Fox News host Tucker Carlson has stirred up controversy among some establishment Republicans after unveiling previously unreleased footage from the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. In response, Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney criticized Carlson during a GOP leadership news conference, expressing disappointment in the anchor for joining a group of “shock jocks” who are “disappointing America and feeding falsehoods.”
Romney argued that the public witnessed the injuries and destruction from January 6, and selectively choosing a few minutes from the footage to present a different narrative is “absurd” and “dangerous.” He condemned any attempt to normalize the attack on the Capitol, labeling it a severe crime against democracy and the nation.
In retaliation, Carlson branded Romney and other establishment Republican senators as “weak” and “vicious” for criticizing his decision to air the tapes. This move has earned Carlson a significant ratings boost, suggesting that the American people are keen to see the new information. Mediaite reported that Carlson’s Friday show drew 3.09 million total viewers and 365,000 in the 25-54 demo, making it the highest-rated program in cable news.
This surge in ratings coincides with Carlson’s recent airing of previously unseen footage from the Capitol riot. The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Tom Manger, sent a memo to his staff condemning the comments made on Carlson’s show, accusing the host of presenting “offensive and misleading conclusions” about the events of January 6. Manger argued that the program cherry-picked calmer moments from the 41,000 hours of video available, failing to provide context about the chaos and violence that unfolded.
NEW – Capitol Police chief Thomas Manger sends internal memo this am saying Carlson’s report was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about Jan. 6 and says the “opinion program” never reached out with appropriate context. Reporting w/ @rachelvscott pic.twitter.com/BrnD0n4IN1
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) March 7, 2023
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy provided Carlson with access to approximately 40,000 hours of unseen surveillance footage. The now-dissolved January 6 committee admitted that it failed to deliver a fair and accurate assessment of the Capitol riot that took place ahead of the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) stated that the group never scrutinized the J6 footage aired by Fox News this week and had not been seen before.
Thompson revealed that the committee members were not aware of the footage, with a team of employees reviewing the video instead. Whether the panel members’ staff only skimmed the footage or knowingly kept it hidden, the January 6 investigation was initially charged by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to provide an impartial and accurate account of the event.
Sources: ConservativeBrief, Mediaite