Fox News host Tucker Carlson has started airing security video from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was selectively edited from the 44,000 hours of tape exclusively provided to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He portrayed the insurrection as a mostly peaceful gathering.
It’s as bad a propaganda show as might be expected, perhaps even worse. Carlson was granted access to the tapes as part of the deal that helped McCarthy secure the votes needed to gain the speakership.
“ ‘Deadly insurrection.’ Everything about that phrase is a lie,” Carlson said on his Monday night show. “Very little about Jan. 6 was organized or violent. Surveillance video from inside the Capitol shows mostly peaceful chaos,” Carlson said.
Carlson focused Monday’s segment on promoting former President Donald Trump’s narrative by showing video of his supporters walking calmly around the U.S. Capitol. He asserted that other media accounts lied about the attack, proclaiming that while there were some bad apples, most of the rioters were peaceful and calling them "sightseers," not "insurrectionists."
“The footage does not show an insurrection or a riot in progress,” Carlson told his audience Monday. “Instead it shows police escorting people through the building, including the now-infamous ‘QAnon Shaman.’”
He continued: "More than 44,000 hours of surveillance footage from in and around the Capitol have been withheld from the public, and once you see the video, you’ll understand why. Taken as a whole, the video does not support the claim that Jan. 6 was an insurrection. In fact, it demolishes that claim."
Carlson did not air video of the violent clashes between police and the rioters. On Monday, the Department of Justice released an update on the status of prosecutions connected to the events on Jan. 6.
According to statistics released by the Justice Department earlier Monday, more than 999 people are facing federal or local charges related to the January 6 attack, 326 of whom have been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees.
According to the department, 140 officers were assaulted at the Capitol that day, including 60 Metropolitan Police officers and 80 Capitol police officers.
And 518 of those charged have pleaded guilty to various charges related to that day, including 60 defendants who have pleaded guilty to federal charges of assaulting officers.
So despite the revelations about Fox News’ hypocrisy revealed in the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit, Rupert Murdoch’s GOP propaganda network continues to spread lies and disinformation to pander to MAGA election deniers to bolster its ratings among its right-wing audience.
As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote in a letter last month to colleagues:
By "handpicking Tucker Carlson, Speaker McCarthy laid bare that this sham is simply about pandering to MAGA election deniers, not the truth,” Schumer said. “Tucker Carlson has no fidelity to the truth or facts and has used his platform to promote the Big Lie, distort reality, and espouse bogus conspiracy theories about January 6.”
Apparently McCarthy and others in the GOP do not see any disadvantage to coming out on the side of the “tourists.” otherwise known as insurrectionists, who swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. But the results of the 2022 midterm elections showed that voters categorically rejected election denialism, losing seats in the Senate and barely eking out a narrow majority in the House.
Carlson used the edited footage to disparage the work of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, claiming its members lied about what they saw on the security footage.
That prompted Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the former chairman of the select committee, to issue a statement Monday evening, according to The Hill.
Thompson called it “a dereliction of duty for Kevin McCarthy to give Tucker Carlson carte blanche access to sensitive U.S. Capitol security surveillance footage from one of the darkest days in the history of our democracy.”
“Despite repeated warnings as to the sensitive nature of this footage, the Speaker decided it was more important to give in to a Fox host who spews lies and propaganda than to protect the Capitol and the police, members, and staff that serve in it,” Thompson said.
Carlson claimed that he took “security seriously” and Capitol Police had reviewed footage before it was aired on his show, resulting in only minor changes, including blurring the details of a single interior door in the Capitol building. But CNN, citing multiple sources, said Carlson’s show provided only one clip to review and not the others.