John Weaver | ‘Disneyfied’ Version of Jan. 6?

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

On Monday, March 6, Tucker Carlson, on his Fox News program, exposed for all to see a few minutes of the thousands of hours of heretofore unpublished and unseen raw video tapes taken on Jan 6, 2021, during the so-called “insurrection.” The tapes revealed some long-suspected but, to date, unproven facts about that day. 

Jacob Chansley: Jacob Chansley, the “QAnon shaman,” since 2021 has been depicted as the “violence personified” evil face of the Jan. 6 insurrectionist. He was arrested, kept in solitary confinement for more than a year under brutal conditions, and essentially coerced into signing a plea deal that resulted in a 41-month jail term. Note that this compares to zero time served by Black Lives Matter rioters who threw bricks and Molotov cocktails, tried to blind police with lasers, set fires, destroyed property, murdered, and looted in towns and cities across the nation. The Carlson tapes present a completely different picture of Chansley from that presented previously. Instead of a violent extremist, the tapes show a peaceful man walking through various areas of the Capitol, amiably chatting with Capitol police who seem to be explaining things, opening doors and generally acting in the capacity of docent rather than police officer against a criminal. At one point, Chansley is seen offering a prayer of thanks for the officers and their courtesy. 

Other protesters: For years the left-leaning media, Democrats and some Republicans have been promulgating the image of bloodthirsty crazed MAGA adherents laying waste to the Capitol building, destroying valuable artifacts, and physically threatening senators and representatives. By contrast, the Tucker tapes show crowds inside the Capitol, walking quietly and respectfully through the building, taking selfies and being ignored by the police. There is no indication of violence or damage to property. To be sure, there is one tape that shows protesters climbing through a (presumably broken) window, but even there the protesters are clearly peaceful. 

Brian Sicknick: D.C. police officer Brian Sicknick was widely reported in the media as having been killed by the protesters, in one account as having been beaten to death with a fire extinguisher and in another as succumbing to a dose of bear spray. The Tucker tapes show Sicknick well after the alleged time of his murder walking through the Capitol building, alive and well. Although the D.C. coroner has determined that Sicknick died of natural causes, certain elements of the media still refer to his death as murder. 

Sen. Josh Hawley: By careful editing of the Jan. 6 footage, the Nancy Pelosi select committee on Jan. 6 was able to show Sen. Hawley fleeing by himself, by implication in terror of the protestors, through the Capitol building. During their show for reporters, the committee presented this footage as evidence of Hawley’s fear, to great laughter. The Tucker footage, however, shows the whole story and reveals the truth. Sen. Hawley was one of many senators and representatives being escorted by the Capitol police, as a precaution, away from the protesters. The Jan. 6 select committee’s use of a small portion of the footage to heap ridicule and get a laugh was unconscionable, but par for the course for that group. 

Ray Epps: Ray Epps has long been suspected, by MAGA adherents, to be an FBI informant/operative. He testified before the Jan. 6 select committee as to where he was and when he left the Capitol. The Tucker footage appears to show that he clearly lied. But this only brings up more questions and suspicions about this character and his association with the FBI. 

Since the Tucker footage goes counter to the Jan. 6 narrative that we have been hearing for several years, we might expect significant blowback and counter-argument. We might expect that counter-arguments would be punctuated by different footage leading to different conclusions or even different interpretations of the same footage. But no such counter-argument has been shown. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did take to the microphones the next day. But, typically for him, he presented no argument as to why Tucker’s footage might be inaccurate. Instead he simply screamed that the Carlson program was reprehensible, that it should never have been aired by Fox, and maybe Tucker and Fox should be taken off the air. Has he ever read the First Amendment or the Constitution he has sworn to defend?

Closer to home, in The Signal on March 8, columnist Gary Horton refers to Tucker Carlson as spinning a “Disneyfied” version of the Capitol insurrection. There are several problems with Horton’s reference. Firstly, an insurrection is defined as a violent uprising against a government. Despite Democrats and media telling us of the “insurrection” for years, there is scant evidence of violence and most of that reactive to police violence rather than against the government. The Tucker tapes show, at least in part, the peaceful nature of many protesters. Horton’s use of the term “Disneyfied” seems strange. Tucker merely showed actual footage of events. They were neither scripted nor cartoonish nor whatever other meaning Horton might have for “Disneyfied” and were certainly not “alternative facts” that Horton references. 

On March 15 (letters), Lois Eisenberg refers to “the scary, pitiful debacle of Tucker Carlson.” This is simply name-calling without argument or substance worthy of an elementary schoolyard. It would be more persuasive if, for example, Ms. Eisenberg would comment on what Jacob Chansley actually did per the real evidence presented rather than simply call people names. 

When Carlson signed off on March 6, he implied that he would be showing additional Jan. 6 footage on future programs. For as-yet-unspecified reasons, Tucker and Fox seem to have completely dropped the subject. Whether this is due to pressure exerted by Schumer or from elsewhere, or if the cause is otherwise, remains a mystery. Hopefully, current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will release all of the thousands of hours of Jan. 6 footage to the public so that millions of eyes can determine for themselves without media or other filters the truth of that day. Maybe then, some of the many questions can be answered.

John Weaver


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