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Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 revisionism is a self-own for conservatives

The list of critics assailing McCarthy and Carlson’s reframing of the Jan. 6 attack includes GOP senators — and Capitol Police officers who lived through it.


Count me among those skeptical of the efficacy in Kevin McCarthy and Tucker Carlson’s collaborative effort to rehash and whitewash the Jan. 6 attack

In his capacity as House speaker, McCarthy obtained about 40,000 hours of unaired surveillance footage during the pro-Trump siege of the Capitol. And to date, he has not released the footage to anyone but Carlson and Fox News. 

That last point should be as sure a sign as any that the footage — some of which Carlson aired Monday night — likely isn’t as favorable to conservatives as McCarthy seems to think.

Carlson is effectively a right-wing court jester who exists to entertain and placate a conservative base, no matter what levels of depravity are required. McCarthy, however, is an elected official. And he leads a party of elected officials.

Sure, some of those elected officials serve bases likely to applaud this reopening of the Jan. 6 wound, but many of them represent large swaths of Americans who would rather not downplay one of the most devastating moments in U.S. history.

In allowing a television host to cherry-pick from the footage, McCarthy seems to be assuming that the isolated moments of dormancy Carlson chooses to air will overtake the images of feces-smearing, violent seditionists that have been etched in Americans’ minds. It’s a gamble, to say the least.

After all, what could possibly indicate the GOP’s detachment from reality more than a presumption that Americans reliving Jan. 6 in any fashion would play well for Republicans. 

On Tuesday, the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Thomas Manger, sent a letter to his officers saying the segment on Fox News was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack."

“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video,” Manger wrote. “The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.”

Manger also took exception to Carlson’s “disturbing accusation” that the events of Jan. 6 played no role in the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who engaged with rioters and died the next day after suffering two strokes.

Sicknick’s family also denounced Carlson’s attempt to downplay the severity of Sicknick’s encounter with the pro-Trump mob. In a statement, the family said it’s “outraged at the ongoing attack on our family by the unscrupulous and outright sleazy so called ‘news’ network of Fox News.” 

Former Capitol Police Staff Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who was injured on Jan. 6, demonstrated how easy it is to undercut any claims that the attack wasn’t that bad. On Twitter, Gonell posted images of his own injuries and mocked the characterization of the rioters as “sightseers.” 

Winston Pingeon, another former Capitol Police officer, said in a tweet that it’s “exhausting” to keep having to defend the Capitol Police’s actions that day. 

“I wish Tucker and Elon would talk to me or any Capitol police officers before spewing garbage/ cherry picked footage, ignoring all the obvious and unprecedented violence,” wrote Pingeon, referring to Twitter owner Elon Musk. 

On Tuesday, several Republican senators noted their disgust with the stunt, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Carlson’s depiction a “mistake.”

What? You mean a Jan. 6 revival isnt playing well to many Americans?

Color me shocked. I suspected more from a brilliant political tactician such as Kevin McCarthy.