Over the past four years, Trump has not only responded to this request; he steadily increased it. Now, with his claims of a landslide election victory, he has crossed a line that the conservative media are urged to cross, too, lest they be left behind. It’s one thing for Tories to believe Biden is corrupt or hopelessly senile, but believing his election to be patently fraudulent goes well beyond the outer limits of even toxic partisanship: it invites extreme responses, like apologizing, if not approve, a Capitol seat.
And yet, perhaps that is where the conservative media are to be found. In the hours following the storming of Congress, Sean Spicer, the former Trump press secretary and now host of a Newsmax show, baselessly suggested it was a bogus operation. flag: “We need to make sure who was responsible, why they were there, if there was any wrongdoing, if Antifa was there,” he said, because “it shouldn’t be blamed on groups who were not responsible. Greg Kelly, the channel’s star presenter, echoed the idea: “These people don’t look like Trump supporters,” he said.
After the election, those on the supply side of the conservative media equation – particularly Fox, a huge company with a lot more to lose than its smaller rivals – thought their biggest challenge was how, exactly, to respond. to public demands without colliding with defamation law. After January 6, it should be clear to the conservative media that the stakes in this game are much, much higher.
One solution, of course, is not to give voice to disorderly views at all. In late December, Mike Lindell, Managing Director of MyPillow and a major proponent of pro-Trump conspiracy theories, appeared on a Newsmax Show invited by Sebastian Gorka, traditionally one of Trump’s loudest cheerleaders in all of conservative media. Lindell was about to embark on claims over another voting technology company, Dominion (which had also sent Newsmax a threatening letter and would later file a $ 1.3 billion libel suit against Sidney. Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer), when Gorka abruptly cut him off. . “Mike. Mike. I don’t want to argue – Mike,” Gorka pleaded. “Mike, we’re not going to go into great detail.” Like the handful of Republican senators who quickly dropped their objections to the certification of Biden’s election late on the night of January 6, Gorka had very suddenly become a model of responsible prudence.