Following Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s condemnation of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s support for far-right conspiracy theories, the causes for the Georgia Republican’s disputes on the Hill received a favorable retelling on Fox News. On Monday night’s Special Report, chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel covered Greene’s controversial collision with her colleagues––though, he conveniently spared his audience from the specifics of her past views. Rather than noting that the freshman congresswoman has claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was staged and 9/11 was an inside job, blamed a space laser for causing wildfires, harassed a survivor of the Parkland shooting, and espoused support for the crackpot QAnon movement, the segment essentially portrayed Greene as a would-be conservative martyr who is being persecuted by Democrats for some vague reason, citing the Democratic demand that she be stripped of her role on the Education Committee as “more evidence that the 117th Congress is more divided than ever.”
On Monday, McConnell went to bat for GOP Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, currently under fire from colleagues for voting to impeach former president Donald Trump, while calling out Greene—albeit not by name—for pushing “loony lies” that are a “cancer for the Republican Party.” The minority leader went on to assert that any member who has “suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were prestaged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.” McConnell’s rebuke of Greene didn’t appear to get play on Fox News in prime time, according to CNN’s Oliver Darcy, though it was covered during the 11 p.m. hour.
In the supposed name of free speech, Tucker Carlson rolled out a roundabout defense of Greene on Monday night, taking aim at those calling for her removal as he implied that she is being villainized because “CNN says she has bad opinions. Therefore, she’s the greatest threat we face. Now if you’re skeptical about any of this, our advice is keep it to yourself. Because free inquiry is dead, unauthorized questions are hate speech.” (CNN’s Brianna Keilar shot back Tuesday: “Those aren’t opinions, Tucker. They are lies. Unfounded and absurd conspiracy theories”
During a Tuesday Fox News appearance, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise refused to take a firm stand in the GOP debate over Greene and Cheney. When explicitly asked by Dana Perino if more GOP members back one of the other, Scalise would only go so far as to say that he has “rejected” the conspiratorial “statements by Marjorie” and later added that this simple matter of “palace intrigue” will be resolved internally. Instead of answering the question, Scalise focused his airtime on lashing out against President Joe Biden for supposedly causing “devastating economic hits” already. Senator Josh Hawley is another Republican who refused to say whether the GOP is more aligned with Cheney or Greene on Tuesday. When asked on Fox News if he sees the future of the GOP resting with the “establishment Republican” wing or “the conspiracy wing of the Republican Party,” Hawley punted and the segment blew over, giving him a platform to instead rehearse his claims of being censored which he initially laid out in his New York Post op-ed.
Some Fox News voices have recently called out how Republicans are handling Greene vs. Cheney. “You’ve got a situation right now where there is more visible outrage inside the GOP over Liz Cheney, a member of [Republican] leadership voting to impeach the [former] president over—rather than some of these wild conspiracy theories being espoused by Marjorie Taylor Greene,” said Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. “What are their options here?” Wallace prompted, a remark that USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page replied to by noting that it tells “you a lot about where the Republican Party is right now.” Fox News host Juan Williams penned a Monday op-ed on the controversy, writing in The Hill that Greene should lose her congressional seat entirely. “I can’t help but wonder what is driving the deafening silence from GOP leadership. It could well be fear of reprisals—political or physical violence from the QAnon crowd,” The Five cohost wrote. “There are no tests for sanity at the voting booth. Greene easily won her seat. Republican strategists might fear losing her supporters and the whole QAnon crowd in the 2022 elections. But the party will be dead by then if the Republicans of sound mind don’t stand up right now. The healing begins by expelling Greene from Congress.”
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