Democrats called the 2020 riots mostly peaceful. It seems Tucker Carlson is using a similar line for January 6. Tucker Carlson has used his Fox News show to showcase previously unreleased footage from the January 6th Capitol riot.
Carlson has framed the footage to make a simple point: that Democrats had previously shown only violent images from January 6th, to support the narrative that Trump supporters were staging a coup or insurrection.
While the reality is, as Carlson maintains is shown in the newly released video footage, that the protesters were mostly peaceful and harmless.
There’s plenty to unpack here and I recognize there is a lot of debate on this issue for sure – which we respect.
Let’s start with what Carlson gets right (we’ll get to what he gets wrong).
Tucker Carlson’s Take
And yes, Democrats have leaned hard on footage of January 6th protesters destructing, stampeding, yelling, looting, etc. as a way to negatively portray Trump and his supporters.
I myself have grown frustrated with the Democrats’ tendency to label what happened on January 6th as a coup or an insurrection attempt, when what happened would more aptly be described as a horrific spasm of political violence rather than some coordinated effort to overthrow the government.
Generally, there is something distastefully sanctimonious about the way Democrats have hammered on January 6th – from the way Democrats embraced the Capitol police officers (despite spending the six months immediately preceding January 6th maligning police on account of the George Floyd murder).
Then there is the relentless mainstream media coverage, to the way AOC claimed she feared for her life – even though she wasn’t in the Capitol building – to the eighteen-month-long House committee investigation.
It’s been a lot – and it deserves the criticism that Carlson provides.
But Tucker Carlson Oversteps a Bit
But Carlson’s portrayal of January 6th doesn’t feel quite right either, does it?
Granted, I wasn’t at the Capitol on January 6th – my understanding of the event is completely dependent upon what the media deigns to show me – but my gut tells me Carlson’s framing ain’t accurate.
Predictably, Tucker Carlson goes the other way. He handpicks footage of protesters walking orderly, taking pictures, picking up overturned furniture – all to frame January 6th as no big deal, routine, safe. But didn’t a woman get shot in the head? Carlson dismisses the footage of violent protesters as the work of a fractional minority, a group of “hooligans.” The majority, according to Carlson, was “meek.” That may well be the case – but if 2,000 rioters enter the Capitol, and only five percent of them are “hooligans,” you’ve still got 100 hooligans running amok where they shouldn’t be.
I appreciate that Carlson wants to push back against the Democrats’ January 6th narrative – someone should. But Carlson botches the effort. Actually, Carlson’s re-frame sounds weirdly similar to liberal efforts to reframe the protests of 2020 as “mostly peaceful” featuring “mostly peaceful protesters.”
When cities across America burnt and rumbled as hordes of protesters went toe-to-toe with police forces. Then, when liberals marketed the protests as “mostly peaceful,” people like Tucker Carlson mocked liberals – and showed footage of lootings and beatings and Molotov cocktails.
The Carlson crowd was correct to push back on the assertion that 2020 protests were mostly peaceful, even if statistically, they were mostly peaceful – because a significant number of the protests and the protesters were demonstrably not peaceful.
Now, Carlson is the one playing the “mostly peaceful” card. You’d think he would know better.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.