“It was something like I had seen out of the movies,” U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards told the Jan. 6 committee on live national television. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground they were bleeding. They were throwing up. … I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood.” Edwards herself suffered a concussion.
But Carlson found footage over which to put this voiceover: “They were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionists, they were sightseers. Footage from inside the Capitol overturns the story you’ve heard about January 6. Protesters queue up in neat little lines. They give each other tours outside the speaker’s office. They take cheerful selfies and they smile. They’re not destroying the Capitol, they obviously revere the Capitol. They’re there because they believe the election was stolen from them. They believe in the system.”
Tours outside the speaker’s office? Was that before or after they broke into the office? Before Bigo Barnett, with a stun gun tucked inside his pants, put his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk and left her a note calling her a bitch?
“They’re there because they believe the election was stolen from them”—but they’re just there on a nice little sightseeing visit, not to do anything about their belief that the election was stolen? At least 1,000 people have been arrested and 500 have pleaded guilty for their participation in the insurrection. Two Oath Keeper leaders were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and three others were found guilty of charges including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiring to prevent officers from discharging their duties, and civil disorder.
Carlson went on to spend some time arguing that Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon shaman, was a peaceful visitor who was given a personal tour of the Capitol by several police officers. “To this day, there is dispute over how Chansley got into the Capitol building,” Carlson said. The reality is different.
Even if you don’t know that the door was breached less than 40 seconds earlier, you can see people climbing in through a window in that picture. It’s a clue that this is not a standard tourist visit. Other footage shows Chansley outside the Capitol close to the front of a mob breaking through police barriers.
As I said, even by Carlson’s standards, this is an elaborate and brazen lie.
Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell responded directly to Carlson’s report with photos of his injuries:
The family of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died following the attack on the Capitol, released a blistering statement. “Carlson’s ‘truth’ is to pick and choose footage that supports his delusional views that the Jan 6th Insurrection was peaceful,” they wrote. In doing so, he is “downplaying the horrid situation faced by the USCP and the DC Metro Police who were incredibly outnumbered and were literally fighting for their very lives.”
Later in the statement, they ask, “What will it take to silence the lies from people like Carlson? What will it take to convince people that the Jan 6th Insurrection was very real, was very violent, and that the event was orchestrated by a man who is every bit as corrupt and evil as Vladamir Putin?”
But Carlson is not only using the footage to argue that the attack on the Capitol was not a violent attack but was a sightseeing visit by people who revered the Capitol. He’s using it to revisit lies about the 2020 election having been stolen—the argument is that these people were not violent but that they had every right to be.
“The protesters were angry. They believed that the election they had just voted in had been unfairly conducted,” Carlson said. “They were right. In retrospect, it is clear the 2020 election was a grave betrayal of American democracy. Given the facts that have since emerged about that election, no honest person can deny it."
This is, of course, false. The Trump campaign and its allies took claims of fraud and theft to court dozens of times. Since then, Republicans in multiple states have combed through ballots looking for evidence of theft, and repeatedly failed to find it. There are no facts that would lead an honest person to even question the validity and integrity of the 2020 presidential election. Carlson is strenuously working to get the Fox News audience on board with the next coup attempt by painting this one as innocent patriotism. And he’s been enabled in this by McCarthy giving him this footage ahead of any other news organization, so that Carlson can feed his viewers lies that they will then cling to when more footage emerge.
Meanwhile, Tucker should get right on this:
Here are some more reminders of what really happened on Jan. 6, 2021:
So now Republicans are suddenly worried about the safety of publicizing Jan. 6 attack footage
McCarthy gives Tucker Carlson 'exclusive' access to U.S. Capitol security footage of Jan. 6 attacks
What do Americans really think about the issues? It turns out they are a surprisingly liberal bunch, as Rachael Russell of Navigator Research tells us on this week's episode of The Downballot. Russell explains how Navigator conducts in-depth research to fill in gaps in policy debates with hard data instead of pundit speculation. The challenge for Democrats is that many voters say they hold progressive beliefs but still pull the lever for Republicans. That imbalance, however, presents an opportunity—Democrats just have to seize it.
Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard also recap the first round of voting in the race for Chicago mayor, which saw a progressive apocalypse averted; the resolution to the long-running uncertainty over the speakership in the Pennsylvania state House that saw Joanna McClinton make history; Rep. Elissa Slotkin's entry into Michigan's open Senate race, which makes her the first prominent candidate to run; and the inexplicable decision by conservatives to go dark on the airwaves for a full week following last week's primary in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.
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