The GOP wants all of the January 6th footage released, saying it will be unbiased and unedited. While promising, there is already a lot of such footage out there on the internet:
(Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel Here.)
Since taking over the House of Representatives, the Republicans in that chamber have been vowing to launch all sorts of investigations of the Biden Administration and other Democrats. One is a committee that will be called The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
The committee has been compared to what was known as the Church Committee in the 1970s, which grew out of the Senate Watergate Committee and investigated abuses by the CIA.
Last week, CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported that, in keeping with that, new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has vowed to “release all the security camera footage from the Capitol on January 6,” as part of a deal with dissenters to allow McCarthy to win the Speakership.
“Gaetz hinted in a tweet tonight that was part of their hand shake deal, and confirmed to CNN that was what he was referring to. It shows how the full extent of McCarthy’s concessions still not fully known,” the reporter also said. “Earlier today, when asked at a press conference about how some Republicans had called on former-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to release all the security footage from January 6, McCarthy said, ‘Yeah, I think the public should see what happened.’”
“Speaker McCarthy says he’ll be releasing ALL the footage from January 6th. Considering all the public has seen are edited clips from a bunch of Democrats with an axe to grind, it sure will be nice to get some unbiased footage.”
Per Salon, Republicans have been pushing for this since last year, mostly to try to exonerate some January 6 criminal defendants. It is also meant to “settle longstanding rumors that some representatives gave ‘reconnaissance tours,’ unintentionally or otherwise, to some of the rioters.
This has been alleged about Boebert herself, the Washington Post reported in 2021.
At any rate, the idea that “all the public has seen are edited clips from a bunch of Democrats with an axe to grind,” in regard to January 6 footage, is absolutely ludicrous.
The January 6 Committee hearings last year featured a great deal of footage from that day, but those hearings were far from the first time the public got a look at that footage. The riot, after all, happened on live television in real-time.
On top of that, numerous participants in the insurrection filmed or live-streamed the events themselves, in footage that has been used against them in countless criminal trials, and more to come.
In January 2021, less than two weeks after the insurrection, Pro Publica published extensive video that was filmed by the insurrectionists themselves, to the social network Parler.
“Users of the social media service Parler posted videos of themselves and others joining the fray,” the news outlet said at the time. “ProPublica reviewed thousands of videos uploaded publicly to the service that were archived by a programmer before Parler was taken offline by its web host. Below is a collection of more than 500 videos that ProPublica determined were taken during the events of Jan. 6 and were relevant and newsworthy.”
On top of that, there have been nearly a dozen documentaries about January 6 that have been released in the last two years, all of them featuring extensive video footage from that day.
There is, apparently, belief among some that the release of more footage could somehow prove conspiracy theories about that day, from the idea that Antifa was involved to various narratives about informants leading the insurrection.
But it’s clear that the January 6 Capitol riot is one of the most extensively-documented events in recent American history, with footage from countless sources, from news networks to freelance journalists to the participants in the event itself.
It’s unlikely that the release of additional footage would do much of anything to change the popular understanding of that day.
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.