In my last column, I compared Fox News host Tucker Carlson to the CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, who used his reporting in the 1950s to change the course of history.
For that comparison I apologize.
It is now apparent that Carlson far exceeds Murrow in his courage, his thoughtfulness, and his stubborn refusal to accede to pressure.
Let’s get this straight. Murrow was a brilliant journalist, but his reputation as a dedicated war correspondent during the Battle of Britain also made him a beloved figure to his fellow reporters and to the politicians whom he covered. Thus, when he stood up against the bullying tactics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, Murrow knew he could count on the support of CBS, other journalists, and even senators who had been the target of McCarthy’s blind rage. In a very real sense, it was McCarthy’s own character flaws that brought him down, to the detriment of his anti-Communist crusade, which had accurately identified the very real threat of Soviet sympathizers who had infiltrated the federal government. Murrow was just the catalyst, and he was lauded for his efforts.
On the other hand, Tucker Carlson’s decision last week to air previously unseen video of the Jan. 6, 2021, confrontation between protesters and Capitol Police put his own career at risk and has made him the subject of bipartisan scorn. Some even speculate that he was silently punished by his bosses at Fox News, but Carlson doesn’t seem worried about being fired, and the condemnation he has received from both the majority leader and minority leader of the Senate has only emboldened him.
It will probably take years to fully understand the importance of Carlson’s challenge of the “official Washington” narrative of Jan. 6 as a “deadly insurrection,” but Carlson wasted no time last Monday in laying out the framework of his complete rejection of the “accepted truth” pushed by the Biden Department of Justice, the House Select Committee on January 6, and the mainstream media.
Only a tiny fraction of the thousands of hours of surveillance video released to Carlson by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was shown last week on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” but you only need a small pin to burst a large balloon, and by the time the week was over, all the president’s men couldn’t put the Humpty-Dumpty story of a “Trump-surrection” back together again.
“The images you will see were recorded 26 months ago today on January 6, 2021,” Carlson began. “Until now, politicians have kept this tape hidden from the public. There is no legitimate justification for that and there never has been.”
The powers that be would have you believe that Carlson had jeopardized national security by playing the tapes – probably 30 minutes out of the 41,000 hours. Now, it is true the tapes provided some interesting counterbalance to the non-stop harassment of Trump supporters that has taken place for the past two years, but if truth be told, the evidence on the tapes was much less significant than the reaction to them. What you really want to know now is, if 30 minutes of video has the Uniparty crowd so scared, what else are they hiding?
I think much more than the video, the Censorship-Industrial Complex (as journalist Matt Taibbi has accurately tabbed it) wants to shut down any information or even belief that goes counter to the official narrative, and that’s where Carlson got so deep under their skin that they were willing to rip themselves to shreds in an effort to get at him.
Everything Carlson said about Jan. 6 for three days last week was a threat to their power, and he knew it.
“The protesters were angry. They believed the election they had just voted in was unfairly conducted. They were right. In retrospect, it is clear the 2020 election was a grave betrayal of American democracy.”
He didn’t go beyond that in explaining the illegitimacy of the election, but he didn’t have to. The “it is clear” speaks volumes to those who haven’t bought into the official narrative that the 2020 election was “the most secure” in the nation’s history. Yeah, it was secure if you don’t believe the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that election law was violated en masse in those states. It was secure if you don’t have any concern about billionaire Mark Zuckerberg spending hundreds of millions of dollars to gain access to voter rolls and ensure that likely Biden voters were goosed to get their butts out of the chair and their ballots in the drop boxes. It was secure if you don’t care about Twitter and Facebook colluding with the federal government to make sure that Hunter Biden’s incriminating laptop was falsely painted as Russian disinformation in the weeks leading up to the election.
Although Democrats and the rest of “official Washington” claim the election was secure, they spent zero hours proving that case. Instead, they seized on the disruptions on Jan. 6 as the real threat to democracy and gave their clients in the lapdog media the spectacle of the select committee’s show trial. What is most hurtful to the Democrats and RINOs who wrote the narrative is that their two years of work propping up the infrastructure of a “deadly insurrection” was undone in less than 60 minutes by Carlson, who didn’t deny that violence had been done on Jan. 6, but committed the unforgivable sin of putting it in perspective.
Thus, where the Jan. 6 committee saw the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War, Tucker Carlson showed pictures of protesters walking in the door of the Capitol and milling around, as he said, like sightseers. No matter how many times Carlson said he was not excusing any violence, the proponents of the “deadly insurrection” narrative claimed that showing non-violent protesters was an affront to their efforts to demonize Trump voters as terrorists. And, of course, they were right to worry.
But it wasn’t just the images by themselves that overturned the official narrative; it was the muscular words of Carlson as he held to account not just the select committee, but also congressional leaders, Capitol Police, and the Department of Justice. This was a rarely seen J’accuse moment in which the system’s irresponsible scapegoating of the Deplorables was held up to the light.
“Committee members lied about what they saw,” Carlson said, “and then hid the evidence from the public as well as from Jan. 6 criminal defendants and their lawyers. That is unforgivable.”
The most important video came in four specific batches, each of which puts a dent in the official story. As explained by Carlson, they were as follows:
– Shots of Jacob Chansley (the QAnon Shaman) being escorted through the Capitol by a number of police and never being arrested or prevented from moving about freely. As Carlson points out, the video raises questions about whether the Department of Justice violated Chansley’s rights to a fair trial because he was denied potentially exculpatory evidence. The video plainly raises questions about whether Chansley was an intruder or a guest in the Capitol. Carlson questioned whether similar footage could have assisted many others charged with Jan. 6 crimes by showing that the “deadly insurrection” was nothing of the kind.
– Shots of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick apparently waving protesters out of the building, raising serious questions about the honesty of the many media and political figures who claimed Sicknick’s death was caused by the protesters. In the footage, Sicknick appears to be unharmed and wearing a helmet some time after he was reportedly murdered by having his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher. Sicknick died the next day as a result of a stroke caused by blood clots at the base of his brain. The medical examiner found no external or internal injuries and ruled that Sicknick died of natural causes.
– Shots of Ray Epps, the mysterious figure who urged protesters to “go IN to the Capitol” both the night before and the day of the mob scene. Epps testified before the Jan. 6 committee that he left the riot prior to texting his nephew that he had “orchestrated” the attack, but Carlson found footage of Epps a half hour later still in the middle of the mob, although suspiciously not following his own insistent advice to enter the Capitol. Carlson and others have questioned whether Epps was a federal agent or informant who was provoking the attack as part of a political scheme to create chaos. At the very least, it appears that Epps should be charged with lying to Congress, and if a serious investigation is ever done by anyone other than Tucker Carlson, we should try to find out why the man who said he “orchestrated” the Jan. 6 attack was never charged with any crime.
– Shots of Sen. Josh Hawley exiting the Capitol under the direction of the Capitol Police. In some ways, this footage is the most damning example of the purely partisan political nature of the Jan. 6 committee. Video of Hawley, who had been one of the leaders of the movement to challenge the 2020 election due to irregularities in six or more states, was shown to a national audience for comic effect as it appeared that the senator was being entirely selfish as he fled from the protesters. The effect of watching Hawley running across a Capitol hallway like a shooting gallery rabbit was so humorous that it was put on a loop for the national TV audience to get a good chuckle. Hawley was held up for ridicule by late-night comedians and cable TV “news” hosts. But when Carlson pulled the full video, he discovered that the Capitol Police had ushered dozens of senators and staff out of the building at high speed for their own protection. Hawley, as it turned out, was one of the last to leave, and not the coward he was portrayed to be. Nothing better illustrated the Jan. 6 select committee’s “narrative building” exercise than this attempt to humiliate a U.S. senator who made the mistake of “running” as a Republican.
As Carlson noted at one point, “By controlling the images you were allowed to view from January 6, they controlled how the public understood that day. They could lie about what happened and you would never know the difference. Those lies had a purpose. They created a pretext for a federal crackdown on opponents of the Uniparty in Washington.”
It is that crackdown which has occupied the Biden administration, the FBI, and much of Congress for the last two years. Can the heroic resistance of one TV journalist turn those efforts around and restore a sense of justice to the land of the free? I’ll believe it when I see it, but in the meantime it’s nice to have someone to root for.