OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police issued a memo to his staff on Tuesday following the airing of previously unseen security footage by Fox News host Tucker Carlson which showed police officers appearing to stand passively as a large crowd entered the Capitol on January 6.
Police Chief Tom Manger condemned the comments made during the airing of the footage on Carlson’s Monday night program, stating that it was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about the riot of January 6, 2021, when a group of people breached the U.S. Capitol building, causing disruptions to lawmakers who were in the process of certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video,” Manger claimed. “The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.”
NEW – Capitol Police chief Thomas Manger sends internal memo this am saying Carlson’s report was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about Jan. 6 and says the “opinion program” never reached out with appropriate context. Reporting w/ @rachelvscott pic.twitter.com/BrnD0n4IN1
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) March 7, 2023
Manger specifically objected to a segment that featured Capitol Police officers guiding Jacob Chansley, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” through the Capitol building and Carlson’s portrayal of them as “tour guides.”
He also expressed concern about Carlson’s emphasis on Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who a medical examiner found had died of natural causes after suffering a stroke a day after the January 6 incident while protecting the Capitol, the Daily Wire reported.
The New York Times initially reported on January 8 that Sicknick was killed by a rioter wielding a fire extinguisher during the riot. However, the paper retracted the story five weeks later after the D.C. medical examiner stated that Sicknick had died of natural causes a day after the event. Other outlets also erroneously reported that Sicknick was beaten to death.
Nonetheless, both Sicknick’s family and the police believe that his death was related to the riot.
Video of Sicknick appearing to lead people out of the Capitol building after “he was supposedly murdered outside overturns the single-most powerful and politically useful lie the Democrats have told us about January 6,” Carlson noted.
Manger noted that Capitol Police “maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.”
In his memo, Manger thanked and praised members of the Capitol Police force, commending their efforts on January 6. “You fought like hell on January 6 and risked your lives to protect the Constitution and everything this country stands for,” he wrote. “You, along with our law enforcement partners, saved every member of Congress and their staff.”
It’s unclear if Manger has been asked to appear on Carlson’s program to tell his side of the story, although the Fox News host regularly invites officials who disagree with him onto the show.
Also, there is an argument to be made that the First Amendment was created by the founders to serve as a check and balance on government entities at all levels. In that vein and in Carlson’s defense, he played video clips from the day of the incident which appeared to run counter to the official narratives established by both parties and Capitol Police officials in the aftermath.
Carlson was provided access to some 40,000 hours of previously unseen surveillance video by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ky.), a move that was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said on Tuesday, according to USA Today.
For his part, Carlson made clear during his Monday broadcast that he believes officials and politicians lied to the American people about what actually took place at the Capitol that day.