Right-wing media divided on Capitol chaos

The conservative headlines on the mob storming the Capitol were a head-twisting panorama of the opposing philosophies expressed in right-wing media, and reflective of the divisions in the Republican Party.

FoxNews.com posted not one but two editorials last night denouncing the mayhem, including a short piece by Karl Rove that placed a good part of the blame on Donald Trump for bringing the mob together. Both the Washington Examiner and National Review, two influential and prominent conservative websites that have been increasingly critical of Trump, came out swinging. Most notably, the Examiner called for his impeachment and removal from office. 

But several voices on the far right took a different view. Consider this headline from Infowars, posted last night: “Unarmed woman carrying Trump flag executed in U.S. Capitol building.” Big League Politics called Vice President Mike Pence a traitor for praising the police, especially after they shot a “patriotic woman dead.” American Thinker theorized that leftist provocateurs led the way into the Capitol.

And others just ignored the events. Newsmax’s usually robust opinion pages contained not one piece about the Capitol riots. The top story on its homepage the morning of January 7 had this bland headline: “Trump vows ‘orderly transition’ after ‘greatest 1st term’ in history.” The opinion pages of the Washington Times seemed stuck in time, with a lead editorial about the elections in Georgia.

It’s worth mentioning a piece of conservative satire from the outlet Babylon Bee, which invents news stories to make points in the manner of The Onion. It carried the headline: “Trump walks away from Republican party without even looking back at the explosion.” The piece made up a quote from Steve Bannon and Nancy Pelosi both saying: “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.”

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Howard Polskin is the president and chief curator of TheRighting, a website that aggregates stories from right-wing media outlets on a daily basis to inform mainstream and liberal audiences. The site, which was launched in 2017, also tracks and analyzes traffic to conservative websites on a monthly basis.