OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has angered a handful of establishment Republicans after he aired unseen footage from the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
At a GOP leadership news conference, Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney slammed the Fox News host, saying it’s “really sad to see Tucker Carlson go off the rails like that.” Romey added that he’s “joining a range of shock jocks that are disappointing America and feeding falsehoods.”
“The American people saw what happened on Jan. 6,” Romney told reporters. “They’ve seen the people that got injured. They saw the damage to the building. You can’t hide the truth by selectively picking a few minutes out of tapes and saying this is what went on. It’s so absurd. It’s nonsense. It’s a very dangerous thing to do, to suggest that attacking the Capitol of the United States is in any way acceptable and it’s anything other than a serious crime, against democracy and against our country. And people saw that it was violent and destructive and should never happen again. But trying to normalize that behavior is dangerous and disgusting.”
Carlson called Romney and other establishment Republican senators “weak” and “vicious” after they criticized him for airing the tapes.
Carlson has also enjoyed a massive ratings bump since airing the tapes, a sign that the American people are interested in seeing the new information.
According to Mediaite, Carlson’s show on Friday was the highest-rated program in all of cable news after it brought it a whopping 3.09 million total viewers and 365,000 in the 25-54 demo.
“That audience was enough to beat out the usual top show in cable news, Fox News’s The Five, as well as beat the competition on MSNBC and CNN by miles. In total viewers, Carlson tripled the 8 p.m. competition on MSNBC and sextupled his CNN rival. In the demo, Carlson more than tripled both MSNBC and CNN,” Mediaite reported.
The massive ratings for Carlson came as he has been airing new footage in recent days on his Fox News program from the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
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 Carlson, which showed police officers appearing to stand passively as a large crowd entered the Capitol that day.
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 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.”
Carlson was provided access to some 40,000 hours of previously unseen surveillance video by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last month.
The now disbanded January 6 committee essentially acknowledged last week that it failed to provide the American public with a just and precise evaluation of the Capitol riot that occurred in 2021 ahead of certifying then-President-elect Joe Biden.
In a statement to CNN, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) declared that the group never scrutinized the J6 footage, which Fox News aired this week and had not been viewed before.
“I’m not actually aware of any member of the committee who had access,” Thompson said. “We had a team of employees who kind of went through the video.”
Regardless of whether the panel members’ staff simply skimmed through the video or were already aware of it but opted to keep it hidden, the January 6 investigation was supposedly tasked by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for delivering an impartial and precise account of the event.