In the days and weeks after the 2020 elections, the Fox News Channel repeatedly broadcast false claims that then-President Donald Trump had been cheated of victory.
Off the air, the network's stars, producers and executives expressed contempt for those same conspiracies, calling them "mind-blowingly nuts," "totally off the rails" and "completely bs" - often in far earthier terms.
The network's top primetime stars - Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity - texted contemptuously of the claims in group chats, but also denounced colleagues pointing that out publicly or on television.
Ingraham called Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell "a bit nuts." Carlson, who famously demanded evidence from Powell on the air, privately used a vulgar epithet for women to describe her. A top network programming executive wrote privately that he did not believe the shows of Carlson, Hannity and Jeanine Pirro were credible sources of news.
Even so, top executives strategized about how to make it up to their viewers - among Trump's strongest supporters - after Fox News' election-night team correctly called the pivotal state of Arizona for Democratic nominee Joe Biden before other networks. A sense of desperation pervades the private notes from Fox's top stars, reflecting an obsession with collapsing ratings.
So it was an amazing case of bad timing (or chutzpah/gall) that the very night after this revelation, the host of "Dan Abrams Live" commented
One of the reasons so few trust the mainstream media is that so many refuse to accept and admit their biases. They're just neutral observers focusing on the fact. At least Fox News, their prime time folks admit that they're basically in the tank for the GOP. They speak at conservative events and many outright admit that they support Republicans and they'll bask President Biden at every opportunity.
But most of the left-leaning media and the left wing media insist they just play it straight. They play this game of just trying to pretend that they're not biased, even on a network as left-leaning as MSNBC.
Abrams, who presents himself as opinionated yet balanced, objective, and non-partisan, charged
Transparency is the foundation upon which journalism is built, except when it applies to them. And this lack of transparency or self-awareness about their own beliefs is a big part of the problem why the public's trust in media has eroded so much.
It's a misconception that erasing the line between journalist (or media personality) and partisan political hack constitutes transparency. And if there is any truth to Dominion's argument, prominent Fox News personalities knew Trump had lost but promoted the lie that the presidential election had been stolen. They were "in the tank for the GOP," honesty and transparency be damned. Until Dan Abrams- or anyone- credibly suggests that MSNBC or CNN engages has allowed its bias even to approach that level of deception, Fox News stands alone among the three major cable news networks in its contempt for truth and accuracy.
So, you'll enjoy this: we put what Fox hosts Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham said, on air, side by side with what they were saying to each other on text, in private, when the cameras stopped rolling.— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) February 18, 2023
It's a must-watch and it's pretty shocking:pic.twitter.com/tkrkzpF5tY