Tucker Carlson's decision to air previously unseen surveillance footage of the Jan. 6, 2021 unrest has drawn harsh criticism from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger, who blasted what he referred to as the “offensive and misleading conclusions” he accuses the Fox News host of drawing, as NBC news reports.
Manger's remarks came in the form of a letter to the Capitol Police force that was subsequently obtained by NBC News and included specific complaints about Carlson's discussion of the death of Brian Sicknick, an officer who was present on that fateful day.
On Monday, Carlson's program aired a series of clips from a video to which House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) provided access, and which the host contends gives lie to many of the claims repeatedly made by Democrats for more than two years about the so-called violent insurrection.
Manger was none too pleased with Carlson's presentation, saying in his letter that the show “conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video.”
“The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments,” Manger alleged.
The chief seemed to reserve his most searing commentary for Carlson's characterization of the aforementioned officer's death, saying, “Finally, the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick's death had nothing to do with his heroic actions on January 6.”
Carlson, for his part, played footage showing Sicknick walking the halls of the Capitol unimpeded or impaired after the timeframe in which Democrats claimed he had been brutally attacked by protesters, saying, “They knew he was not murdered by the mob, but they claimed it anyway.”
Manger was not the only prominent figure who expressed disdain for Carlson's Monday program, as NBC News noted separately, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who said, “I want to associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief and the Capitol Police about what happened on Jan. 6.”
“It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that's completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell continued.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) sided with McConnell, saying of Carlson's portrayal of events, “I think it's bulls**t. I was here. I was down there, and I saw maybe a few tourists, a few people who got caught up in things. But when you see police barricades breached, when you see police officers assaulted, all of that...if you were just a tourist you should've probably lined up at the visitors' center and came in on an orderly basis.”
Taking a contrary point of view from his congressional colleagues, however, was Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who appeared on Carlson's show to say that the Capitol video footage was a turning point for him personally.
“You've exposed so may lies tonight with these tapes that it's changed my perception of what happened two years ago, and I was there,” Massie said. “The tapes of people milling peacefully about, and my hat's off to your producers for sitting over there and going through hours of this.”
Carlson, for his part, fired back at his congressional critics, especially Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who delivered a fiery speech in which he called for censorship of the Fox News host, contending that “our democracy depends on it.”
“What you're seeing is hysteria. Those videos touch a nerve because they're a threat to the lies that Chuck Schumer has been telling for the last 26 months,” Carlson said, saying his critics are “on the same side...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.”