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Tucker Carlson Is Stealing the Democrats 2020 Playbook for January 6

Tucker Carlson speaking with attendees at the 2022 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. By Gage Skidmore.
Tucker Carlson speaking with attendees at the 2022 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. By Gage Skidmore.

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

Yes, Democrats have latched on to January 6th as proof positive that Trump and his supporters pose an existential threat to American democracy – a claim I remain skeptical about.

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.”

Remember that?

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. 

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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.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.



  1. TheDon

    March 11, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    Yep…Just like Muller Russian collusion, BS.
    That many insurgents if armed would have decimated the place, but, its hard to do with a cell phone.

    Looks like the Shuman leader, hiding in blue camo w horns will get a mistrial and sue the government officials.

    Wow, demos are all about destroying Trump and I believe Pelosi was behind this.

    Either way, if they had any brains they would have known Trump was destroying his own voters with his belligerent outbursts.

  2. Michael Danko

    March 12, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    You make some good points. However, if you’re referring to unarmed Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, I believe that she was shot in the neck, with no warning, by a Capital Hill police lieutenant who will never face any recrimination for his brutal act. The investigation to “clear” him was a total sham.

  3. H.R. Holm

    March 13, 2023 at 12:50 am

    First of all, let’s remember: All of what was given to TC was *the government’s own footage*, recorded by the *government’s own cameras*, and what he selected had to show something besides basically nothing happening, and it indeed shows the buffalo-hat guy just walking about, tagged along by Capitol police. He was not yelling at them, was not threatening them—-or anybody—-just wandering about. They even virtually escorted him into the Senate chamber, whereupon he said an ad-hoc prayer for them out loud. Also revealed was the trick edit the Democrats did portraying Josh Hawley as the only senator “running for his life”, when in fact the true unedited segment showed lots of other people running with him. Of course Carlson was going to show selected segments, it’s not like he had the whole broadcast evening to do so. Besides, viewers would have then become bored otherwise looking at a whole lot of…..well, nothing, really. And yes, a person was shot and killed, she was Ashley Babbitt, an *unarmed* protester who happened to simply get in the way of a bullet fired by a trigger-happy, irresponsible Capitol guard who got off scot-free largely because he is black, and therefore wholly qualified for the ‘equity’ exclusion from criminal action, as do most black criminals nowadays. The footage shown by Carlson *shows what it shows*, there is no arguing with the reality of that, and people can see it. ‘Chuck U.’ Schumer was bent out of shape because what Carlson broadcast very much negates the Democrat/media narrative of an ‘insurrection’, there was no such thing, and anyone claiming otherwise is downright ‘ignant’ of what the word means and the *real* historical examples of it.

  4. Cal Lawrence

    March 16, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    The difference is that what you dishonestly call “the 2020 riots” actually WERE peaceful. The vast majority of the violence that occurred was when the protesters themselves got attacked by right-wing thugs.

    While the January 6th attack on the Capitol was entirely violent. There was no peaceful protest occurring at all. Tucker Carlson is pushing his false narrative by only showing footage from AFTER the attack had already ended.

    That’s akin to trying to argue that a murderer who was caught on video isn’t actually guilty by showing only footage of him from AFTER he shot his victim.

  5. H.R. Holm

    March 17, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    @Cal Lawrence your comment makes no more sense than anything said on CNN, MSNBC, or any other mainstream media Democratic party mouthpiece. The only people on Jan. 6 urging violent action were likely government agent-provocateurs likely planted within the crowd, at least one who has specifically been repeatedly identified by name by Carlson, trying at times to whip the crowd into a frenzy. False narrative? Is mass violence what the *government’s own footage* shows, with the protesters largely just milling about once inside? Yeah, false narrative alright with the Feds’ own video record showing almost none, just some admittedly raucous crowds outside, if that. No protesters were committing arson or looting, none were armed with firearms shooting up the place, none were trashing any fixtures or statues or anything else. Oh, a few windows were broken outside, but that may have been by infiltrating Antifa types, and if not, then those who broke them must have taken their cue from Antifa, whose own thugs have had plenty of experience doing that within the last few years, along with their BLM-BoweL Movement goon cohorts, indeed during those *genuine* 2020 riots, of which plenty of footage was shown of the associated lootings and arson-triggered burnings, including of the church near the White House that President Trump went over to as a nearby woke mob laid siege to both places. It was the left-wing protesters running wild in the streets with their so-called ‘protest’ mobs, any ‘right wingers’ countering their action such as Kyle Rittenhouse were only trying to protect themselves and/or their properties. And the only murder committed at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was of protester Ashley Babbitt shot by that Paul Blart-type miserable excuse for a security guard. Unarmed, and threatening no one.
    And *no one* on the Capitol security staff was killed or nearly so, no matter what Pathetic & imitation-President Joe claims on those rare occasions when his mind is not shrouded in D.C.-deception fog. No one, because there are no names ever put forth to back up such an absurd fantasy. Just like the whole charge of this being an insurrection was a fantasy, as much so as when the Germans claimed the Poles were attacking *them* in early Sept. 1939, or the leftist revisionist absurdity that the South Koreans initiated the Korean conflict.

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