Commentary: Why it matters that Kevin McCarthy gave Jan. 6 tapes to Fox News

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox News’ Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot, McCarthy sources tell me.

Just so we’re all clear about the nature of the process, the video tapes in question are official government materials. They don’t belong to one member, one party, or one cable channel; they belong to all of us. And yet, there’s the new House speaker, who apparently made a unilateral decision to give one controversial Fox News host exclusive access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage.


Carlson TV producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove, which includes multiple camera angles from all over Capitol grounds. Excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: Carlson has repeatedly questioned official accounts of 1/6, downplaying the insurrection as “vandalism.”  Now his shows — “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, and “Tucker Carlson Today” and “Tucker Carlson Originals” on the streaming service Fox Nation — have a massive trove of raw material. 

Part of the problem with McCarthy’s move is that Carlson lacks credibility on the issue. As Axios’ report noted, Carlson has “repeatedly questioned official accounts of 1/6, downplaying the insurrection as ‘vandalism.’” CNN’s report added, “[H]e has devoted significant airtime to the false claim that liberal ‘deep state’ partisans within the FBI orchestrated the insurrection as a way to undermine former President Donald Trump. He has conducted sympathetic interviews with some of the rioters who were subsequently charged by the Justice Department. ”To give such a media personality exclusive access, presumably to allow him to create a counter-narrative that will challenge the reality of the insurrectionist violence, is ridiculous.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland raised similar concerns, asking, “What security precautions were taken to keep this from becoming a roadmap for 2024 insurrection?”

Axios. MaddowBlog

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