As he aired selected clips of never-before-seen video, Fox News host Tucker Carlson characterized the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as “mostly peaceful chaos.”
In his broadcast, Carlson concluded “they were peaceful, they were orderly and meek.”
With exclusive access to thousands of hours of video, all Carlson revealed on two shows were a handful of clips showing rioters and rally-goers walking around the Capitol and taking pictures.
That didn’t stop him from declaring his report a “game-changer” anyway.
“Taken as a whole, the video record does not support the claim that Jan. 6 was an insurrection,” Carlson said. “In fact, it demolishes that claim.”
After quickly dismissing a “small percentage” of the crowd as “hooligans” who committed some “vandalism,” Carlson goes on to argue the vast majority of the people inside the Capitol that day had no ill intent.
“These were not insurrectionists. They were sightseers,” Carlson implausibly contended.
Exhaustive video footage from Jan. 6 shows how absurdly inaccurate this portrayal is.
Two extremist groups – the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers – had detailed plans to attack the building, and more than 110 law enforcement officers reported injuries, ranging from concussions and broken ribs to shattered spinal disks and stab wounds.
Four police officers present at the Capitol during the riot later committed suicide, and a fifth, Brian Sicknick, died of a stroke the day after the riot – though a medical examiner did not connect the events to his death.
A recurring theme in Carlson’s account of the Jan. 6 riot is that those facing criminal charges are being unfairly targeted for their political views.
According to the Justice Department, about 1,000 people have been arrested over the past 26 months for their actions on Jan. 6, but the defendants have not been treated as a monolith as Carlson suggested.
Although those convicted on charges like assaulting officers, or use of a deadly weapon, face serious jail time, others were given probation, home confinement, community service hours and/or small fines. The most common charge is “entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds.”
Democrats gleefully welcomed the opportunity to focus again on Jan. 6. Senate Republicans blasted Carlson’s account.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) told reporters he wanted to align himself with the views expressed by Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger who denounced Carlson for spreading “offensive and misleading conclusions” about events Jan. 6.
“I want to associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief and the Capitol Police about what happened,” McConnell said.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) said it was “just a lie” to compare Jan. 6 to a peaceful protest. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) ripped Carlson’s commentary as “bull----.”
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) agreed:
“I was there on Jan. 6. I saw what happened. It clearly was violent. It was an insurrection.”
Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-Louisiana) said “it was not peaceful, it was an abomination. And there’s no way to pretty it up.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said “the American people saw what happened on Jan. 6. They’ve seen the people that got injured. They saw the damage to the building. You can’t hide the truth by selectively picking a few minutes out of tapes and saying this is what went on. It’s so absurd. It’s nonsense.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham argued the findings of an overly partisan and one-sided House Jan. 6 Committee should be further investigated. But, he stated, “ I’m not interested in whitewashing Jan. 6.”
Even Carlson’s staunchest supporters in the Senate did not specifically back his version of that fateful day.
Carlson reveled in the bipartisan blowback his episode received.
Most Americans know Jan. 6 was a violent riot and was a serious threat to our long national tradition of successful transitions of power. They reject Carlson’s false narrative.
E-mail Jim Hartman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.
Sign in to comment