The White House went on the attack against Tucker Carlson over his segments that downplayed the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that they “agree with Capitol Police and the wide range of bipartisan lawmakers … who have condemned this false depiction of the unprecedented violent attack on our Constitution and the rule of law which costs police officers their lives.”
Jean-Pierre also called into question Carlson’s credibility, saying that they agree with Fox’s “own attorneys and executives who have repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law that Tucker Carlson is not credible when it comes to this issue.”
She cited a 2020 NPR report, “You Literally Can’t Believe The Facts Tucker Carlson Tells You. So Say His Lawyers.” The was a report on Fox News attorneys’ defense of Carlson against a slander claim. In ruling in favor of the network, a New York federal judge wrote that, “Fox persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”
She also cited a Washington Post report on the latest release of emails and text messages in Dominion’s lawsuit against the network. David Clark, senior vice president for weekend news and programming for Fox News, testified in a deposition that he did not see Carlson and Hannity’s shows as credible sources of news.
“To have said what he said, when we saw Capitol Police officers lose their lives, is just shameful,” Jean-Pierre said.
On his Monday evening show, Carlson downplayed the attack on the Capitol, telling viewers, “These were not insurrectionists. They were sightseers. Footage from inside the Capitol overturns the story you have heard about January 6.” He played the first of the surveillance footage from the Capitol that day, after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave him exclusive access to it.
But Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger blasted Carlson over his depiction of the events that day and of footage of Brian Sicknick, a police officer who died the day after the attack. A number of Republicans also chided Carlson over the footage, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was a “mistake for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official at the Capitol thinks.”
The White House has generally refrained from calling out Fox News figures specifically, even with the stream of opinion hosts regularly inveighing against Joe Biden.
On his Tuesday night show, Carlson said in response to the outrage over his segments, “So, it’s actually not about left and right. It’s not about Republican and Democrat. Here you have people with shared interests, the open borders people, the people like Mitch McConnell, who are living in splendor on Chinese money, the people who underneath it all have everything in common are all aligned against everyone else, and that would include almost all news organizations in this country as well.”
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