White House slams Fox News host Carlson on Jan. 6 segment | US Election News 2020
The White House has weighed in on Fox News personality Tucker Carlson calling him ‘uncredible’ after airing a segment of selected footage that sought to portray protesters who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, as essentially peaceful.
The segment, which aired Monday night, kicked off a political maelstrom, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calling it Wednesday a “misrepresentation of the violent attack against our Constitution and the rule of law”.
Top Democrat Chuck Schumer also accused Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of fueling conspiracy theories by granting Carlson “exclusive” access to the video.
Monday’s broadcast was the first episode of what is expected to be a series of segments, drawing on 41,000 hours of security footage from the Capitol attack broadcast to Carlson.
McCarthy said he stands by his decision to release the footage, which he says was done in the interest of transparency.
In Monday’s segment, Carlson described the majority of Jan. 6 protesters as “tourists” who were “orderly and gentle,” not rioters determined to overturn election victory of President Joe Biden. He also dismissed those who violently stormed the Capitol as a small minority of “hooligans.”
Carlson’s claims drew a rare rebuke from the White House on Wednesday, as the Biden administration typically avoids commenting on specific media coverage.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement that the administration agrees “with what Fox News’ own lawyers and executives have now repeatedly emphasized in multiple courts: that Tucker Carlson is not believable”.
A defamation lawsuit in progress alleged that Fox News hosts knowingly broadcast misinformation about the 2020 presidential election, relying on statements by Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch and other network figures.
Five people, including a police officer, died during or shortly after January 6 attackwhich unfolded as a joint session of the U.S. Congress tallied Electoral College votes to certify Biden’s victory.
More than 140 police officers were also injured in the incident, which forced then-Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress and their staff to flee.
Carlson’s segment drew widespread criticism, with Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger calling it “offensive.” Senior U.S. Senate Republican Mitch McConnell also condemned the show, saying, “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to portray this in a way that is totally inconsistent with what our law enforcement officer here on Capitol Hill.”
Tucker Carlson sides with the enemies of democracy.
This is what I just said to the Senate: pic.twitter.com/WZvhXh1rNU
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 7, 2023
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump, who has been accused of encouraging his supporters in a bid to reverse his 2020 election defeat, used Carlson’s coverage to justify that rioters were being unfairly targeted.
“Let the January 6 prisoners go,” Trump wrote on his social media site, Truth Social. “They have been convicted, or are awaiting trial, on the basis of a giant lie, a radical left swindler.”
Carlson defended his decision to release the footage. “Anyone can watch the tape and decide what they think,” he wrote in an article on the Fox News website on Tuesday.
“Got Too Far”
The imbroglio is the latest headache for conservative Fox News, who is facing a A $1.6 billion libel lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems.
Court documents released in the case revealed the network’s internal discussions as it weighed how to respond to false allegations by Trump and his allies of widespread voter fraud, amid concerns over declining ratings. listening to television.
The latest trove of unsealed documents on Tuesday shows top executives, producers and hosts expressing doubts about the “stolen election” theory, as the network continued to promote the claims on air.
In a recently published email, Murdoch suggested hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham may have “gone too far” in their coverage of the voter fraud allegations.
In another recently published email, Murdoch also called a rambling press conference by Trump ally Rudy Giuliani “stupid and damaging.”
Previously released documents showed prominent Fox News hosts privately expressing their disbelief as they covered allegations of fraud on their shows.
In a Nov. 16, 2020, text, Carlson said Trump’s lawyer “Sidney Powell is lying” about having evidence of voter fraud.
In a deposition unsealed last week, Murdoch recognized that some of his network hosts, including Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity, endorsed false election claims.
“Yes. They approved,” Murdoch said when asked.
To prevail in the defamation case, Dominion Voting Systems must show there was “actual malice” in Fox News’ coverage – something it seeks to prove by showing that Fox knew its statements were false or recklessly disregarded their accuracy.