't sure, and that there are ways for Garland to make it clear things are happening without revealing anything substantial.

Which is why I am curious about what Garland will say. He knows the stakes—will he once again rise to this moment in history, like he did with OKC? I don't see any reason why not, but he is older (and wiser—or more cautious?) and our divisions are more intense than ever. Yes, there need to be prosections. But will they be the catalyst that tips us into a hot civil war? I have no doubts that he and his dept are wrestling with these and many more questions.Let's hope they err on the side of justice and truth.

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How nice it would be if the media in DC treated Fux Noise the way the January 6 committee does.

I'm going to offer an asterisk and a footnote, as my idol Vin Scully liked to say. Krock TRIED to be an adviser (and he did help JFK get his thesis published), but FDR really grew to hate him, and JFK and his people found him very conservative. But Krock had power, no question about it.

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What boggles the mind here is why Trump revealed himself to be a psychotic narcissist, yet after Jan. 6th Fox chose to prop him up as the cheated and aggrieved former president. It is hard to imagine any media outlet so dependent upon Trump voters for its ratings.

But remember the cozy friendship Trump had with Hannity, those nightly phone calls in particular. Trump would ask Hannity's advice on everything. And Trump himself was addicted to "Fox and Friends," watching every morning in his bathrobe and sometimes calling in to the show.

Fox has been trying to win back their Trump fans, especially after Fox declared on election night that Biden won Georgia. Trump was livid. I think he's probably apoplectic over the text messages revealed by the Jan. 6 committee, and worrying about his ratings.

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Their audience, pure and simple. When they pushed back on Trump, they saw their viewers change over to Newsmax and OANN because these people don't want to hear the truth—they want to hear the truth they believe. The network execs couldn't let that happen, so it was back to the happy horseshit show, aka the lies and agitprop.

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I can’t help but think this publicly honest effort to expose the maga professional crowd for the cynical grifters and perpetual liars they are will have a snowball effect on the ability to affectuate a bipartisan, cooperative congress in the future….. nah. Probably won’t be beyond this committee. However, I can continue to hope. Another thing, hope sucks.

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“even though he isn’t one.” Haha! Perfect.

Trump probably canceled the press conference, because nobody wanted to cover it or watch it. And seriously, what legacy? He was a failed president in every way it was possible to fail. These people truly are delusional.

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I think that to the Fox personalities, his legacy is the fame he brought them.

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