House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is—no surprise here—not apologizing for giving Tucker Carlson the Jan. 6 footage to create a false picture of the day, downplaying the violence of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. McCarthy, who traded things like releasing security camera footage to Fox News for the votes he needed to become speaker on the 15th vote, repeatedly showed off one big talking point in answering reporters’ questions: transparency.
McCarthy kept saying transparency, as if giving a single partisan outlet access to all 41,000 hours of footage of the attack so that it can cherry-pick calmer moments to make the explicit claim that “Footage from inside the Capitol overturns the story you’ve heard about Jan. 6” somehow constitutes transparency.
Carlson took the material McCarthy gave him and McCarthy won’t stop yapping about “transparency.”
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Speaking to a group of reporters, McCarthy was not going to get off message. When asked, “Do you regret giving [Carlson] that footage so he could whitewash the events of that day?” McCarthy responded, “No. I said at the very beginning transparency, and so what I wanted to produce for everybody was exactly that [inaudible] so people could look at and see what’s going on that day.”
After a cacophony of reporters yelling questions, McCarthy added, “Look, each person can come up with their own conclusion but what I just wanted to make sure is I had transparency because I know at CNN, I mean I had here, where you guys actually broke where we were, this is a secret location, Fort McNair, I don’t know if you got concerned about that, I don’t even know from the point of view of security if we can ever be taken there again. But when you broke that at CNN that was a real concern to a lot of people. I had a real concern also, but I wanted to make sure transparency.” For context, CNN’s Manu Raju was standing right in front of him. But the fact that members of Congress were taken to Fort McNair on Jan. 6 was reported at the time, including in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal.
McCarthy dove forward with his answer, concluding, “Look, the officer’s death is tragic, anytime an officer is passed in this situation I want to make sure they’re protected, I want to make sure transparency goes forward.”
That’s four mentions of transparency, with the word being inserted into sentences in weird speech patterns, strongly suggesting that his mind was constantly going “transparency, transparency, where can I mention transparency again” and spitting it out without making it quite work, like, “I wanted to make sure transparency.” The need to use the talking point overrides the need to make the sentence make any sense.
But the talking point itself doesn’t make sense. Transparency is not best served by giving one partisan opinion host exclusive access to the footage to create a false story with. Of course it’s not. Carlson went in looking for material to allow himself to claim, “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.” As if the speaker’s office had not been broken into. As if windows and doors were not broken. As if nobody was hurt.
McCarthy truly shows his cowardice with his statement on how Carlson portrayed Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Carlson insisted that footage showing Sicknick walking around after the initial attack by the mob proves that Sicknick did not die as a result of the attack, but we know that the medical examiner concluded that while Sicknick died of a stroke after collapsing hours after the attack on the Capitol, those events played a role in his death. But McCarthy rushes from “the officer’s death is tragic” right back to “I want to make sure transparency goes forward.”
Carlson’s lies are not transparency, no matter how many times McCarthy uses the word. And the ability to find a few minutes of nonviolent footage out of 41,000 hours of footage does not mean that Jan. 6 was anything but what it always has been: a sore loser’s fan base violently attacking the Capitol to prevent Congress from doing its job in ensuring the peaceful transition of power. If McCarthy’s transparency at any point extends to allowing other media outlets to view the footage and use carefully screened parts of it, we’re likely to get plenty more evidence of that.
Markos and Kerry luxuriate in the battle going on between Donald Trump’s ascending fascism and Mitch McConnell’s disappearing neocon establishment. The fighting has become much sharper recently as the MAGA-media outlet Fox News has traveled further and further away from reality.
'Bulls*#t,' one Republican senator says of Carlson's depiction of Jan. 6
National security only one of many reasons McCarthy had no business giving J6 video to Tucker