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Fox airing of Jan. 6 footage draws flak from lawmakers, Capitol Police

The Capitol Police further contended that the network ignored its requests to conduct a security review of any footage it aired and that they had only been permitted to preview one clip.

Published: March 7, 2023 3:18pm

Updated: March 7, 2023 4:17pm

Capitol Police and Republican lawmakers have lined up against Fox News after network host Tucker Carlson aired footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot on Monday evening that appeared to show Capitol Police peacefully escorting Jacob Chansley, aka the QAnon Shaman, to the Senate floor.

"The tapes show the Capitol police never stopped Jacob Chansley. They helped him. They acted as his tour guides," Carlson said on the program. The footage appeared to show two officers walking alongside him on the way to the Senate floor.

Chansley "understood that the Capitol police were his allies," he added. "If he was in the act of committing such a grave crime, why didn't the officers standing right next to him place him under arrest?"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday disagreed with the Fox host's portrayal of the incident as a largely peaceful, yet turbulent demonstration, saying "[i]t was a mistake, in my view, [for] Fox News to depict this in a way completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official in the Capitol" described, The Hill reported.

The Kentucky Republican took the side of Capitol Police, noting that Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger had accused Carlson of "cherry-picking" calm moments from the demonstration to misrepresent the event.

"Clearly the chief of the Capitol Police, in my view, correctly described what most of us witnessed first hand on Jan. 6," McConnell added.

The Capitol Police further contended that the network ignored its requests to conduct a security review of any footage it aired and that they had only been permitted to preview one clip.

"We repeatedly requested that any clips be shown to us first for a security review. So far we have only been given the ability to preview a single clip out of the multiple clips that aired," the Capitol Police asserted, per The Hill.

That assertion appears to conflict with lawmaker assurances that the footage would enter Carlson's hands under controlled circumstances. House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., in late February insisted that Carlson would not simply receive a trove of footage to view on his own whims.

"It's basically controlled access to be able to view tapes. Can't record, can't take anything with you. Then they will request any particular clips that — that they may need, and then we'll make sure that there's nothing sensitive, nothing classified — you know, escape routes," he said at the time.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly handed the roughly 41,000 hours of security footage to the Fox News host in late February. The California Republican had previously vowed to release all of it, saying "If there was ever a question that's in the public's interest to know, it's what actually happened on January 6. By definition, this video will reveal it."

 "[T]he American public should actually see all [that] happened instead of a report that's written [on] a political basis," he said.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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