Fox News host Tucker Carlson is facing widespread condemnation after his latest attempt to change the truth to better suit Donald Trump’s needs.
The primetime host even found himself criticised by Capitol Police, the very organisation whose officers suffered the most at the hands of Carlson’s ideological allies on the day that they stormed the US Capitol and attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 election.
It all began with an episode of Carlson’s show airing Monday evening, the first of several set to feature footage from the January 6 attack provided exclusively to his producers by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, who now faces ridicule by the left and some of his own Republicans for the overt effort to throw a bone to the far-right and allow Carlson first dibs at the footage.
On the episode, Carlson insisted that rioters – some of whom bludgeoned officers with flagpoles, stole riot shields, and blasted members of law enforcement of chemical spray – were actually being “meek” when they climbed through shattered windows and were merely showing reverence for the instititution when they shouted racist slurs at Black officers attempting to keep them from hunting down and carrying out plans to “hang Mike Pence” and other lawmakers — plans they chanted openly as the riot unfolded.
His words were roundly rejected even by Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell, but also Thomas Manger, chief of US Capitol Police.
According to Mr Manger, Carlson’s episode “fails to provide context” for clips including ones that show rioters interacting with officers who attempted to convince them to leave verbally, knowing law enforcement was outnumbered.
Here’s the full text of Mr Manger’s memo to colleagues.
Last night an opinion program aired commentary that was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack. The opinion program never reached out to the Department to provide accurate context.
One false allegation is that our officers helped the rioters and acted as ‘tour guides.’ This is outrageous and false. The Department stands by the officers in the video that was shown last night. I don’t have to remind you how outnumbered our officers were on January 6. Those officers did their best to use de-escalation tactics to try to talk to rioters into getting each other to leave the building.
The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.
Finally, the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with his heroic actions on January 6. The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.
As some people select from 41,000 hours of video clips that seemingly support the narrative they want to push, those of you who were here on January 6, those of you who were in the fight, those of you who ensured that no Member of Congress was hurt, those of you who contributed to the effort to allow the country’s Legislative process to continue, know firsthand what actually happened.
You fought like hell on January 6 and risked your lives to protect the Constitution and everything this country stands for. You, along with our law enforcement partners, saved every Member of Congress and their staff.
TV commentary will not record the truth for our history books. The justice system will. The truth and justice are on our side.
Carlson continues to insist that the 2020 election was stolen, even as his network’s boss has admitted that this is a lie and that Carlson and others know this. He was recently revealed in text messages to have privately derided Trump campaign officials as liars even as they spread the same conspiracies that he himself embraced publicly.
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