There’s Actually Some Important Information In Tucker Carlson’s January 6 TV Special
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Tucker Carlson’s recent T.V. special about January 6 spurred a minor revolt inside Fox News with two contributors quitting and longtime on air personalities going public with their “concerns” about Carlson’s attempt to paint the January 6 attack as a relatively peaceful, patriotic event that is being used as a pretext for the government to wage war on its own citizens. And while the “Patriot Purge” special lacks any solid evidence for the clearly false claims about what happened on January 6, Carlson’s production does contain a major revelation.
The documentary-style feature, which debuted on Fox News’ streaming platform earlier this month, paints many participants in the January 6 rallies and the storming of the Capitol building in a sympathetic light. Ali Alexander, a far right activist who helped organize the “Wild Protest” outside the Capitol that day and serves as a prominent voice in the special, described working with members of Congress to plan efforts to have President Trump’s loss overturned on January 6.
In the first episode of the three-part series, Alexander discusses these conversations. Carlson also claims to have listened to audio of these “planning” discussions.
“We listened to never-before-aired tape of a January 6 planning session that took place between Ali Alexander and several members of Congress,” Carlson says. “There was no talk of insurrection. Nothing even close.”
In an email to The Uprising, Alexander said the call involved a big group and that he only talked about demonstrations outside the Capitol building.
“I don’t have a copy of that audio. I did not provide that to Tucker or his team. That was a very large call,” Alexander wrote. “I am glad that someone caught it so that it shows that our intentions were peaceful and to seek legal legislative remedies. Every time I mentioned the sixth in public or private, I only made reference to outside.”
In the special, Alexander described the conversations as an effort to strategize building public support for objections to the electoral certification that was taking place at the Capitol on January 6.
“I consulted members of Congress,” Alexander says. “They felt like this would add pressure to make sure that our voices were counted.”
Carlson’s special doesn’t provide much more information about the contents of the call. “Patriot Purge” also does not name the politicians who were supposedly involved in the planning session. The show only airs a snippet of audio where an unidentified voice declares: “We have several members of Congress on this call and state legislators.” Alexander, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story, has previously claimed that congressmen Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, and Paul Gosar “schemed up” with him and “ came up with the January 6 idea.”
Two sources who were involved in the planning of the January 6 rally at the White House Ellipse previously spoke to me for an article in Rolling Stone and described “dozens” of planning calls between members of Congress and activists who rallied against the electoral certification. Those sources also said some of the organizers of the event at the Ellipse, which was the largest event of the day and included a speech by former President Trump, had concerns Alexander’s “Wild Protest” could spark violence due to its location adjacent to the Capitol.
In Carlson’s TV special, Alexander argues that his group was nonviolent.
“Stop The Steal was the most law-abiding movement that this country has seen in modern times,” Alexander says.
Alexander also describes being in touch with Trump’s “campaign” on January 6. Furthermore, he claimed it was a member of the former president’s team who instructed him and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to lead a march along Pennsylvania Avenue from the Ellipse rally to the “Wild Protest” outside the Capitol as Trump delivered his speech.
“I’m dead center to the president, front row,” Alexander recounts. “A Trump campaign staffer walks up to me and says, ‘You know Ali, there are people leaving the overflow and there are already tens of thousands of people at the U.S. Capitol. With your presence and the presence of Alex Jones, why don’t you guys walk down Pennsylvania, gather people together, and then position them for your rally.’”
According to Alexander, the “only reason” he was not at the Capitol as violence broke out and the barricades were breached is because “we stopped and made an impromptu speech.” Alexander described the situation as unfortunate, saying that the events “spiraled out of control.”
The violence that erupted that day aside, Alexander’s remarks provide new evidence of some level of coordination between January 6 rally organizers, members of Congress, and the Trump campaign. So, while Carlson’s special is a questionable effort to argue that the efforts to prosecute those who stormed the Capitol are worse than anything that happened on January 6, it inadvertently provided value and deepened the public’s understanding of events.
Others who appear in Carlson’s special actively downplay the attack on the Capitol. Darren Beattie, who was fired from his post as a Trump administration speechwriter in 2018 for attending a conference with white nationalists, cites incorrect initial reporting on the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick and suggests the law enforcement response to the storming of the building was based on this false “pretext.” Elijah Shaffer, a podcaster with conservative site The Blaze, blamed the violence on “agitators” — including police officers who he falsely claims only launched tear gas after the situation “got peaceful.”
Along with downplaying the violence and suggesting it might have been provoked by some type of false flag operation, Carlson’s special attempted to position the crackdown on the Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol as a domestic continuation of the War on Terror. With a blizzard of footage that evokes old black helicopter conspiracy theories, speedy jump cuts of George W. Bush era archival clips, and evidence-free accusations from January 6 defendants and their attorneys, the documentary suggests the people arrested for crimes allegedly committed that day are facing conditions akin to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Using a descriptor that The Hill has described as “the latest catchphrase in the racist lexicon,” Carlson called the arrests “a purge aimed at legacy Americans … who vote the wrong way.”
A spokesperson for Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the critiques of Carlson’s documentary or what he meant by the phrase “legacy Americans.” In the end, Carlson and his camera crews actually managed to uncover some new information about how activists coordinated with officials in Congress and on the Trump campaign to mount an effort to overturn an American election. However, in the mind of America’s top rated cable news host, that’s not the real story. Instead, he’s focused on the black helicopters.
“The helicopters have left Afghanistan now,” Carlson says. “They’ve landed here at home. They’ve begun to fight a new enemy in a new war on terror.”