News and Commentary

The Most Important Story From The January 6 Hearings

As anyone with a TV or newspaper well knows, the news media have relentlessly pounded us with coverage of the January 6 Congressional hearings. ABC Nightly News has at times devoted almost a third of their airtime to reportage from the Capitol, complete with Jon Karl shamelessly plugging his book while ostensibly pretending to be a man on the scene reporter (“As I write in my book, Betrayal…”). Every major TV network but Fox carved out blocks of their prime-time space in an attempt to recapture the glory of the Watergate years. And, of course, the cable news networks are in a lather.

What happened on January 6 was indeed big news. It was very ugly. It was also a futile gesture. And it handed the Democrats – the very people many storming the Capitol believed to have illegitimately attained power through ballot box chicanery – talking points to carry them right through to the midterms. Anyone thinking rationally that day should have seen it. But, from Donald Trump on down, we see that rationality gave way to raw emotion and a frustration that stemmed from utter disbelief that over 81 million could cast their ballot for an uninspiring, corrupt septuagenarian, who is the consummate DC insider. Not to mention a candidate so obviously mentally enfeebled that he was relegated to meticulously choreographed Q&A sessions from his basement with journalists so overtly biased they may as well have been on the DNC payroll. And who knows, maybe they were?

And that last observation presents us with the bigger story of the riots. There are questions looming above the January 6 events that are more salient than the information being gathered in the hearings. They have to do with vital American institutions themselves. First and foremost, the press. No republic like ours can last without a diligent media questioning authority and keeping them at bay; human nature will always gravitate towards the accumulation of power if left unchecked. The Framers understood this. And yet the difference in coverage between the four-hour January 6 riots and those that occurred throughout the nation during the year preceding these events is telling, and disturbing for those who believe in the vital necessity of the Fourth Estate.

In 2020 over 200 cities were the scenes of riotous behavior, looting, vandalism and arson. Over two dozen innocents like Italia Kelly and David Dorn were murdered in cold blood. Police headquarters as well as businesses were set ablaze. Some 1,000 police officers were assaulted, and roughly $2 billion in property damage occurred, mostly in minority neighborhoods.

And yet, the same media that seems so hellbent to crucify the man who took a selfie in Pelosi’s office performed rhetorical yoga that would make a swami wince when reporting the stories of the mass lawlessness across the country – some of it literally going on right behind the very reporters who with a straight face called them, and this is my favorite from CNN, “fiery but mostly peaceful protests.” Sure, and but for that unfortunate Booth-Lincoln incident, all-in-all the night out at Ford’s Theater was pretty fun.

Publications like the Washington Post went out of their way to declare that the protests were “overwhelmingly non-violent.” That only seven percent of the estimated 15 to 26 million people who hit the streets engaged in rank criminality. So that means only between a mere one and two million torched and ransacked their own cities?  Well, that’s a relief. Yet, were one to use these same soothing parameters as a measure of the “peacefulness” of the January 6 gathering, what percent of the estimated 120,000 who marched in D.C. to protest what they believed to be a fraudulent election actually stormed the Capitol? As of this writing, 884 have been arrested and charged.

I’m no math wizard, but that means of the 120,000 in D.C. that day, it wasn’t seven percent who were lawless, but rather seven-tenths of one percent. Bump it up to an estimated 2,000 who actually stormed the Capitol itself. That’s one-and-a-half percent. Yet, the media was loath to call it an “overwhelmingly peaceful” protest. Why? Because this doesn’t suit the narrative the Democrats wish to impose upon the country through their reliable conduits in the newsroom.

Such obvious water-carrying for one party might be behind a new Gallup poll showing Americans’ trust in the news media is at an all-time low. Of self-identified Republicans, only five percent trust newspapers and eight percent trust TV news. This is to be somewhat expected as conservatives have for decades had to wade through the now flagrant but always present left-wing bias in the newsrooms. But more tellingly, of Democrats, only 35% trust newspapers and a mere 20% trust TV news. Even they get it.

This collapse in media trust, and the broader erosion of journalistic standards of objectivity and proper sourcing (see: Russia collusion hoax) as relates to such an important foundation upon which any nation run by flawed human beings must rest, is being played out in the January 6 hearings. Americans wonder, why do these people care so much about what happened for four hours in one city in one day, wherein the only person to die was a four-tour veteran shot by a criminally trigger-happy Capitol Hill policeman (who was never prosecuted, of course) and so little about our nation’s cities in flames from coast-to-coast for eight months? Why did the media happily proffer the demonstrable lie, one which Pelosi still shamelessly touts, that four officers died that day? Why do they care so much about a man in a horn hat roaming the Capitol yet actively suppress a story of the president’s own son’s validated laptop implicating a then sitting vice president, and now titular president, in a lucrative influence peddling scheme with our enemies? Why does the media do the bidding of the very State apparatus it is supposed to diligently police?

What we have seen in the January 6 process is more akin to a Stalinesque show trial. The Democrats are mining the hearings for political ore so as to distract Americans’ attention from the staggeringly disastrous Biden (or whomever is pulling his strings) presidency thus far. And if it serves to put those who would dare threaten their power on notice by making examples of imprisoning the likes of Steve Bannon—not my favorite guy, but clearly a pawn in a larger game—who dare challenge their authority and, the worst crime of all, supported Donald Trump, then all the better.

Meanwhile, a press that will devote precious air-time to cover the Bannon story shows no curiosity at all as to how we have a former NSA and CIA director who blatantly perjured themselves before Congress walking free without consequence. Indeed, as if to underscore the nation’s suspicion that the media is nothing more than an appendage of the State, they now serve as paid consultants with CNN and MSNBC respectively. Nothing to see here. On the other hand, Michael Flynn, a decent and honorable military man who chose the wrong president to serve, had his life ruined for far less.

As is the mantra of all tinhorn dictatorships that seems to guide the dangerously politicized Department of Justice these days: “For my friends, everything, for my enemies, the law.” The same now could be said of the press. For their friends “fiery but mostly peaceful protests” and paid consultant gigs. For their enemies, a hyperbolic comparison to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, and a gleefully covered perp walk.

Although an estimated 17 million Americans have watched the hearings, most polls indicate that, but for an erosion of support for Trump himself (which actually plays into GOP hands as they believe he is the only one who could lose to Biden in a free and fair election), the political needle hasn’t budged. The reason could be that many Americans now view the reporting of said hearings through the lens of the skeptic and the cynic. They know that, with a media that votes for and contributes to one party in vast numbers, they are as likely to be subject to that party’s propaganda as hard news. And it gets exhausting constantly trying to filter out the former to find the latter. So they have thrown up their hands and said, I’ll watch you and read you, but I won’t trust you.

Without trust, the press is impotent and doomed. Without the press, the Republic will continue to decay. Maybe, in a way, that is the most important message of January 6 being lost in all the noise of Liz Cheney’s self-serving moralizing and Adam Schiff’s serial mendacity. The riot wasn’t so much an attempt to overthrow the government, as it was a manifestation of the collective mistrust of our most vital institutions. A desperate cry out that something is rotten at the very core of this nation. And most disconcerting to anyone who cares about the future of the country, if history is any guide, such mass public mistrust can only be held at bay for so long.

If the news media really wanted to get to the heart of the January 6 story, this is what they would be investigating. But that would mean investigating themselves.

Brad Schaeffer is a commodities trader, columnist, and best-selling author of the World War II novel Of Another Time And Place as well as the best-selling novel dealing with PTSD and Autism The Extraordinary

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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