White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki criticized Fox News hosts for "spreading lies" about the January 6 insurrection, continuing to air conspiracies about the integrity of the electoral process even after privately denouncing the attack.
Psaki's remarks came after the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the attack, which took place when a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the United States Capitol on the false premise that the 2020 election had been stolen, released text messages from Fox News hosts showing they'd condemned the attack in private.
You can hear her remarks in the video below.
Jen Psaki shames Fox News hosts for privately condemning MAGA riot youtu.be
"It's disappointing, and unfortunately not surprising, that some of the very same individuals who were willing to mourn, condemn, and express horror over what happened on January 6 in private, were totally silent in public."
"Or, even worse, were spreading lies and conspiracy theories, and have continued to since that time."
None of the Fox hosts who sent messages to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the attack–Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, and Sean Hannity–acknowledged the messages on their programs the evening after the contents of their texts were revealed.
Ingraham, for instance, told Meadows that the “president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Kilmeade, meanwhile, told Meadows that the attack was “destroying everything you have accomplished.” Hannity make a statement urging Meadows to encourage then-President Trump to "make a statement" asking his supporters to leave the Capitol.
But publicly, all three of them have continued to stoke the flames of Trump's "Big Lie" that the 2020 general election had been stolen, courting the former President's devoted base on their programs even as allegations of election fraud have fallen apart in courtrooms and in the wake of numerous audits affirming that the election was both free and fair.
Many have praised Psaki while others have condemned Fox News in the wake of these revelations.
Hannity and Ingraham have since acknowledged the texts on their respective programs though they did so only to attack the integrity of the House committee and downplay their roles during the attack
In her remarks, Ingrahahm criticized Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican who serves as the House committee's vice chair, as well as her colleague, Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger, claiming that “The entire January 6 campaign has become one of revenge and defamation."
Hannity, for his part, accused Cheney of having "lost her way," insisting to his audience that he says “the same thing in private that I say to all of you." He also suggested that the release of the text messages consitutes a violation of his privacy, saying,
"And by the way, where is the outrage in the media over my private text messages being released again publicly? Do we believe in privacy in this country? Apparently not.”
Amid the controversy, Meadows has accused the House committee of "leaking" the texts, telling the far-right news outlet Newsmax that they are currently being "weaponized" as part of a smear campaign against him.
“We’ve tried very hard, in a very transparent and accommodating way, to share nonprivileged information,” Meadows said, adding:
“And what we found out tonight is that not only did that just get disregarded, but then they tried to weaponize text messages, selectively leaked them, to put out a narrative, quite frankly, that the president didn’t act.”
The House of Representatives has voted that Meadows be charged with contempt of Congress after he refused to cooperate with the investigation, following the House committee's recommendation.
Last week, news outlets reported that Meadows had decided not to sit for a deposition, a reversal from an announcement the week prior that he would comply with the committee’s subpoena ordering him to appear.