New York (CNN Business) Executives at Fox News shielded the channel’s audience on Wednesday night from the impeachment trial proceedings playing out in the United States Senate, instead choosing to air its regular bloc of opinion programming which is strongly supportive of President Donald Trump.
The editorial choice was remarkable, given it is only the third time a sitting President has faced a trial in the Senate that could potentially end with his being removed from office, though it is almost certain that will not happen. While broadcast networks stuck to regular programming, both CNN and MSNBC, the other two major cable news channels, aired raw footage of the reservations provided by the Senate.
But Fox News’ prime time audience did not get a chance to see the Democrats make their case against Trump. Instead they saw pro-Trump hosts like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham provide cover for the President.
“If I were a terrible host,” Sean Hannity told viewers Wednesday night, “I would force you to endure watching the regurgitation, the repetition … the insanity that has gone on all day. “
Spokespeople for Fox News did not return a request for comment. The network’s move to cut away from the Senate proceedings occurred during the 5 p.m. hour when the channel aired “The Five,” one of Fox’s top shows which features an ensemble of pundits, most of whom are supportive of Trump.
” So you are looking live at the Senate floor. Don’t worry, we are not going through the whole thing, “co-host Dana Perino reassured viewers, adding,” Our reaction is coming up in just a minute, we promise. ”
Some of that reaction included: Co-host Jesse Watters calling Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair who is one of the Democratic impeachment managers, a “rotten dandelion.” Co-host Greg Gutfeld accusing the “establishment media” of assisting the Democrats. And co-host Dagen McDowell claiming, with a reference to Joe Biden’s son, “Hunter Biden is ready for his close-up because he got new teeth, did you notice that?”
Following the decision to cut away from Senate impeachment proceedings in favor of “The Five,” Fox never looked back. It aired Bret Baier’s “Special Report” and Martha MacCallum’s “The Story” as usual, with the hosts sometimes dipping into the Senate chambers for a look at the proceedings. MacCallum, who hosts one of Fox’s top news shows, found time in her program to air a story about Hunter Biden’s ongoing paternity case.
Carlson started his 8 p.m. show telling viewers, “You may be forgiven if you didn’t watch every single minute” of the impeachment trial. “Imagine a movie written and directed by children whose ending you already know, and by the way, it’s hours long and Hungarian with misspelled subtitles, “Carlson said. “That’s what it’s like.”
Carlson went on to attack the Democratic House impeachment managers. “Schiff, who sources say he had not a single friend in high school, has been relishing his turn in the spotlight,” Carlson said. He later attacked Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, another House Impeachment manager, calling him a “joke” and a “race baiter.”
Hannity continued the verbal assault on Schiff by recycling his usual attacks. He called him “compromised” and “corrupt,” a “congenital liar” and “lunatic” who is “totally unhinged.”
Meanwhile, throughout his show, Hannity painted Trump in a positive light. Despite the President being on trial in the Senate, Hannity described Trump as being “in a very good position.”
Ingraham told viewers of her show that she “decided to torture” herself “and go over to the Senate” earlier in the day “to watch some of this nonsense.” Ingraham later aired a segment which asked in the chyron, “WHAT DID ALLEGED WHISTLEBLOWER KNOW ABOUT BIDENS & BURISMA?”
The attacks on the Bidens were a common theme throughout Fox’s prime time lineup. Each host, at one point or another, focused on Hunter Biden.