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Meadows's texts: Fox News hosts were appalled by Jan. 6 before they decided to downplay it
"He is destroying his legacy."
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Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, and Sean Hannity have now spent almost a full year downplaying the January 6 insurrection. Ingraham went as far over the summer to compare cops who were assaulted by Trump-supporting insurrectionists to crisis actors.
But as we learned on Monday, they sung a remarkably different tune while the attack on the Capitol was unfolding. A hearing in which the January 6 committee voted to hold former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt for not complying with subpoenas revealed that all three hosts sent texts to Meadows during the insurrection expressing disgust with Trump’s inaction.
“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote to Meadows, according to messages read by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) during the hearing. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Kilmeade urged Meadows to “please get him [Trump] on TV” and said the violence was “destroying everything you have accomplished.” Hannity similarly encouraged Meadows to have Trump “make a statement” asking his supporters to leave the Capitol.
Watch Cheney read these texts during Monday’s hearing:
Even Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows — though it’s somewhat odd he wouldn’t have just texted his father directly — and told him his dad needed to “condemn” the attack because things had “gone too far” and “gotten out of hand.”
Monday’s January 6 committee hearing happened a couple hours before Hannity and Ingraham went on the air, but both hosts went to comical lengths to avoid talking about their text messages. Hannity actually did an extended interview with Meadows in which he never raised the subject.
Meadows instead went to desperate lengths to rewrite history, claiming Trump’s main concern on January 6 was creating a “safe environment” for people even while video played right next to him showing Trump supporters assaulting police officers.
Ingraham, for her part, totally ignored the January 6 committee hearing, instead devoting a large chunk of her show to attacking Democrats like Chuck Schumer for being old (never mind that Trump is four years older than Schumer).
The text message revelations shed light on just how cynical Ingraham and Hannity’s downplaying of January 6 has been. They obviously understood not only the grave implications of Trump supporters attacking the Capitol, but also realized the then-president wasn’t doing nearly enough to quell the violence. And yet on their shows the night of January 6 they tried to pin blame on antifa.
It sounds like more revelations are coming. During Monday’s hearing, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) read text messages from unnamed elected Republicans indicating that they actively supported Trump’s coup attempt, and committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said their names will eventually come out.
Cheney went as far as to hint during the hearing that Trump could face federal criminal charges for seeking to obstruct a congressional proceeding. Even Ingraham would have a hard time ignoring that development.
The Atlantic glorifies Covid denialism in Michigan even as hospitals there are full
The Atlantic chose a really strange time to publish an article about how people in Michigan purportedly don’t care about Covid.
That story, written by Matthew Walther, editor of a Catholic literary journal called The Camp and a contributing editor at the American Conservative, is headlined, “Where I Live, No One Cares About Covid.” Walther, who lives in southwest Michigan, claims he doesn’t know a single person who has received a booster shot, never saw someone wearing a mask outside until he traveled earlier this year to Washington, DC, and dismisses the idea that students should mask in schools as “absurdly risk-averse.”
“Covid is invisible to me except when I am reading the news, in which case it strikes me with all the force of reports about distant coups in Myanmar,” he writes.
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Walther must not read much local news, because if he did, he’d realize just how lucky he, his wife, and four kids are that the unrest abroad, so to speak, hasn’t hit closer to home. It certainly has affected those those around him.
That’s because his article comes as Covid-related hospitalizations in his corner of Michigan have spiked to such a level that officials are talking publicly about the possibility that patients could be turned away.
Things have gotten so bad statewide in recent days that officials have requested 200 additional ventilators from the federal stockpile while urging residents to get vaccinated. (Just over 55 percent of Michigan residents are fully vaccinated, ranking 32nd out of the 50 states and DC.)
But even if Walther’s news consumption was limited to major national outlets, you’d think he might’ve read Dr. Rob Davidson’s first-hand account in the New York Times about how bad the Covid situation has gotten in a hospital in southwest Michigan. The juxtaposition between the two pieces is striking.
Davidson, an emergency physician who I first got to know during the course of my reporting at Vox, opens his piece with a couple heart-wrenching anecdotes illustrating how senseless the vast majority of the Covid-related deaths are at his hospital.
From his piece:
Recently a patient in his 70s came seeking care at the small rural hospital in West Michigan where I’ve worked as an emergency physician for two decades. He had tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the week, was running a high fever and struggled to breathe. When asked if he’d been vaccinated, he snapped back, “I don’t approve of the vaccine.”
A few days later, a young patient sick with Covid-19 was admitted with dangerously low blood oxygen levels. His spouse and infant child came in to say goodbye just before he was sedated and intubated. “I don’t think I’ll see you again,” he said. He died before the end of the week. He was unvaccinated.
As of last Monday, nine hospitals in Michigan were 100 percent full, and at least 20 others were at or above 90 percent capacity. Statewide, nearly one in four hospital patients has a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19. In the last few weeks, my hospital has been consistently at or near capacity and nearly every day the vast majority of those patients are sick with Covid-19. Nearly all have been unvaccinated.
Davidson’s harrowing piece was published on December 8 — five days before The Atlantic decided to run Walther’s account of why he and everyone around him has moved on from Covid. He’s lucky he has that luxury.
In a direct message exchange, Davidson told me that he actually agrees with Walther’s premise — “it is my experience that people around here are living as if Covid does not exist” — but said that given the consequences of this attitude, it needs to be condemned instead of applauded.
“Dealing with people dying unnecessarily [is] very traumatic, and those are the cases that really sit with you, particularly when so many are in their 40s and 50s,” he said. “The level of frustration with the people acting like that author when we are seeing such high levels of sickness seeps into one’s everyday [work]. It makes it tough to maintain the empathy and compassion that make doing what we do possible.”