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How Carlson Lied To Whitewash Oath Keepers’ Armed Conspiracy


Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has repeatedly hosted alleged Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell, who was charged on January 13 with seditious conspiracy alongside Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes and nine others in connection to the anti-government militia’s plot to violently overthrow the government on January 6, 2021. Carlson has interviewed Caldwell on both his Fox News show and his Fox Nation show. With Carlson’s help, Caldwell and his wife cast themselves as victims of overzealous prosecution for the events of January 6.

In their discussions Carlson and his guests overlooked some key details while portraying Caldwell, who was first arrested and indicted for his January 6 actions shortly after that day, merely as a “disabled veteran.

As noted in the indictment, Caldwell was stationed outside Washington, D.C., on January 5, standing ready to distribute weapons to his fellow militia members at the direction of Rhodes. He allegedly helped coordinate the Oath Keepers’ so-called “quick reaction force.” The indictment states that the militia had “amassed firearms on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., distributed them among ‘quick reaction force’ (‘QRF’) teams, and planned to use the firearms in support of their plot to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power.”

The indictment alleges, “The QRF teams were prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C., in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power. The QRF teams were coordinated, in part, by Thomas Caldwell and Edward Vallejo.”

Rhodes indictment 1rhodes indictment

The indictment also notes that Caldwell did march to the Capitol on January 6, which has been documented in previous media reports. Some of Caldwell’s involvement coordinating the “QRF” was released in a court filing in December and was reported on by local DC outlet WUSA.

The government’s case claims Caldwell sought boats to assist the QRF, saying he wrote in a message that they could have “heavy weapons standing by, quickly load them and ferry them across the river to our waiting arms.” It also alleges that “on January 5, 2021, Caldwell and others drove into Washington, D.C., around the Capitol, and back to their hotel in Virginia” where the Oath Keepers had stockpiled weapons. The indictment says that “Caldwell described the trip as ‘recce,’ or a reconnaissance mission.”

In his repeated interviews of Caldwell and his wife Sharon, Carlson hasn’t painted the full picture of the facts as laid out by the government or of the grave implications had the events of January 6 turned out even slightly differently.

Carlson first mentioned Caldwell in his monologue on June 15. Noting the reporting about the quick reaction force, Carlson flatly stated that because Caldwell’s two co-conspirators were not indicted at the time, they were “almost certainly working for the FBI.” The idiotic logic is breathtaking even today:

The government's indictments further indicate that Caldwell -- who by the way is a 65-year-old man -- was led to believe there would be a "quick reaction force" also participating in January 6. That quick reaction force, Caldwell was told, would be led by someone called "Person Three" -- who had a hotel room and an accomplice.
But wait. Here’s the interesting thing. "Person Two" and "Person Three" were organizers of the riot. The government knows who they are, but the government has not charged them. Why is that? You know why. They were almost certainly working for the FBI. So FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6, according to government documents. And those two are not alone.

As HuffPo’s Ryan Reilly has pointed out, court documents show that the person staying in a hotel room with Caldwell was his wife. In truth, Carlson was just ripping off a flimsy conspiracy theory from Darren Beattie, a frequent guest of his who has attended a white nationalist conference.

Caldwell first appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight on October 4, 2021. Carlson cited American Greatness blogger Julie Kelly’s coverage of Caldwell’s plight while introducing his guest. (At American Greatness, Kelly has repeatedly written about Caldwell in glowing terms. Just days ago she used Caldwell’s prior indictment as evidence that the federal government was behind the attack that day)

In the interview, Caldwell told Carlson the Oath Keepers “seem to be very nice people” but “I’m not part of that organization.” Carlson closed the segment by saying, “I hope you crush these people, and we’re going to follow your case, and I hope that you both will come back. It’s shocking this could happen in our country.”

Following that interview, right-wing figures like Kelly and New York Post columnist Miranda Devine raised money for Caldwell on social media.

Caldwell and his wife appeared again with Carlson on his Fox Nation show Tucker Carlson Today in November. During the 50-minute-long interview, Carlson described the circumstances of Caldwell’s arrest as “beyond belief” and said “there was no reason” for him to be arrested in the way he described. Carlson went so far as to ask that Caldwell publicly name the U.S. attorney prosecuting his case, which Caldwell declined to do. Carlson said, “I hope that he’s punished” for his handling of the case.

Carlson omitted key details from what the FBI found at Caldwell’s home that day. A February 2021 BuzzFeed News report says agents found “receipts for the purchase of ‘a concealed firearm intentionally built to look like a cell phone,’” live ammunition, and “a notepad with the legend ‘Death List,’ and below that the name of an elections official from another state, as well as a relative of that person.”

Prosecutors at the time also shared a text message from Caldwell about the plan, noted above, to ferry guns on January 6 into Washington, D.C., with boats. The judge in his case at the time found that Caldwell must be held in custody until his trial because he “represents not just a danger to the community but to the fabric of democracy.”

On Tucker Carlson Today, the eponymous host instead focused on whether Caldwell was an official member of the Oath Keepers, saying that “it is not a crime to belong to the Oath Keepers or any other organization in this country, no matter what Joe Biden thinks of it. Is that still true? I mean, you’re allowed to belong to any volunteer organization you want, right?”

Carlson asked Caldwell if he entered the Capitol building or did anything illegal; when Caldwell answered no, Carlson immediately took him at his word, saying that he “didn't get caught up in any of the illegal activities on that day, it doesn't sound like.”

In a 50-minute interview with someone indicted for their activities on January 6, that was essentially all the time Carlson spent trying to figure out what Caldwell did that day.

Carlson then proceeded to try to get Caldwell to endorse his Ray Epps conspiracy theory:

In that clip, Carlson goes on to suggest that there’s a federal government conspiracy because Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes had not (yet) been arrested.

The appearance was amplified by Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec.

In Caldwell’s third appearance with Carlson, on January 13, 2022, following the charges for seditious conspiracy, Carlson asked him about the text message and plans to ferry weapons across the Potomac. Caldwell denied that he had made those plans, and that exchange soon devolved into Carlson mockingly asking if Caldwell owned any howitzers. Most of the interview ended up just repeating the same notes – Caldwell denying he was in the Capitol building and talking about how much being prosecuted hurts his family.

Carlson didn’t mention why people may be skeptical of Caldwell’s denial: Messages made public by the Department of Justice show that Caldwell bragged to unnamed recipients about participating in the attack and that he told people to “storm the place and hang the traitors":

“Then we heard Pence f***** us. Wr [sic] had over a million oeople [sic] here. Then the lying media said Trump supporters were breaking through barricades so I said if we’re going to get blamed, might as well do it so I grabbed up my American flag and said let’s take the damn capitol,” Caldwell allegedly said. “So people started surging forward and climbing the scaffolding outside so I said lets storm the place and hang the traitors. Everybody thought that was a good idea so we did.”
“[W]e climbed the steps after breaking 2 rows of barricades, yhen [sic] got on the parapets and the people in front of me broke through the doors and started duking it out with the pigs who broke and ran,” Caldwell allegedly continued. “Then we started stealing the cops riot shields a d [sic] throwing fire extinguishers through windows. It was a great time.”

In addition to Carlson, One America News Network also hosted Caldwell for a friendly interview.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Questioned By Cruz, FBI Official Debunks January 6 Conspiracy Propaganda

In a development that perfectly illustrates the right-wing media’s collective moral incorrigibility and imperviousness to facts, conservative commentators are now digging in further on a conspiracy theory about the January 6 insurrection — right after it was thoroughly dispelled on Tuesday.

The claims surround an Arizona man named Ray Epps who, on the night of January 5, 2021, was seen on video telling a crowd of Trump supporters to enter the Capitol the next day, and was also seen outside the Capitol building during the siege. Epps was identified online and interviewed by The Arizona Republic in the days following the attack, and it does not appear that he ever actually entered the Capitol or personally committed any violent acts that day.

In a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked FBI official Jill Sanborn a series of leading questions aimed at making it appear that Epps was connected to the FBI — questions that Cruz had been urged to pursue by Fox host Tucker Carlson last week. There is no credible evidence that Epps was some kind of point man in leading the entire attack, but his name has been spread prolifically by Darren Beattie, a former Trump administration staffer who has worked with Carlson to spread a propaganda campaign that the riot had been a setup by elements in the federal government to entrap conservatives.

Sanborn had responded to Cruz’s questions by explaining that the FBI could not get into specifics on sources and methods of investigations. But toward the end of the exchange, he asked her: “Did federal agents or those in service of federal agents actively encourage violent and criminal conduct on January 6?”

She responded: “Not to my knowledge, sir.”

In response, former Trump adviser and far-right media personality Steven Bannon — who has his own record of incitement leading up to the January 6 insurrection — immediately accused Sanborn of having perjured herself.

Beattie appeared with Bannon as a guest and delivered something of a backhanded compliment to Cruz for his reversal from calling the rioters “terrorists” to now spreading the theory that the riot was a false-flag operation: “And so I have to give credit to Ted Cruz. I think this is a testament to the fact that constructive bullying does work.”



Later in the broadcast, Bannon delivered a tirade in response to the January 6 committee’s tweet explaining that it had spoken to Epps, who confirmed he was neither an FBI agent or informant.

“You're liars, and we're going to get to the bottom of all of it, and you're not going to be able to hide,” Bannon proclaimed. “Save your receipts, preserve your documents.”

Tucker Carlson, the man who arguably had done more than anyone else to pressure Cruz into parroting these conspiracy theories, followed up on this broad range of denials Tuesday night by asking new rhetorical questions to suggest the committee was lying: “Supposedly this interview was conducted in secret last November. If that is true — we don't know that it is, but let's say it is — then why did the committee wait months to tell us today in a tweet? … Can we see a transcript of this interview? If not, why not?”


The new pile of follow-up questions that Carlson asked were remarkably similar to tweets from Tuesday afternoon from right-wing commentator Julie Kelly, a frequent guest on Carlson’s January 6 conspiracy theory beat who has also claimed that a D.C. police officer testifying about his violent and traumatic experiences that day was a “crisis actor.” Kelly also claimed that the committee’s denial that Epps had ever worked at the direction of a law enforcement agency was “a pretty narrow denial, by the way.”

Cruz also appeared that night on Fox News, this time with prime-time host Sean Hannity, who said that Cruz had “asked the FBI very important questions about that day. Their answers, or lack thereof, are very telling.”

It is very much worth remembering that text messages released a month ago revealed that during the January 6 riot, Hannity sent text messages to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows urging that Trump make a statement asking people to leave the Capitol. But later that same evening, the Fox host spread false claims that the Capitol rioters may have been left-wing militants disguised as Trump supporters — which had to have been a deliberate lie, because if he had actually believed that, then his private message for Trump to call off the mob would have been pointless.

Hannity and Cruz also claimed that Sanborn had failed to deliver a blanket denial of agency involvement in fomenting January 6 — even though she in fact did state that no such deeds occurred according to her knowledge, video of which was included right before that in the segment. Meanwhile, the segment chyron claimed that “Top FBI official dodges when Cruz asks if agents participated in Jan 6th.”


SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Senator, what an exchange that was. OK, so the FBI — this is the executive assistant director, says, “I can't answer that, we can't reveal sources and methods.” That doesn't prohibit, though, the FBI, senator, in my mind that they could have said the FBI did nothing illegal, the FBI did nothing unethical, the FBI would never encourage any type of violence or participate and such. That would be a broad sweeping generalization without giving out any sources, any methods, or any evidence whatsoever. Why couldn't there be a blanket denial that that's not who we are, that's not the way we act?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Well, there should have been and if they were doing their jobs, that was what they would have said.

Fox Nation host Lara Logan also retweeted a message from right-wing radio host Jesse Kelly, who continued to insist that Epps was “an FBI informant who was tasked by the FBI to get people to break the law so the FBI could attack Republicans.”

It may also be worth noting that Cruz’s persistent conflation of terms like “agent” and “informant” could have led to problems in Sanborn’s ability to answer his questions. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a member of the House select committee investigating January 6, explained in a Twitter thread that these terms are actually very different categories, with informants usually being “criminals that turn to save their own butt. An informant is not an agent. But Ted wants you to think it is.” (Kinzinger also reiterated that Epps was not even an informant.)

With that in mind, the sort of questions Cruz asked, such as, “Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of January 6th? Yes or no?” were overly broad because they could have potentially covered anyone who became an informant in the period of time since the riot — that is, to “save their own butt” after the fact — something that law enforcement officials would not publicly comment about.

By contrast, Sanborn actually was able to answer Cruz’s final question on the topic. But that is not going to stop right-wing commentators from acting in extremely bad faith by continuing to spread false-flag conspiracy theories that shift blame for the Capitol attack — especially when they’ve got some serious skeletons in their own closets.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir.

The Most Cringe-Worthy Moments Of Sen. Ted Cruz's Career

It’s a day that ends in “y,” so that means Ted Cruz has found a new way to debase and humiliate himself. He’s like a deep sea diver looking for the bottom of the sea of humiliation and folks, I’m not sure he’s ever going to find that bottom. He just keeps sinking and sinking and sinking.

Let’s take a look back at some of the more humiliating events we’ve witnessed in the career of Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz and then take the highly scientific poll: Which of these is Cruz’s most cringeworthy moment?

“Here’s the thing you have to understand about Ted Cruz. I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.” — Al Franken, in Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.

Let’s get started with the most recent entrant: Cruz’s appearance on Tucker Carlson’s White Power Hour last Thursday night. In case you missed it, Cruz asked to appear on the show to clear up his previous comments in which he called the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol a “terrorist attack,” something Carlson took great offense to and slammed Cruz for on his Wednesday night show. Please watch and tell me if you have ever heard a more slimy answer in your life. It’s incredible that Cruz sat there smiling and groveling after Carlson called him a liar on national television.

Ouch! Thank you, sir! May I have another? That was remarkably uncomfortable. Imagine having to grovel to Carlson and then being so very, very bad at it.

Let’s go further back in Cruz’s career and reflect on some other utterly cringeworthy moments. It is truly going to be hard to pick a “winner” from these options. In no particular order, here they are:

That time he went off on “the libz” from the state of Washington for banning dancing during COVID-19—except in this case, “WA” stood for Western Australia. Wrong country, pal! After quick viral mocking, Cruz deleted this tweet, but not before half the Internet took a screenshot.

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Screenshot of a deleted Ted Cruz tweet about Western Australia Ope! “WA” is Western Australia, pal.

Next up, we have an incident that was about as big of a Texas-sized fuck up as I have ever seen. In February 2021, a cold front descended on the lower Midwest and into Texas, causing one of the biggest crises in the history of Texas. An estimated 210 Texans died, and the entire state was frozen solid and suffering. So what did Cruz do? He slunk off to the Ritz Carlton resort in Cancun, Mexico. Worse than that, after he was flat-out busted on social media, he had the audacity to blame his daughters. And if it couldn’t get any worse, it was revealed he left the family dog, Snowflake, home alone.

How in the hell did he survive that without resigning? It’s going to be hard to beat that, but we press on.

Let us now recall the time he was falling behind in the 2016 Republican primaries to a two-bit wannabe mobster and television personality and became so desperate that he announced Carly Fiorina as his running mate for a primary he would never come close to winning. Worse, his own pick seemed to hate his guts. Later she revealed that yes, she really does.

“I have to say I’m very disappointed in Ted. I’ve been very disappointed in Ted for some time now,” she responded. “I tried to help Ted’s candidacy because I thought it would be tragic and terrible if Donald Trump were the Republican party’s nominee. Turns out I was right about Donald Trump. And sadly, it appears, I was wrong about Ted Cruz.”

Nonetheless, we were treated to perhaps the single most awkward hand-hold of all time. A very “ I’m in charge—no, I’m in charge!” vibe.

If you didn’t think that campaign appearance could get anymore cringeworthy, think again. He went on to accidentally hit his wife in the face, not once, but twice in the most awkward family hugs we’ve ever witnessed.

via GIPHY

That naturally leads us into another sweet family moment.

Can’t you just feel the love?

Since we are in the 2016 timeline, let’s revisit more of his presidential desperation. I need you to brace yourselves for this one, okay? Know that up front, because I’m about to revisit the booger incident.

Sure it is possible that was something other than a booger, but goodness, I’m gagging at the mere memory of this cringeworthy moment. I’m sorry I had to do that to you, really.

Next up we have the time Cruz’s official Twitter account quite noticeably liked a porn video on Twitter.

Screenshot of Ted Cruz

While that is hilarious all by itself, let us now listen to Cruz explain that it was merely a mistake by a low-level staffer. Because, you know, unnamed, low-level staffers all have the keys to the social media accounts of powerful U.S. senators.

Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted. Yes, I bet he did identify this staffer. Mmhhmm. His name probably rhymes with Red Ooze.

How about that time Cruz sought and received an endorsement from a congressman who was so shamelessly racist that even his fellow Republicans stripped of him of his committee assignments and eventually ran him out of Congress?

Ted was “beyond honored” to receive that endorsement. Do you know how racist you have to be for Republicans to act? And I guess he thought he could make that vanish, but my colleague Gabe Ortíz didn’t forget.

How about the 2013 Senate debate about the Affordable Care Act, when Cruz filibustered with the cutesy act of reading Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham?

Gosh, isn’t he clever? Eight years later, he would sell autographed copies of the Dr. Seuss classic to “own the libz” again and rail against “cancel culture,” all because the Dr. Seuss Foundation announced they would no longer publish six books that contain racist imagery. And nothing sets Cruz off more than refusing to publish children’s books with harmful, racist imagery.

And last, but not least, there was this 2016 moment: a broken Cruz phone-banking for Donald Trump, even after Donald Trump publicly called Cruz’s wife ugly and hinted in a Republican primary debate that Cruz’s father, an immigrant from Cuba, had a hand in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Before we get to the poll, I’d like to mention that it was difficult to pare this list down because there are a remarkable number of Ted Cruz moments. I asked my colleagues to refresh my memory on some of these cringeworthy memories and we came up with a list of terrible, no good, purely awful Cruz moments. Barb Morrill reminds us of something we cannot overlook: Cruz has long faced accusations that he could be the Zodiac Killer. There were many other moments that didn’t make the poll, but do deserve an honorable mention. They include:

That is a lot to take in, right? Please feel free to add your own recollections in the comments below.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Carlson Flipped Out When Sen. Cruz Called January 6 'Terrorist Attack' (VIDEO)

Fox News' Tucker Carlson is not pleased with Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) remarks describing the January 6 insurrection as a "terrorist attack."

Speaking during a recent Senate Rules Committee hearing, the Texas senator weighed in on the anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riots where he condemned rioters and praised law enforcement officers.

“We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week,” Cruz said in a Senate Rules Committee hearing. “And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol, where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery, risk their lives for the Capitol.”

Carlson made his disdain clear during his Fox News primetime segment on Wednesday, January 5.

“He did not mention the pipe bomber,” Carlson said in reference to the unidentified suspect who planted explosives near the federal building. “That individual was caught on surveillance tape. The pipe bomber was on a phone several times. That’s traceable. Where is that person? Merrick Garland did not mention that.”

Seething, Carlson added, “What are they busy doing? Repeating the talking points that Merrick Garland wrote for them."

While Carlson did acknowledge Cruz's popularity among conservative voters, he argued that the Republican senator's description of the January 6 description was inaccurate.

“Now let’s be honest,” Carlson proclaimed. “Everyone who’s conservative appreciates Ted Cruz. You may not like him. But you’ve gotta appreciate him. He’s legitimately smart. He’s one of the more articulate people to serve in Congress, maybe the most articulate."

Although Carlson admitted that the breach of the U.S. Capitol was a riot, he attempted to claim that it was not an insurrection or terrorist attack.

“He described January 6 as a violent terrorist attack. Of all the things January 6 was, it was definitely not a violent terrorist attack. It wasn’t an insurrection,” Carlson exclaimed. “Was it a riot? Sure. It was not a violent terrorist attack. Sorry! So why are you telling us it was, Ted Cruz?”

Carlson concluded with a question about Cruz's remarks saying, “What the hell’s going on here?"

"You’re making us think, maybe the Republican Party is as worthless as we suspected it was," Carlson said. "That can’t be true. Reassure us, please, Ted Cruz.”

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

How Republicans Learned To Stop Worrying And Love January 6

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

As the nation approaches the one-year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a disturbing trend has emerged in the right-wing media ecosystem: the open approval and valorization of the event.

Such thoughts first emerged that very day, when far-right commentators like former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka and right-wing site The Gateway Pundit cheered on the “patriots” who had “taken over Capitol Hill.” But after the coup attempt failed, right-wing media proceeded in the following days and months to come up with other explanations of what had happened. While they painted various conspiracy theories of left-wing infiltration or claimed there had been no insurrection at all, they also urged strongly against any attempts to investigate the event further — which did not exactly demonstrate much confidence in the alternative hypotheses.

But more and more, conservative media outlets are collectively ending up right back where they started, with a full embrace of the event, consistent with former President Donald Trump’s claims that “the insurrection took place on November 3rd,” and that January 6 was a “protest of the rigged election.” (This has also spread through official Republican circles, such as the local Republican Party in suburban Cobb County, Georgia, which is preparing to hold a “Candlelight Vigil for J6 Patriots.”)

This right-wing media campaign to excuse the Capitol attack is seemingly reflected by views among the rank-and-file GOP: A recent CBS News/YouGov poll finds that Republican voters have become less disapproving of the events of January 6 than they once were. While the vast majority still say they disapprove, a deeper look finds that this opinion has become spread between those who “strongly disapprove” and a plurality who only “somewhat disapprove.” Moreover, only 21 percent of Republicans will describe the riot as an “insurrection,” while 47 percent describe the people who entered the Capitol as having been motivated by “patriotism,” and 56 percent say they had been “defending freedom.” Moreover, 38 percent of Republicans say that political violence could be justified over election results.

Indeed, much of the response to January 6 has depended on the source’s view about whether such an event could succeed — or only result in ignominious defeat. Far-right activist and talk show host Charlie Kirk, in the days following January 6, deleted a tweet in which he had boasted that his organizations were sending “80+ buses full of patriots” to Washington in order to “fight for this president.” A Turning Point Action spokesperson claimed that the organization had sent only seven buses, but it also later emerged that at least one suspect in the Capitol insurrection had traveled to D.C. on one of Turning Point Action’s buses.

It is also worth looking at what Kirk now has to say about political violence. When an audience member at one of Kirk’s events asked this past October, “How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” Kirk responded that the questioner was “playing into all their plans,” because their opponents were “trying to make you do something that will be violent that will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties.” (Others pointed out that Kirk’s supposed objection to violence was based on its high probability of failure instead of any moral qualms.)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has created a propaganda series claiming that the attack was a false flag operation mounted by government elements in order to persecute conservatives, has also for long time cultivated a parallel narrative in which the insurrectionists were just regular citizens who “talked about the Constitution, and something called their rights.” Moreover, Carlson has claimed, they “were correct” that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged against Trump — and “if a mass of people show up angry at the Capitol, you should at least pause for a second,” and “maybe we should address their concerns.”

And on New Year’s Eve, right-wing site American Greatness — whose contributors have spread lies about the 2020 election and attacked Capitol Police officers — upped the ante with a piece titled “Of Reichstags and Bastilles.” Repeating a series of false claims that there was “overwhelming evidence of widespread voter fraud in multiple swing states,” contributor Eric Lendrum declared that “thus, the protesters were justified.”

The piece also claimed that Ashli Babbitt, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who was killed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to climb through a broken window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby, was “an actual hero … who was willing to give her life for her country—and ultimately did just that, albeit in a far more tragic way.” (Babbitt had posted online the day before the Capitol attack that “Nothing will stop us,” further adding: “They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours… dark to light!”)

Lendrum concluded his piece with a declaration that conservatives should “stop trying to qualify their stances on January 6 with an obligatory disavowal,” and instead openly celebrate the actions of that day as “a reaction to a long train of abuses and usurpations perpetrated against the American people by an entrenched elite class that has infected our institutions.”

"The only course of action at this point is to be just as firm in our stance as the Left is. If they truly want to address January 6 by making dramatic historical comparisons, then so should we. If their aim is to make January 6 their Reichstag Fire, then we should go forward celebrating the events of that day as our Storming of the Bastille; a day where a symbol of the degeneration of our ruling class into total corruption and tyranny was challenged, and the elites were shown just what happens when millions of freedom-loving citizens finally grow sick and tired of a boot perpetually stomping on their necks."

Another peculiar set of visuals and commentary came Monday night on the far-right One America News.

OAN host Natalie Harp interviewed right-wing author Lee Smith about how the events of January 6 had supposedly been used to defame Trump supporters in general, with Harp calling the date a “plot against the people.” (This phrasing was in contrast to a book that Smith published in 2019, The Plot Against the President, denouncing the Trump-Russia investigations.)

While OAN aired B-roll photos and video of the January 6 attack itself, Smith claimed that the investigations were “effectively the demonization and in some cases the criminalization of opposition” to the Obama and Biden “faction” in American politics. “It’s despicable, but that's what we're up against. We're up against a very, a very ugly faction of the American public sphere.”




Fox News' Tucker Carlson Thinks Democracy Needs To End


TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): The larger a bureaucracy becomes, the more impersonal it gets. Past a certain size, organizations of any kind lose their regard for people. As they get bigger, they get blunter, more soulless and cruel. The people in charge no longer care what you think. They don't have to worry about how their policies will affect you or your family. And that's the inevitable product of population growth. If you had five children, you would bathe them all in love and attention. If you had 5,000 children, you wouldn't know their names.

So, in case you're wondering why our leaders no longer seem especially interested in your health or happiness or prosperity, that's the reason. They don't have to be interested. Our population is too big. Why should your opinion matter? You're one of many. Previous generations of Americans didn't live in a country like this and they would be stunned by the attitudes that are so common now -- attitudes we take for granted. "Arresting people for walking through the US Capitol building? How is that a crime?" nineteenth century Americans would wonder.

For most of our history, Americans believed they owned the Capitol. They thought it was theirs because they assumed this was their country, political leaders told them that it was. After the 1904 presidential election, Teddy Roosevelt greeted voters in person on the lawn of the White House. It was his home, he lived there, but it belonged to them. Attitudes like that are long gone. They're the victim of population growth. The Athenians invented democratic government, but at its peak, Athens only had about 8,000 voters. So, past a certain scale, democracy can't function very well. The concept of the citizen becomes too abstract.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters