Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) thrilled the hardcore Republican base when he gave Tucker Carlson exclusive access to tens of thousands of hours of Jan. 6 Capitol riot surveillance tapes. On Monday night, Carlson broadcasted a portion of that footage, which led some to call for the release of accused and convicted rioters from jail.
Although Carlson has over 40,000 hours of tape, he did not air any new, compelling footage on Tuesday night. Instead, he mostly showed the same videos.
Now people who believe convicted rioters were essentially a group of peaceful tourists are convinced Carlson was censored. They’re blaming Fox News itself and current and former politicians on both sides of the aisle.
The Capitol riot was a violent assault designed to keep former President Donald Trump in power after his defeat in the 2020 election. Rioters believed the election was stolen and were determined to rectify that perceived injustice. Nearly 1,000 people were arrested on charges ranging from assaulting police to sedition.
Many Trump supporters are now convinced that it was overblown. People like Carlson have fanned the flames by downplaying the riot and referring to those incarcerated as “political prisoners.”
Tucker’s Monday night show was another attempt to reframe what really happened on Jan. 6, 2021. The episode inspired renewed calls to release accused and convicted Capitol rioters.
After all that sizzle, Tuesday night’s show was more of a fizzle. Carlson dedicated the show to complaining about people who took issue with him airing what they viewed as misleading footage and going over the same videos he showed the night before.
Capitol riot sympathizers now believe that the network censored Carlson. They simply can’t accept that the rest of the footage depicts the violence and carnage from the riot, and thus undermines their beliefs.
“Btw, this isn’t Tucker. These are Fox News executives calling the shots here,” @HansMahncke opined after the show.
“With 44,000 hours of footage Tuesday night Tucker Carlson released zero new footage but did have interviews,” one tweeted. “So has Paul RINO Ryan censored Tucker Carlson?”
The former Republican congressman is now on the board of Fox News’ parent company.
Another Twitter user suggest Carlson “caved” to the pressure.
Others cast about for other culprits.
Many suggested that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is to blame because on Tuesday Schumer criticized Carlson for airing “lies” about the riot and called on Fox News and owner Rupert Murdoch to intervene.
“Schumer neutered Carlson,” wrote one.
Another floated the baseless theory that Carlson had “the goods” on Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), “but they weren’t going to dance with that devil.”
The criticism of Carlson didn’t come solely from Democrats. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called out Carlson and said airing the footage in the manner he did was a “mistake.”
Some conservatives are holding out hope that Carlson has more video that comports with their belief that the Capitol riot was no big deal.
But that may be unlikely.
Carlson himself tweeted that he would air the results of his “investigation” on Monday and Tuesday. He did not mention plans to broadcast additional footage later in the week.
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*First Published: Mar 8, 2023, 10:52 am CST
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.