Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) says Fox News made “a mistake” by depicting Jan. 6, 2021, as a largely peaceful if chaotic protest, a revision of history that the Capitol Police chief criticized as “offensive” and “misleading.”
McConnell told reporters that he endorsed Police Chief Tom Manger’s criticism that Fox host Tucker Carlson “cherry-picked” calmer moments from the violent day failed to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened in the Capitol.
“With regard to the presentation on Fox News last night, I want to associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief of the Capitol police about what happened on Jan. 6,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday, holding up a copy of the police chief’s statement.
McConnell said “my concern is how it was depicted” on Carlson’s highly rated show.
“Clearly the chief of the Capitol Police, in my view, correctly described what most of us witnessed firsthand on Jan. 6,” he said.
“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 here at the Capitol” described, McConnell said.
Manger, the police chief, said the commentary in Carlson’s show “was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the Jan. 6 attack.”
Carlson said on his show that describing Jan. 6 as a deadly insurrection is “a lie.”
“Very little about Jan. 6 was organized or violent,” he said after reviewing extensive video footage of the day provided exclusively to his show by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Carlson showed footage on his show that he said portrayed police officers escorting one Jan. 6 protester, Jacob Chansley, known also as the “QAnon Shaman,” around the Capitol and described them as acting like “tour guides.”
The Fox host also disputed that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died because of his violent encounter with rioters.
Manger in his statement denounced that portrayal of events, slamming the claim that officers acted as “tour guides” as “outrageous and false.”
“Those officers did their best to use de-escalation tactics to try to talk to rioters into getting each other to leave the building,” he said.
But Manger said “the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with heroic actions on Jan. 6.”
“The department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day,” the chief said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted Carlson during a separate press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“Last night, Fox News with Speaker McCarthy (R-Calif.) as a willing, capable and powerful accomplice, aired one of the most shameful hours we have ever seen in the entire history of cable television,” he said.
“What has happened to any standards of honor, of honesty, of decency in America when this happens?” he said of Carlson’s public support of former President Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and his depiction of Jan. 6 as a mostly peaceful protest.
Updated at 3:27 p.m.