Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Is Not Credible, White House Says After Jan. 6 Coverage

Reuters file photo
People pass by a promo of Fox News host Tucker Carlson on the News Corporation building in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019.

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) – The White House said on Wednesday that Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson “is not credible,” after the right-wing commentator showed footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol that portrayed rioters as peaceful.

“We agree with the chief of the Capitol Police and the wide range of bipartisan lawmakers who have condemned this false depiction of the unprecedented, violent attack on our Constitution and the rule of law – which cost police officers their lives,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

“We also agree with what Fox News’s own attorneys and executives have now repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law: that Tucker Carlson is not credible,” Bates added.

The Biden White House has tread carefully in its criticism of Fox’s coverage of the 2020 election and its aftermath in the past, sometimes citing the Hatch Act that prevents administration officials from speaking about campaign-related matters.

Carlson has defended his decision to run the footage, saying it was needed for transparency.

“Anyone could look at the tape and decide what he or she thinks of it,” he wrote in a piece on the Fox News website late on Tuesday.

In Monday’s coverage, Carlson argued that only a small number of those who illegally entered the Capitol as Congress was attempting to formally certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win were “hooligans,” and said the overwhelming majority were not.

“They were peaceful, they were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionists, they were sightseers,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday accused House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy of helping Fox News stoke conspiracy theories by providing the videos used by the cable network to depict the rioters as peaceful.

McCarthy said he had no regrets about his decision to release the footage, adding that it was done in the interests of transparency.

A Fox News spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the outcome of the 2020 elections.

Five people including a police officer died during or shortly after the riot and more than 140 police officers were injured. Then-Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress and staff ran for their lives amid the chaos.