It's far from even the 117th-most important thing happening right but it's been interesting to observe the schism on Fox News in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Opinionists have gained power with the self-categorized straight news hour at 7 p.m. conceding ground to the take-havers. Brian Kilmeade, the first person to get a crack hosting that prime real estate, has been leaning even harder into advocating for Donald Trump and his loyalists because he can see the handwriting on the wall informing all what type of behavior will be rewarded.
Steve Doocy, on the other hand, has kept more of a level head and given voice to plainly observable things in the real world. The result has been more dissenting conversation on Fox & Friends. Today, after Doocy posed the classic shoe-on-the-other-foot argument, Kilmeade responded by wondering — sincerely — what could have possibly happened this week that would cause Republicans to think impeaching the president is prudent.
Doocy, displaying some high-level patience responded: "Brian, what happened was the rioting and the looting at the U.S. Capitol."
And yeah. That is what happened in the last week. It's been all over the news. Kilmeade himself has had strong words condemning the violence and Trump's behavior since the incident, including the below statements from Jan. 7:
“Let's be honest, since November 3rd, when we got the verdict by November 5th, the president's behavior has been terrible. It has cost him two Senate seats. We know that for sure. It cost his party the majority in the Senate. We know that for certain. We also could say this about the President of the United States, he honestly believes to every fiber of his being that he actually won this election. The problem is his legal team has not had any success at all proving that, which is why Richard Nixon in the 1960s folded his tent, why Al Gore made a speech and said, even though I think I won, it's time for a peaceful transition of power. The president didn't do that. Instead at 12PM, he was supposed to speak at 11AM, he gives his speech, at which time he said march over there at 1:30PM. Now, it's true, his people do not have a track record of violence. Absolutely true. Well, that track record broke. And even if it was infiltrated by people that don't like him, it doesn't matter. When you send 50, 60, 70, 80 thousand people into the Capitol, which is guarded by a handful of cops and 350 National Guard, guess what? They're going to get in.”
And once again, we didn't have video in 1814, but it looked a lot worse. But it made more sense. You know why? Because in 1814, we had an enemy and it was the British. This is Americans attacking with their faces apparent and transparent while they sat in the speaker's office. That clown should be arrested now, hopefully. And to put up a Trump flag and take down the American flag is not patriotic. One of the worst things I've ever seen. And when you lost Lindsey Graham, who has stood by him, talked to the president, understood him the best possible. When you lose all these people, when Tom Cotton says it's time for you to concede, I think that you've gone over the top. And I think when the president made those remarks, he couldn't even use his own Twitter account...because he's been justifiably suspended for the last 24 hours.”
Of course, if news isn't sorted by importance to the viewers but instead filtered through what will make them angriest and most reinforce their world view, missing little incidents like this is understandable. And Fox News is not the only cable network to do this.
A case can be made that primetime cable news hosts are more late-night hosts than anchors. They identify a cast of characters who differ ideologically and use them as punchlines, no matter what happens in the world that day. Though Trump himself has proven to be every bit the existential threat he promised to be, we can see the Lawrence O'Donnells and Chris Cuomos of the world using him as comedic fodder night after night after night.
I certainly don't have the answers and it's a relatively shallow observation. But this is how we can get to a point that, within the week, one of the most powerful voices ostensibly working in information-dissemination can effectively forget one of the most important moments in our nation's history.