Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor calling on Speaker McCarthy to denounce Fox News for manipulating the footage of January 6th that he handed over to the network and for spreading election misinformation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Last night, additional new evidence came to light that Rupert Murdoch and Fox News knew Donald Trump lied about the 2020 election, yet they allowed the Big Lie to air on their network all the same. More evidence keeps pouring out that these are the undisputed facts.
I’ve never heard of a news organization push a story with such intensity while acknowledging—very candidly behind the scenes—that what they were peddling was total balderdash.
In one email, just revealed last night, Mr. Murdoch admitted sometime after January 6th that “Maybe Sean and Laura went too far,” referring to prime time hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
In another instance, published in last night’s Washington Post, Mr. Murdoch speculated that after losing the election, Donald Trump was going “increasingly mad.” Mr. Murdoch says Donald Trump is going increasingly mad, and then Mr. Murdoch worried that President Trump’s allies’ plans to overturn swing state results “sound ridiculous” and could lead to “riots like never before.”
Mr. Murdoch, the head of Fox News, allowing these lies to continue, worries that they could lead to riots like never before.
It’s not enough for Mr. Murdoch to express doubt and regret in private—which is continuing to be documented—because today, after he makes these expressions of doubt and regret and is very pejorative of his own newscasts and newscasters, the Big Lie still has a home at Fox News. Mr. Murdoch’s station, his news network. Just look at Mr. Carlson’s segments this week.
Members on the Republican side of the aisle should drop the pretenses and say it plainly: Fox News lied to the country about the 2020 elections and in doing so eroded the public’s trust in American democracy.
For their own sake and for the sake of the country, Mr. Murdoch and Fox News leadership should put a halt to the spread of the Big Lie on their network. This is about preserving trust in our over two-hundred-year-old system of government. When enough people believe elections are not on the level, that is the death knell of democracy.
Of course, the fault also lies with the person who shared Capitol Security footage with Fox News to begin with: Speaker McCarthy. Speaker McCarthy has held the gavel for less than three months, and already he has done more than any party leader in Congress to enable the spread of Donald Trump’s Big Lie.
While the Speaker can’t undo his decision to share security footage with Fox News, he should denounce Fox News for the way they manipulated that footage to rewrite the history of January 6th.
The Speaker should not delay, because his decision to share sensitive security footage with Fox News has made our democracy weaker, because millions—millions—of people sadly believe Mr. Carlson when he says January 6th was a legitimate protest.
And the more people who believe January 6th was legitimate, the more they will accept the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.
Bewilderingly—bewilderingly—Speaker McCarthy said yesterday that he didn’t regret his decision to share Capitol security footage. He said he didn’t see what Fox News aired, that people can make their own conclusions, then for some reason he started pointing the finger at CNN. For Speaker McCarthy not even to watch the spoiled fruits of his labor shows a callousness, an unconcern far beneath the dignity of his office.
Speaker McCarthy, rescue your office from that indignity by finally speaking out.
If you’re dealing with a burglar, Speaker McCarthy, the last thing you should do is give them your house keys.
If you’re dealing with an arsonist, Speaker McCarthy, the last thing you should do is give them a box of matches.
And if you are dealing with Fox News, Speaker McCarthy, the last thing you should do is give them security footage of January the 6th. Because as we’ve seen, their hosts will lie to the American people—boldly lie—about what happened.
So once again: Speaker McCarthy can’t undo his decision to share security footage with Fox, but he should at least denounce Fox News for the way they have manipulated the footage to rewrite the history of January the 6th.