Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Tuesday chastised Fox News for what he called its “cowardly” decision to air its regularly scheduled primetime lineup on Thursday and not offer gavel-to-gavel coverage of the House Jan. 6 committee’s highly anticipated hearing on the 2021 assault on the Capitol.
The New York Democrat told reporters that the network has an “obligation” to show the “true facts” as told by the Democratic-led special committee.
“Few things obstruct the American people from hearing the truth more than Fox News’s cowardly decision not to broadcast Thursday’s hearing,” he said.
Fox News Channel’s primetime programs will not provide blanket coverage on its main channel, but will provide updates on the hearing throughout the evening “as news warrants,” according to the network.
Fox News’ sister channel, Fox Business Network, will carry special coverage of the hearing beginning at 8 p.m., and coverage of the hearing will be offered across Fox broadcast affiliates. Fox News Digital will also stream the hearing.
Most major news networks are expected to carry at least portions of Thursday’s hearing. ABC and CBS have announced they will pre-empt their prime-time schedule for live coverage of the hearing.
Mr. Schumer also criticized Fox News for airing viewpoints that run counter to the committee’s expected findings of the events during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, in particular, has faced intense blowback from Democrats for his three-part series “Patriot Purge,” which characterized the Committee and Justice Department investigations into the riot as partisan witchhunts.
“After all of the false facts that Fox News has allowed to be put on the air by its commentators and everyone else, they have an obligation to show the true facts by allowing the hearing to be seen by their listeners,” Mr. Schumer said.
The committee has promised to present “previously unseen material documenting January 6th” and receive public witness testimony on the events leading up to the riot during the hearing.
The panel has also hired a former ABC News executive to advise on its upcoming prime-time hearing and to help shape its rollout of evidence into a captivating television experience, according to Axios.
The House committee, made up of seven Democrats — including Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi — and two Republicans, held one hearing in July, less than a month after it was formed, in which the lawmakers heard from four police officers — Pfc. Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police, and Officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges of the Metropolitan Police Department — all of whom were at the Capitol during the riot.
A number of GOP candidates for the panel originally nominated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California were vetoed by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The committee also has appeared in brief public proceedings in which the members voted to hold witnesses in contempt for failing to comply with the investigation.