March 8, 2023


Tucker Carlson's January 6 Revisionist History (Noah Rothman, Mar. 7th, 2023, National Review)

At one point, Chansley is even escorted through a small cordon of officers, suggesting that the "Q Shaman" saw law enforcement "as his allies." The New York Post draws the conclusion to which Carlson led it, citing a statement by USCP saying the overwhelmed officers were trying to "de-escalate" the situation. "But that does not explain why Chansley, who was unarmed, was able to walk past seven more officers without being apprehended," the Post avers. Yes, it does.

This is hardly the only excruciatingly well-documented example of outmanned police officers calmly engaging with demonstrators, clearing the way for or corralling intruders in the Capitol complex, or retreating to more defensible terrain. Nor is this specific act of deference by Capitol Police officers remarkable. The Post later confirmed that the officer featured in Carlson's footage, Officer Keith Robishaw, spoke with HBO documentarians about his experience with Chansley.

"The sheer number of them compared to us, I knew ahead there was no way we could all get physical with them," Robishaw said. "I walked in behind [Chansley], and that is when I realized I am alone now. I was by myself." Their extensive interaction in the Senate chamber, where Robishaw was surrounded by dozens of other disruptive demonstrators, was filmed up close by New Yorker correspondent Luke Mogelson. You can watch it here. Robishaw's unheeded demands that the demonstrators evacuate the premises indicates, at the very least, that he was no one's "tour guide."

Carlson later asks "what did Chansley do" to deserve the months he's already spent in a jail cell for his conduct on that day. The answer established in court by his guilty plea was criminal obstruction of a federal investigation, for which a judge sentenced him to the "low end" of the prison terms prescribed in federal sentencing guidelines: 41 months.

Suffice it to say the lone officer confronting Chansley was reduced to de-escalatory tactics, in part because his colleagues were engaged in a desperate attempt to secure his flank. That leads us to Carlson's second contention: The attack on the Capitol was no "riot."

"Very little about January 6 was organized or violent," the Fox host maintains. "Surveillance video from inside the Capitol shows mostly peaceful chaos." This is a contention that some Republican members of Congress have made citing available footage, to which the general public has supposedly never been privy.

"Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures," said Representative Andrew Clyde during a 2021 Oversight Committee hearing. "You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit." Again, this tortured interpretation of events rests on the assumption that viewers are unfamiliar with or willing to compartmentalize hours of footage demonstrating the extent of the ongoing violence on the Capitol steps.

For those with the requisite curiosity, ProPublica produced an impressive interactive database of footage of the Capitol riot that allows users to bounce in real time from events inside the Capitol to the Capitol steps and around the complex. Most of those videos were culled from posts provided by users of the pro-Trump social-media website Parler, which suggests the conspiracy to hide these videos from the public was spectacularly inept.

Those videos show hours of vicious hand-to-hand combat outside the building, the officers' crowd-control efforts inside the building, and, yes, even the rare moments of relative placidity in areas like Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda. Again, you can watch the footage for yourself (which the January 6 committee played) to determine just how reverential the demonstrators, some of whom called repeatedly for the hanging of American elected officials even in those moments of relative calm, really were.

Posted by at March 8, 2023 12:00 AM