Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 Propaganda Bomb Was a Giant Dud
For the second night this week, Tucker Carlson devoted the majority of his broadcast to his long standing campaign to re-write the history of Jan. 6. Tuesday night’s broadcast features virtually none of the 44,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage to which House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy granted Carlson and his team exclusive access. Instead, Carlson spent the hour casting Jan. 6 defendants and himself as the true victims of the unseen forces preventing you, dear Fox viewer, from learning the truth of Jan. 6.
On Monday night, Carlson released his initial “findings” from the footage. As expected, the host made explosive accusations of lies and deception against the Jan. 6 committee and democrats based on little more than tidbits of footage of protesters milling about the capitol. Carlson claimed that the protesters had been “meek and obedient […] sightseers” who had treated the Capitol with “reverence.”
On Tuesday the sheer nothingness of Carlson’s discovery became plainly apparent. Carlson opened the show by lambasting lawmakers who had criticized his coverage, particularly the widespread condemnation he received from members of his own party. The Fox host accused lawmakers criticizing him of degrading themselves and endorsing lies and censorship.
The reality is Tucker’s attempt at crafting pro-insurrectionist Jan. 6 propaganda was so nakedly transparent that even his own network wasn’t buying it. A Rolling Stone review of Fox’s Tuesday transcripts found that only one show on the network addressed the newly revealed footage – via a mildly critical segment from anchor Bret Baier, who assured the audience that “no one here at Fox News condones any of the violence that happened on January 6th”
But pushback has never dissuaded Carlson. Despite barely airing any additional footage (again he had 44,000 hours to work with), Carlson brought on a series of commentators to help him craft and reiterate his claims about Jan. 6, with particular focus on the plight of Jan. 6 defendants.
Guest Julie Kelly claimed that the “real villains here are the federal judges in Washington D.C. who allowed the federal government to play every single game to keep this evidence out of the hands of defendants.” Defendants do have access to footage of their presence in the Capitol though the legal discovery process. In addition, House Republicans have proposed a new system that would allow defendants to request access to the full trove of footage.
But Carlson’s concern for Jan. 6 defendants and a Capitol Police officer who was demoted for wearing a MAGA hat during couldn’t match his concern over the media and public’s reaction to his access to the footage. Carlson compiled a montage of media figures criticizing McCarthy and Carlson’s exploitation of the footage, and attacked other publications for their critical coverage of him.
It’s not particularly surprising that Carlson’s attempts to recast Jan. 6 as benign are flopping. Thousands of people stormed a surveilled building in broad daylight, often while snapping selfies and livestreaming what they were doing. And for the past two years, the country has watched that footage over and over again. No amount of selective editing is going to change that, but, as Carlson has made clear, it won’t stop him from trying.