Two weeks ago, in front of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, four Capitol Police officers delivered emotional, eye-witness, testimony about the violent incident.
Officer Harry Dunn shared that rioters called him the N-word more than a dozen times. D.C. police officer Michael Fanone testified he was grabbed, beaten, tased, and called a traitor to his country. Fanone suffered a traumatic brain injury, concussion, and heart attack from the incident. Sergeant Aquilino Gonell told the committee that he could feel himself losing oxygen as rioters crushed him. D.C. officer Daniel Hodges recalled foaming at the mouth as rioters crushed him between two doors and bashed him in the head with his own weapon, injuring his skull.
So, those law and order commentators over at Fox News, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, had strong words in support of these valiant officers, right? Wrong. The pair mocked these brave men who put their lives on the line to defend democracy.
Carlson downplayed the Capitol insurrection (as usual) and verbally attacked Dunn, calling him an “angry left-wing political activist.” He claimed Dunn was lying when he advised that Officer Brian Sicknick died from injuries sustained at the insurrection. Carlson smirked and laughed at a clip of Fanone discussing the PTSD he experienced as a result of the attack. And, he accused Gonell, an Iraq War veteran, of lying for claiming his fear during the riots surpassed any fear he felt during his Iraq deployment. Carlson shamefully characterized the insurrection as merely a “political protest that got out of hand.”
Ingraham handed out ‘mock awards’, accusing the officers of exaggerations or playing partisan politics. She awarded Officer Dunn with a ‘Best Political Performance Award’ saying, it was for “blatant use of party politics when facts fail.” She awarded Sgt. Gonell with a ‘Best Exaggerated Performance’ trophy.
Even though over 100 law enforcement officials were injured, five people died, and four more committed suicide in the aftermath, these two so-called anchors, who have not served a day in uniform, military or law enforcement, mocked and criticized the heroism and service of four fine officers. Why? Simply because it suited their politics and appealed to their brand of viewers.
Ingraham and Carlson are disgraceful cowards. And their audience? Those who steadfastly believe these lies among all the big lies we’ve been told since 2015 and 2016? Sadly, these are the insurrectionists, the Trump buy-ins and country sell-outs who ultimately led us to the real-life consequences of January 6.
Carlson and Ingraham choose some outrage from the daily news and emote about it, riling up their audience to share in the anger. Their opinion-laced rants are shopped as the only possible truth, with their viewers hanging on every word. Their rhetoric and behavior, like Trump’s, is dangerous, but executives at Fox continue to ignore the danger. Why? Because, as it does for Trump, the Big Lie(s) make money. In this case, lots of money for Fox News.
Remember when big time wrestling had to stop lying and reinvent itself as “entertainment”? The same is true of the infotainment provided at Fox News. The network should rebrand itself as ‘Fake News.’
A thriving democracy can survive multiple opinions about current events, but to be called ‘news’, a network must provide trustworthy and reliable information. Until Fox News embraces this simple concept, I fear events like January 6 will continue to occur.
Mark M. Bello, a trial lawyer, is the author of “Betrayal in Black" and other ‘ripped from the headlines’ Zachary Blake Social Justice Legal Thrillers available on Amazon.com and other online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.markmbello.com. Mark also is co-host of the new podcast, Justice Counts, now streaming.