On Thursday evening, the House January 6 select committee will begin a series of televised hearings. The surface goal: Simply provide a narrative for what happened on that day. The committee is promising to “present previously unseen material documenting January 6th … and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power.”

But the underlying goal is larger and more diffuse: Show Americans how involved President Donald Trump was, and why we should care about one party’s complete and utter rejection of democratic norms. But it will be no easy task convincing a now sizable group of Republicans that democracy matters. In the 17 months since January 6, Americans on the right have hardened against reality: 32% of American adults polled in January say that Trump has “no responsibility” for the riot that day—which, remember, started with Trump telling the crowd at the “Save America” rally, “We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore … You will have an illegitimate president. That’s what you’ll have. And we can’t let that happen.”

Like a lot of Americans, I watched the riots on television—the smoke, the flash bangs, and the noise. I saw Adam Johnson smile for photographs in a Trump ski hat as he held up Nancy Pelosi’s podium. Johnson later got sentenced to 75 days in prison and 200 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. I saw the bare-chested, fur-hat-clad “QAnon Shaman,” Jacob Chansley, standing on the floor of the Senate chamber, shouting through a bullhorn. In November, Chansley was sentenced to 41 months in prison. His lawyer told the court that he was “horrendously smitten” with Trump, who continues to live in comfort at his Palm Beach club, where he plays golf and frequents the omelet bar and plots his return to public life.

And we’re still handing down punishments to January 6’s foot soldiers. On Monday, Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the far-right Proud Boys, and four of his followers were charged with seditious conspiracy (conspiring to overthrow the government or prevent the execution of U.S. law). The Watergate burglars were charged and sent to jail, and President Richard Nixon was pardoned—but at least Nixon resigned, thus creating the appearance of contrition. Then again, Nixon didn’t have Fox News counterprogramming coverage of his disgrace.

Speaking of conservative counterprogramming: CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted on Monday that “Fox’s top news anchors will be moved over to the Fox Business Network, and they will cover the hearing there. At 8pm ET on an ordinary night, Fox News has more than 3 million viewers, while Fox Business has under 100,000. That pretty much says it all about Fox’s priorities.” Fox News is no stranger to covering congressional hearings and scandals. In the 20 months after Benghazi, Fox ran almost 1,100 segments on it. But Fox knows an armed insurrection is bad for the Republican brand, so it’s planning to memory-hole these new hearings. And Republicans and the other conservative media are already doing the same. Senator Bill Hagerty and Senator Ted Cruz have both been tweeting about drugs being “seized” at the border. The New York Post (owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp) is surfacing another video of Hunter Biden.

Even the theoretically liberal New York Times ran a headline loudly announcing that the “Jan. 6 Hearings Give Democrats a Chance to Recast Midterm Message.” But the hearings aren’t partisan (there are even two Republicans on the committee). The partisan framing distracts from what’s really at stake: democracy. It also diminishes the events of January 6. Isn’t the armed insurrection more meaningful than midterm messaging? Why are the two being muddled in the first place? Isn’t a coup news enough? But the false equivalencies will almost certainly continue to run wild.

But I believe it’s still possible to change hearts and minds, and the January 6 committee—unlike former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who struggled through the 2019 congressional hearings about his report on Trump—understands sound bites, some of which might even penetrate the right-wing echo chamber. It’s crucial that the mainstream media not call a strike before the committee is done and the information it presents is allowed to permeate a few news cycles. Republicans will cast the committee as slanted, but a pro-democracy bias is—or should be—anything but partisan.