Fox News itself aired a report this week, helmed by news host Bret Baier, that undercut the widely controversial approach Tucker Carlson took on some of his opinion programming on the same network to describing what was taking place during the Capitol riot.
Carlson was basing what he was doing on access to tens of thousands of hours of footage of areas around the Capitol complex made available for his Fox team by House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Carlson was, in short, trying to insist the riot wasn’t all that bad, basing his deceptive description of events on a series of clips taken from the tens of thousands of hours. The thing is, though, that just because that footage doesn’t show active physical violence doesn’t mean such violence wasn’t taking place elsewhere. Does Carlson want people to believe what so many of us already saw — the shattered windows, the brutalized cops, the threats to government officials — just… didn’t happen?
“Rioters outmanned officers 58 to one,” Fox reporter Chad Pergram explained in the newer broadcast. “A Congressional security source tells Fox the mob controlled the Capitol for nearly two and a half hours. That’s why officers appeared to chat casually with rioters.”
That was one of Carlson’s points. He highlighted how cops sometimes didn’t seem that active in their efforts to stop individual rioters — failing to explain the already well-documented lack of resources faced by police officers that day and, inherent to that, how these hurdles affected the approaches that cops took. They weren’t just arresting everybody partly because they didn’t have the resources to do so!
“The level of violence I saw on January 6 was something I had not seen before,” Steven Sund, who was the chief of the Capitol Police when the riot happened, said in a clip featured in the same report. “And I just don’t think the depiction that it was a walk in the park is true and accurate.” Later in the broadcast, Pergram also noted how some members of the crowd perpetrated assaults against police so brutal that the targets of their violence were impeded from returning to the force. Aquilino Gonell, who was among the officers responding to the Capitol attack and has been vocal about his experiences during the day’s chaos, was among the personnel injured that severely. Closing the broadcast, Baier insisted nobody at Fox “condones” the violence of January 6 — some of which Carlson dismissively called vandalism. It’s not great when somebody ends up feeling an opening to say what Baier did. Something was clearly going wrong!