U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on Tuesday morning to condemn Tucker Carlson and Fox News for Carlson’s Monday night segment that claimed to “demolish” the idea that the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was a violent insurrection.
Carlson alleged, based on “withheld” footage from Jan. 6, that “the video record does not support the claim that January 6 was an insurrection. In fact, it demolishes that claim.” Carlson added that the protesters were “right” because “they believed the election they had just voted in had been unfairly conducted” and that what happened was “mostly peaceful chaos.”
Schumer denounced Carlson in the harshest possible language, video of which you can watch at the top of this file. The New York Democrat said Carlson’s segment was “one of the most shameful hours we have ever seen on cable television, with contempt for the facts [and] disregard of the risks,” adding that Carlson “told the bold-faced lie that the Capitol attack, which we all saw with our own eyes, was somehow not an attack at all.”
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell also called out Fox News on Tuesday, saying, it was a “a mistake” for the network to portray the attack as a largely peaceful protest. McConnell said, “my concern is how it was depicted” by Carlson. “It 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 [reported],” according to The Hill.
Schumer also called out House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who shared the footage with Carlson. “I condemn Mr. Carlson for siding with the enemies of democracy. I strongly condemn speaker McCarthy’s actions and fiercely oppose his decision to share this footage with Carlson. I urge Fox News to cease propagating the big lie… and to level with their viewers about the truth behind the efforts to mislead the public.”
Schumer argued that Carlson’s segment was inflammatory and reckless: “That right there is just asking for another January 6 to happen.”
Schumer shared that at one point he was within 30 feet of the rioters and heard someone yell, “Let’s get him,” before his security detail pulled him away.
“To say January 6 was not violent is a lie, a lie pure and simple,” Schumer continued. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a primetime cable news anchor manipulate his viewers the way Mr. Carlson did last night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anchor treat the American people and American democracy with such disdain.”
Noting that Carlson is planning a follow-up segment for Tuesday night, Schumer urged, “Fox News and Rupert Murdoch, tell Carlson not to run a second segment of lies. You know it’s a lie, you’ve admitted it’s a lie,” he said. He’s referring to Murdoch’s admission in the Dominion lawsuit that he knew the on-air claims of Fox News anchors about the “stolen” 2020 presidential election were not true, but that he encouraged them to boost ratings and make more money for Fox.
Recently released text messages from Carlson also show he believed the 2020 election was a fair one and that no widespread fraud had been committed.
Schumer also said that McCarthy is “every bit as culpable as Mr. Carlson.” He accused McCarthy of playing a “treacherous game by catering to the hard right, he’s enabled the big lie and has further eroded away at our precious democracy. When people don’t believe our elections are on the level, that’s the beginning of the end.”
The clip from Tucker Carlson Tonight is still up, but YouTube has added a context warning.
The family of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after sustaining injuries in the Capitol Hill attack, also blasted Carlson. In a statement shared to Twitter, the family wrote that they are “outraged” over Carlson’s “delusional views” that Jan. 6 was peaceful. “Every time the pain of that day seems to have ebbed a bit, organizations like Fox rip our wounds wide open again and we are frankly sick of it,” the Sicknick family said.