We are one America split into two almost completely separate media worlds. That should be the starting point for discussions about the country’s political dynamics and media diets.
Republicans, generally speaking, blame Antifa and other left-wing activists for January 6, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. “But not all Republicans,” PRRI said -— “it matters what media they consume. In this case, those who trust broadcast news look much more like the rest of the country. Fox News and far-right news Republicans drive the trend.”
Trying to rewrite history
“In less than 48 hours in Washington, D.C., there will be a rally of supporters of the former president who are now trying to rewrite the history of what happened on January 6,” Fintech Zoom’s Anderson Cooper said Thursday night. “It’s a rally in support of those now being prosecuted for their roles in the attack, and it seeks to portray many of those being prosecuted as somehow political prisoners.”
Meanwhile, over on One America News Wednesday night, one of the rally organizers was saying that media attention is an explicit goal: Previous attempts to hold rallies supporting January 6 “political prisoners” were “largely ignored,” Matt Braynard said, so “now we’ve gone to the one place that the media in this country cannot ignore us.”
The dilemma for newsrooms
‘Softening the ground’
Sargent argues that those views, taken together, “add up to something truly toxic: The ‘belief’ that the election was stolen, and the simultaneous refusal to assign accountability for an effort to violently overthrow our constitutional order, suggest right-wing propaganda may be softening the ground for a more concerted abandonment of democracy going forward.”
In the months since the Capitol attack, MAGA media sources have spent comparatively little time covering the aftermath: The arrests, the prosecutions, the threats of further violence. Ingraham, the 10 p.m. host on Fox News, is a perfect example: She has sought to downplay the significance of the riot and distance the rest of the Republican party from its most extreme elements.