Federal prosecutors submitted a court filing to dispute Fox News’ Tucker Carlson over his attempt to portray Jan. 6 rioters as largely non-violent.
CNN reported on Monday that prosecutors rebuked Carlson’s narrative for the footage he aired last week of Jacob Chansley (AKA the “QAnon Shaman”). The prosecutors accuse Carlson of leaving out footage and context of Chansley getting confrontational with Capitol police, a considerable departure from the Fox host’s portrayal of Chansley as a harmless “sightseer” among the mob of people who laid violent siege to Congress.
“Chansley was not some passive, chaperoned observer of events for the roughly hour that he was unlawfully inside the Capitol,” prosecutors argued, according to the report. “He was part of the initial breach of the building; he confronted law enforcement for roughly 30 minutes just outside the Senate Chamber; he gained access to the gallery of the Senate along with other members of the mob (obviously, precluding any Senate business from occurring); and he gained access to and later left the Senate floor only after law enforcement was able to arrive en masse to remove him.”
After numerous conspiracy theories downplaying the Capitol riot, Carlson came under renewed scrutiny last week over his new narrative about the events of Jan. 6, which he based on the trove of footage to which he was granted access by Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Carlson tried to depict the Jan. 6 mob as “orderly and meek,” glossing over the fact that many of them were armed, assaulted police officers, broke into the Capitol, vandalized offices, and sought to overthrow the 2020 election because they believed Donald Trump’s false claims of the election’s corruption.
Chansley, one of the most recognizable figures in the mob, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to obstructing an official Congressional proceeding. Carlson attempted to show Chansley in a positive light by airing a video of him being escorted through the halls by Capitol officers.
Mediaite previously noted that Keith Robishaw, one of the officers from that clip, has explained that the Capitol Police was so overwhelmed during the riot that they had to de-escalate the situation wherever possible with the rioters who forced their way so far into Congress. In their filing, prosecutors argue that Carlson’s televised footage “fails to show that Chansley subsequently refused to be escorted out by this lone officer and instead left the Capitol only after additional officers arrived and forcibly escorted him out.”
Through a Fox News spokesperson, Tucker Carlson Tonight senior executive producer Justin Wells said, “Our team’s review of available surveillance footage of Mr. Chansley is consistent with our reporting.”
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