To no surprise, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson downplays Jan. 6

Nothing to see here. What’s the big deal? You were snookered.

That pretty much sums up Tucker Carlson’s take on what happened on Jan. 6, 2021. The Fox News prime-time star was given 40,000-plus hours of video from that day by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Carlson went over his so-called findings the past two nights on his program.

First off, shame on McCarthy for acting as if handing over the video to Carlson was the most transparent way to get out the facts of what happened that horrific day — as if we didn’t already know, as if we didn’t already see it with our own eyes on live television.

Of course, to the surprise of no one, Carlson sifted through all that footage, edited out the violence, conveniently found moments when everything looked peaceful and then declared the whole thing no big deal.

No big deal.

He called those walking through the Capitol building “sightseers.” He said, “These were not insurrectionists.” He said the video “demolishes” the claim that Jan. 6 was an insurrection.

No big deal?

NBC News’ Sahil Kapur thoroughly summed it up by writing, “Video that Carlson didn’t air shows police and rioters engaged in hours of violent combat. Nearly 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack. About 140 officers were assaulted that day, and about 326 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, including 106 assaults that happened with deadly or dangerous weapons. About 60 people pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement. Two pipe bombs were also planted nearby but were not detonated.”

No big deal?

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger wrote an internal memo to officers that was obtained by Politico’s Kyle Cheney. Manger wrote that Carlson “conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video.” He went on to say that Carlson “fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.”

No big deal?

In a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “To say Jan. 6 was not violent is a lie — a lie pure and simple. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prime-time cable news anchor manipulate his viewers the way Mr. Carlson did (Monday) night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anchor treat the American people and American democracy with such disdain and he’s going to come back tonight with another segment.”

Republicans also pushed back against Carlson. North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis tried to play it down the middle. He told CNN, “I think it’s bull(expletive)” when talking about what Carlson presented on his show.

North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer told CNN, “I think that breaking through glass windows and doors to get into the United States Capitol against the orders of police is a crime. I think, particularly when you come into the chambers, when you start opening the members’ desks, when you stand up in their balcony, to somehow put that in the same category as a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie.”

And Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took the strongest stand among the GOP, backing what Manger wrote. McConnell said, “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks.”

McConnell took issue with how Carlson’s Monday show depicted Jan. 6. McConnell said, “Clearly the chief of the Capitol Police, in my view, correctly describes what most of us witnessed firsthand on Jan. 6. So that’s my reaction to it.”

Carlson also claimed that the death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick had nothing to do with Jan. 6. On his show Monday, Carlson showed video of Sicknick walking around — supposedly after the attack. Talking about the media and the Jan. 6 House committee investigating the events of that day, Carlson said, “They knew he was not murdered by the mob, but they claimed it anyway.”

Manger said in his memo, “The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.”

In fact, the official medical report said Sicknick died of natural causes after suffering two strokes and determined “all that transpired played a role in his condition” — a reference to what he went through on Jan. 6.

In a statement, Sicknick’s family said, “Every time the pain of that day seems to have ebbed a bit, organizations like Fox rip our wounds wide open again and we are frankly sick of it.”

Carlson not only pushed the incredibly insulting narrative that Jan. 6 was a peaceful tour of the Capitol by sightseers, but he introduced his Jan. 6 findings on Monday by pushing more lies about the 2020 election. He told his viewers, “The protesters were angry: They believed that the election they had just voted in had been unfairly conducted. They were right. In retrospect, it is clear the 2020 election was a grave betrayal of American democracy. Given the facts that have since emerged about that election, no honest person can deny it.”

Wait, did he say angry protesters were right in thinking that the election had been unfairly conducted?

And that is based on what, exactly?

Carlson then went on to say that “they” (assuming he means Democrats and the media) are saying the real crime was Jan. 6, 2021, not the 2020 election.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake wrote, “The flourish was characteristic of Carlson’s show: Gesturing toward a broad conspiracy without backing it up with any real facts — all while stating that anyone who disagrees must be lying. It was also amorphous and nonspecific enough to give Carlson plausible deniability that he was talking about things like mass voter fraud or voting machines (vs., say, the mail balloting processes that some on the right have cast as ‘unfair’). But the thrust was clear.”

The election denialism combined with glossing over the reality of Jan. 6 seems as if it is coming from a common playbook. The Associated Press’ Lisa Mascaro, Mary Clare Jalonick and Farnoush Amiri wrote, “Carlson is reviving the falsehoods launched by Trump and his allies, including Republicans in Congress, that the attackers were peaceful protesters and acted like tourists, despite the well-documented carnage of the day and the deaths of five people in the riot and its aftermath. It’s part of an effort to reverse criminal charges for those being prosecuted in the attack, many of whom have pleaded guilty and said they regretted their actions on Jan. 6.”

While nothing Carlson says should be surprising at this point, it is remarkable that Fox News allows him to go on the air and act as if Jan. 6 was just some sightseeing tour or peaceful protest. His gaslighting act and hey-I’m-just-asking-questions schtick are irresponsible, divisive and dangerous, and Fox News allows it. It shows Carlson can say and do whatever he wants with no repercussions.

We all watched what happened on Jan. 6 in real time. We all saw video of that day from organizations such as The Washington Post and PBS’s “Frontline” and countless other places, most importantly the Jan. 6 committee. Just take a look at this video.

This wasn’t fake footage. Videos aren’t opinions. Our eyes didn’t deceive us. Some might try to argue about the origins of that day and debate who was to blame for all that transpired. But how can one possibly make a case that we didn’t see what we saw? How can anyone argue that Jan. 6 was not violent? That it was no big deal?

That’s exactly what Carlson is doing.


Another large set of documents in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News was made public on Tuesday. It includes an email sent from Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott that said Fox News was “Still getting mud thrown at us! … Maybe Sean and Laura went too far. All very well for Sean to tell you he was in despair about Trump but what did he tell his viewers?”

Murdoch was talking about prime-time hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

It also included texts from Ingraham sent to Hannity and Tucker Carlson on Nov. 16, 2020, that said, “We are all working for an organization that hates us.” Ingraham, Hannity and Carlson were upset about Fox News calling Arizona for Joe Biden.

“Why would anyone defend that call?” Hannity wrote.

“My anger at the news channel is pronounced,” Ingraham said.

In a text message with Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon just days after the 2020 election, Fox News and Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo wrote, “omg I’m so depressed. I can’t take this.” She added, “I want to see massive fraud exposed. Will (Trump) be able to turn this around. I told my team we are not allowed to say pres elect at all. Not in scripts or in banners on air. Until this moves through the courts.”

But just two days before Jan. 6, 2021, Carlson emailed an unknown Fox employee about how much he wanted to stop covering Trump. He wrote, “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait. … I hate him passionately.”

In addition, the new documents show exchanges six weeks before the election between Murdoch and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. The two discussed political ads with Murdoch telling Kushner that Biden was spending more money on ads than Trump and that Biden’s ads “are a lot better creatively than yours.”

In a statement, Fox News said, “Thanks to today’s filings, Dominion has been caught red handed again using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear Fox News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press. We already know they will say and do anything to try to win this case, but to twist and even misattribute quotes to the highest levels of our company is truly beyond the pale.”

It’s fairly common for sports debate shows to drum up some faux outrage now and then to interest viewers. ESPN’s “First Take,” with plenty of yelling, is among TV’s most successful sports debate shows in which a few raised voices and table poundings don’t necessarily mean real anger.

But Tuesday’s show was different. One segment turned serious and testy — even more than usual, and it appeared genuine — as former NBA players Kendrick Perkins and JJ Redick talked about the NBA’s MVP voting.

As you can see in this clip, Redick had issues with Perkins and, in general, the show as he addressed Perkins and the star of the show, Stephen A. Smith.

Redick said, “Stephen A, I mean no offense to you and I mean no offense to ‘First Take,’ because I think this show is extremely valuable. It is an honor to be on this desk every day, it really is. But what we just witnessed is the problem with this show, where we create narratives that do not exist in reality. The implication, what you (Perkins) are implying, that the white voters that vote on NBA are racist, that they favor white people, you just said that.”

Redick was speaking about Perkins, accusing Perkins of calling NBA MVP voters racist. Perkins snapped back, claiming that he never said that and added, “I did not, I stated the facts! And you’re not about to sit up there and act like it’s something more than that. It’s the facts!”

As the two talked — more like, yelled, over each other — Redick said, “We all know what you implied the other day. We all know what you implied just now.”

Again, embrace debate shows such as “First Take” thrive on good arguments, but this one turned uncomfortable.

Later, the two seemed to lower the temperature, saying they were “good” with one another.

Horrible news for those of us who live in the Tampa Bay area and are big baseball fans. Dave Wills, who had been a Tampa Bay Rays radio announcer since 2005, died unexpectedly in his sleep on Sunday. He was 58. Just one day earlier, on Saturday, he was announcing a spring training game as he prepared for his 19th season sharing the radio play-by-play duties with Andy Freed. No official word on what caused his death, but Wills did miss time at the end of last season with supraventricular tachycardia, which is an irregularly fast or erratic heartbeat.

If you’re a sports fan, you can understand how such a loss can impact a sports community. Local baseball announcers have a special relationship with fans. They are like a member of the family — their voice in your house or in your car or in your ears every night for an entire summer while you do chores, run to the grocery store or go on an evening walk. And Wills had that kind of relationship with Rays fans.

Tampa Bay Times sports columnist John Romano wrote, “There is something special, something intimate, about baseball games on the radio. Because the game’s pace is leisurely, there is plenty of time for broadcast partners to steer conversations into historical, personal or just plain goofy directions. And because the season is 162 games long, listeners get used to the rhythms and personalities of the people behind the microphones. Almost as if they’re just another guy sitting on the barstool beside you. And in Wills’ case, that was often the truth. Once he got off the air and bellied up to the bar, he was like a small-town mayor perpetually running for office. He shook hands, he shared stories, he turned strangers into friends and turned friends into confidantes.”

Actor Nicholas Braun, from HBO’s “Succession,” shown here in February 2022. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

We’re another week closer to the start of season four of HBO’s “Succession.” This will be the last season of the show about a fictional media mogul and his family. Nicholas Braun, who plays Cousin Greg, told ET’s Will Marfuggi, “I was sad as hell (on) my last day. I finished a couple of weeks ago, and it was a really tough day, you know, saying goodbye to everybody. It’s been the greatest working experience in my life. So, saying goodbye to those people is really tough.”

As far as the finale, Braun didn’t give away any secrets, but said, “The ending is fire.”

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