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Tag: michael fanone

Capitol Police Testimony Moves Fox Anchor, But Network’s Pundits Sneer

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

When Fox News turned to Bret Baier for comment shortly after the conclusion of Tuesday's hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters, the network's chief political anchor was adamant that it would be impossible for anyone to downplay the devastating testimony heard that day. Over the previous several hours, four police officers had described in searing detail how they had risked their lives defending Congress from a violent, bigoted throng that sought to halt the counting of electoral votes formalizing President Joe Biden's election.

"If you were watching, you saw compelling, at times damning, emotional testimony from these four officers who fought the line to try to protect the Capitol and the lawmakers inside," Baier said. Highlighting the officers' descriptions of how they "fought to hold on to their lives," he added that while Republicans are trying to argue that the investigation is politically motivated, "you can't watch the testimony and say that's not a big deal."

Baier was describing an emerging consensus that is damaging to Republicans. But Fox exists in part to manufacture dissent, disrupting such consensuses with narratives that are more palatable to its right-wing audience. And so that evening, Baier's colleagues -- who helped lay the groundwork for the riots by trumpeting Donald Trump's baseless claims of a stolen 2020 election and then spent the last seven months downplaying and concocting justifications for the resulting insurrection -- went to work.

"We're being lectured by phony politicians about threats to our country," The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld sneered amid a whataboutist rant, going on to describe the January 6 Capitol riots as "having politicians' jobs disrupted for two hours." He added that the hearing was "a circus" and "a clown show."

Fox's star prime-time host Tucker Carlson literally snickered after playing a clip of Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone saying that he's "been left with psychological trauma and emotional anxiety" from the Capitol riots. (Fanone described being "grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country"; the assault resulted in a heart attack.)

Mocking the testimony of Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who compared the riots to his Army deployment in Iraq, Carlson described the events of January 6 as follows: "Officers let the rioters into the Capitol. They had casual conversations with them inside the Senate Chamber. Some of the rioters had face paint and carried American flags."

Carlson also made fun of the emotional responses some members of the committee had to hearing the testimony.

Sean Hannity picked up the next hour where Carlson had left off, denouncing the investigation as a "political charade" with a "predetermined outcome" intended to "smear and slander" Trump and the Republican Party.

What followed was a parade of whataboutism, with Hannity and his guests highlighting how Democrats were fixated on the sacking of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob intent on stopping the peaceful transition of power rather than homicides in Chicago or violence at last year's protests against police brutality.

Later that night, from her platform on Fox's 10 p.m. ET hour, Laura Ingraham described the hearing as "nothing more than performance art." She went on to announce "The Angle awards for today's best performances," including the award for "best use of an exaggeration in a supporting role" to Gonell, "blatant use of partisan politics when facts fail" to Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, and "best performance in an action role" to Fanone.

Over the prime-time block, Carlson and Ingraham aired clips from the hearing only to mock the speakers, while Hannity bashed the event without actually airing clips from it.

Whether or not they watched the hearings as Baier did, Fox's right-wing propagandists did their best to leave their audiences thinking that the testimony that day was not actually a "big deal." And by this morning, the hearings had all but disappeared from the network's airwaves.

The same phenomenon has happened over and over again: Fox's "straight news" side describes events as damning for Republicans or helpful for Democrats, only for the "opinion side" to go into overdrive to hide that from its audience.

The cycle played out after professor Christine Blasey Ford testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her when they were in high school in the early 1980s. It happened again during the 2019 impeachment hearings over Trump's abuse of power in Ukraine. And it happened after Biden called for "uniting our nation" and ending "this uncivil war that pits red against blue" during his inaugural address.

Fox isn't in the business of telling its viewers what happened. It's in the business of telling them what they should think about what happened.

Research contributions from Will DiGravio

LISTEN: Capitol Police Hero Receives Vile Trumpist Death Threats

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone testified before Congress on Tuesday that supporters of former President Donald Trump almost killed him in a violent beating at the Capitol insurrection on January 6, and to make matters worse someone left him a threatening voicemail message while he was giving his testimony. "It includes some incredibly offensive language, but we think people need to hear the kind of attacks that these officers are facing right now just for telling the truth about January 6," CNN host Don Lemon said. "Play it." An unnamed caller proceeded to accuse Fanone of lying, asking him if he wanted an Emmy or Oscar, and calling him an offensive slur.

Warning: Video in this story contains profane and highly offensive audio that may be triggering for some listeners.

The caller said in his disgusting message:

"Yeah, this is for Michael Fanone, Metropolitan Police officer. You're on trial right now, lying and not. You want an Emmy? An Oscar? What are you trying to go for here? You're so full of s---, you little f----- f---er. You're a little p----, man. I could slap you up the side of your head with a backhand and knock you out, you little f-----.
"You're a punk f-----. You're a lying f---. How about all that scummy Black f---ing scum for two years destroying our cities and burning 'em and stealing all that s--- out of the stores and everything? How about that? Assaulting cops and killing people? How about that, you f---er?
"That was s--- on the goddamn Capitol. I wish they would have killed all you scumbags, 'cause you people are scum. They stole the election from Trump and you know that, you scumbag. And you, f---ing too bad they didn't beat the s--- out of you more. You're a piece of s---. You're a little f--, you f---ing scumbag."

Fanone asked CNN not to censor the audio when the network played it. "I remember like my first reaction immediately after listening to that phone call, which I actually received while I was testifying in the hearing today," Fanone said. "This is what happens to people that tell the truth in Trump's America."

Fanone's body-camera footage showed the brutal attack he suffered at the hands of rioters, one of whom tased him amid shouts of "I got one," CNN reported in May. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn compared the insurrectionists to a hired hit man in his closing remarks Tuesday to the House committee investigating the riot. "If a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail. But not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hired them does. It was an attack carried out on Jan. 6 and a hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that," Dunn said.

He was called the N-word multiple times when he revealed during the insurrection that he voted for President Joe Biden. Dunn said he told people to leave during the riot and was told: "No man, this is our house. President Trump invited us here. We're here to stop the steal. Joe Biden is not the president. Nobody voted for Joe Biden." Dunn told lawmakers he usually does his best to keep politics out of his job but in that circumstance, he responded. "'Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?'" Dunn said he asked rioters. "That prompted a torrent of racial epithets."

Prominent GOP commentators used less triggering language but bolstered the same sentiment of support for rioters. Fox News host Laura Ingraham mocked Fanone and Dunn on Tuesday. "The award for blatant use of partisan politics when facts fail—the Angle Award goes to Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn," she said. Of Fanone the Republican broadcaster said: "And for best performance in an action role, the winner is Michael Fanone."

Fox News' Tucker Carlson made similar remarks, mocking Fanone's trauma. "Not to in anyway underplay the crimes that were committed on January 6—and there were crimes on January 6— but compared to what," Carlson said.

#EndorseThis: Officer Pounds Table In Angry Testimony During Select Panel Hearing

The House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol insurrection began hearings today, and testimony from the officers who attempted to protect the symbol of democracy from an extremely violent group of pro-Trump rioters was even more emotional than expected.

Michael Fanone, a Metropolitan Police officer who was assaulted during the insurrection, pounded the table as his voice rose saying, "the indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!"

He then told the committee that his law enforcement career prepared him to "cope with some of the aspects" of "otherwise law abiding citizens [taking] up arms against you." But "nothing has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day and in doing so betray their oath of office."

Watch Fanone's powerful testimony below:

GOP Rep. Clyde Wouldn't Shake Hand Of Police Officer Who Defended Capitol

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone was one of 140 law enforcement officers injured protecting the U.S. Capitol and members of Congress on January 6. He was so badly beaten he suffered a heart attack fighting Trump's insurrectionists but he was conscious enough to hear at one point the rioters scream, "Kill him with his own gun!"

On Wednesday, one day after 21 House Republicans voted against a bill to award Congressional gold medals to all the police officers who fought to save lives and democracy on January 6, Officer Fanone was in the U.S. Capitol, and ran into Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA).

Congressman Clyde, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee and is one of the 21 who voted against the awards, refused to even shake Officer Fanone's hand.

Clyde is the lawmaker who falsely compared the rioters and insurrectionists to a "normal tourist visit."

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) took to Twitter to make the accusation, which was backed up by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican.

Here's video of Officer Fanone being attacked by Trump's insurrectionists:

Here's Congressman Clyde literally barricading the door on Jan. 6, with members of the Capitol Hill Police:

Here's Clyde outright lying:

Fallen Capitol Police Officer’s Mother Asks To Meet With GOP Senators On Commission

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The fate of the bipartisan plan for a commission investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is still up in the air, thanks to Republican opposition. With a Senate vote likely on Friday after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture on it Tuesday and ten Republicans needed to break the filibuster, Gladys Sicknick, the mother of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, is asking every single Republican holding Senate office to meet with her Thursday ahead of the vote.

"Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day," Sicknick said in a statement obtained by Politico. "I suggest that all Congressmen and Senators who are against this Bill visit my son's grave in Arlington National Cemetery and, while there, think about what their hurtful decisions will do to those officers who will be there for them going forward."

She added, "Putting politics aside, wouldn't they want to know the truth of what happened on January 6? If not, they do not deserve to have the jobs they were elected to do."

The thing is, Republicans never put politics aside, and it's bad for their partisan interests for the public to know the truth of what happened. For that reason among others, she's right that they don't deserve to have the jobs they do.

That starts with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is opposed to an independent bipartisan investigation into what he called a "disgrace" and "terrorism," acknowledging that Donald Trump was "practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day." But what's more important to McConnell is that, as he told Republicans at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, a commission could hurt Republicans in the 2022 elections. Truth does not enter in. It's just a question of what helps or hurts Republicans.

Republicans have repeatedly changed their arguments against a January 6 commission, which means it's not worth looking at any of those arguments in any detail at this point. Whatever they're saying at any given moment isn't true, and we know it isn't true, both because of how they keep moving the goalposts and because of what McConnell is saying in private. And because, exactly in line with what McConnell is saying in private, Republicans have very good reasons for wanting to block an investigation into something that will make not just Donald Trump but the entire Republican Party look very, very bad.

The commission needs ten Republican votes in the Senate, and it's not looking likely to get them. So far, just two Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney, have said they support a commission, while Sen. Susan Collins is claiming to support the idea of one, using that claim to try to water down a bill that already represents a massive compromise by Democrats even as she lays the groundwork to vote no.

There's no guarantee Republicans will even talk to Gladys Sicknick. When D.C. Metro Police officer Michael Fanone asked to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to talk about his experience fighting the Capitol insurrection and show McCarthy his body camera footage, he was rejected. In fact, McCarthy's staff hung up on him. Will the mother of a fallen officer get a more welcoming reception from Republicans than a traumatized and injured officer did?