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As you may have heard, this is the anniversary of January 6th, and in commemoration of that, we have donned the official network-approved solemn anchor outfit: white shirt, muted tie, message reverence. But actually, if you take three steps back as historical events go—if we’re being honest now—January 6th, barely rates as a footnote, really, not a lot happened that day. If you think about it, the presidential election was not overturned, the Capitol was not destroyed. The government wasn’t toppled. No matter what you may have heard, not a single elected official was injured, thank God. Police got shoved. Unfortunately, punches were thrown. But the only person who wound up dead from violence was an unarmed protester who was shot to death without warning by a cop. None of the so-called insurrectionists had guns. When was the last time you saw an insurrection like that?
So looking back, you could probably call what happened on January 6th a riot, we have called it that, but really only just a riot, maybe just barely. By recent standards, it was an embarrassingly tepid effort. No one even bothered to set a fire or spray paint slogans on the walls. So the question is why are we still talking about this? Why are our leaders obsessing over this event? For every single one of the last 365 days, the propaganda machine has been at 11, ginning up noise about January 6 to deafening levels, and it’s not stopping. In fact, after all this time, amazingly, the yelling is getting louder and wilder and still more disconnected from reality. Why are they doing this? Well, it’s not for voters. Look at the polls. Voters are not very interested in hearing about this anymore, and you can see why.
A year after the election it doesn’t make sense. It’s not relevant to their lives. Everyone agrees January 6 was ugly. But was it really a greater threat to America than, say, inflation? Than opening the southern border and admitting two million people whose identities we can’t confirm? Yeah, they tell us January 6 was scary. Reporters were very afraid. But was it as scary as what’s going on right now tonight in say, upscale shopping malls in Atlanta, where people are being shot to death in the parking lot? It was a crime, OK? Was it a greater crime in the manufactured drug epidemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans, mostly young people, in the last year? Probably not. And yet protesters who walked through the Capitol that day are still in jail tonight a year later. The Sackler family, the group that destroyed rural America with OxyContin, got off with a fine. They’re still billionaires and so on and so on.
So it’s a tough sell, telling normal people that this is a world–historic event. So why are they still saying that? There are reasons actually and we’re going to do our best to explain what those reasons are and what actually happened?
But first to today’s reaction, we begin with Kamala Harris, though never a master of subtlety, you will not be surprised that in her speech today, she bypassed the subtlety. In fact, Harris compared the events of January 6th to Pearl Harbor and then to 911. Did she really say that? You ask? Oh, yes, she did.
KAMALA HARRIS: Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them, where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault. // December 7th, 1941, September 11th, 2001 and January 6th, 2021.
Yeah. January 6th, it’s one of those indelible moments, one of those moments you can’t forget, like the birth of your first child, the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing, you’ve got to ask yourself, where were you when CNN claimed for the very first time that our democracy was under assault? Chances are you’re probably standing at an airport waiting to get on the plane and wishing to God someone would turn the sound down on the TV set bolted to the ceiling. Because it’s absurd, and so is what Harris said—it’s ridiculous. In fact, it’s so ridiculous, we’re not even going to bother to deconstruct it once again or attempt to refute it. It’s self-discrediting as if Kamala Harris could be further discredited.
But not to be outdone in the Hyperbole Olympics, her boss slash subordinate pick one, Joe Biden, decided to up the historical stakes, assuming that’s possible in a separate speech, which we’re not going to show tonight because it was awful and weird. Biden told the country that in fact, symbolically, January 6th was worse than the Civil War, the American Civil War. That would be the war that killed more than a million people. January 6th was worse than that because somebody held a naughty flag. It’s so far beyond parody at this point, it’s hard to know how to assess it. Where did this come from? Obviously, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris don’t write their own material. Neither one is capable of composing more than a bitchy text message with emojis. But some human beings sat down and typed those words and then read them on the screen. A speechwriter. And you wonder if that speechwriter felt shame as he did that. 9/11? Pearl Harbor? The Civil War? Your face will go red even thinking something like that.
But these people have no shame. And that definitely goes to the national media, they were out in force today. So in case you’re still wondering, after all these years if there is such a thing as a coordinated message campaign where someone gets on a call and says, here’s what we’re saying today for political effect, in case that’s even a question in your mind, we sat down with a pen today and counted as at least eight separate television anchors described January 6th as quote, “One of the darkest days in our history.” Exact same words. Now it’s not simply that they all love cliches because they’re dumb, though. Of course, that’s true. It’s the all said it together, as they always do, and this was on three separate TV networks that was there were more than three, but we finally felt sick and gave up watching. But it was MSNBC, as usual, that went all the way for the prize and grotesquery today. The Joy Reid network found a guy called Doug Brinkley—he’s one of those television historians who’s never actually written significant history of anything—to just come right out and compare January 6th to Auschwitz. You knew that was coming. Now, this is repulsive. But as historians, we feel duty–bound to show you what actually happened. Here is Doug Brinkley.
DOUG BRINKLEY: Liz Cheney has become our true profiles in courage. // She reminds us of brave Republicans in the past, like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, Margaret Chase Smith, John McCain. But we have film footage of what happened on January 6th. We have proof. Dwight Eisenhower during World War Two made sure all the Holocaust camps were filmed. So we’ve got the film footage. // January 6th has to be a crusade. That’s every day. As the New York Times op-ed said, every day is January 6th. // So we are in a real neo-civil war, and it’s a battle between democracy versus a kind of nativist authoritarianism.
We’re in a kind of civil war. But more specifically, we await the ADL’s furious statement condemning Doug Brinkley for trivializing genocide, which he just did. We’ll let you know when we get that statement. In the meantime, Doug Brinkley was right about one thing. There are an awful lot of images showing what happened inside the Capitol on January 6th. We don’t have to guess for the most part. I want to show one of them tonight because it’s frankly representative. Here’s the terrifying scene on the floor of the United States Senate as insurrectionists swept in.
HORN RIOTER: Hey, F——’ A, man, glad to see you guys, you guys are f—— patriots. Look at this guy, this guy is covered in blood, God bless you.
OFFICER: You good, sir? You need medical attention?
RIOTER 2: I’m good, thank you, I got shot in the face with some kind of plastic bullet.
OFFICER: Any chance I can get you guys to leave the Senate wing?
RIOTER 2: We will, I’ve been making sure they ain’t disrespecting the place.
OFFICER: O.K., I just want to let you guys know—this is, like, the sacredest place.
HORN RIOTER: I know, I know
So the guy with the flag at the back of the shot, that’s the QAnon Shaman, he’s doing years in prison for that and only that. But the most interesting line in that entire clip, which is you may have seen we got from the New Yorker, hardly a right–wing source, is what the armed police officer says in that exchange to the dangerous QAnon Shaman, who’s still rotting in prison. Quote, “Any chance I could get you guys to leave the Senate wing?” Any chance I could get you guys to leave the Senate wing—not even leave the building, just the Senate wing. Can you hear the terror in that officer’s voice?
There is also film of what you saw if you were watching the coverage live that day. If you’re watching January 6th unfold in real-time and you were probably like most people, no matter who you voted for, kind of shocked by it. Really, people swarming around the Capitol? That’s not good. But then you saw something pretty strange, you saw the police who were in charge of securing the perimeter, move aside the barricades and let the protesters or rioters or insurrectionists whatever you’re going to call them—a lot of people still in prison—let them in the building. So why did they do that?
Now we know conclusively, because an awful lot has been reported on it, much divulged by the U.S. government, that law enforcement authorities knew there was going to be a significant protest that day. And so they were prepared. Apparently, they had snipers with shoot-to-kill orders on standby. So why exactly where the protesters allowed in, welcomed in, by law enforcement? There may be a completely good reason for that. We’re not doubting that there is an honest explanation. We just don’t know what it is. No one has ever explained that. Liz Cheney, who has berated the country in the most self-righteous possible way for weeks, months now, telling us we need to get the bottom of exactly what happened—totally uninterested in finding out why that happened. Which everyone who was watching TV saw. And there are other questions that just don’t make sense. These are not conspiracy theories, these are sincere questions based on actual footage, we brought this up a couple of times.
There’s a man called Ray Epps, who was a longtime conservative activist. He was captured on camera at least three times, possibly more encouraging people on January 6th and the day before—January 6th Eve, January 5th—encouraging protesters to storm the Capitol.
Epps: Tomorrow we need to go into the Capitol! Into the Capitol! CROWD: What? No! Epps: Peacefully. Crowd: fed! Fed! Fed! Fed! // Epps: Ok folks, spread the word. As soon as the president is done speaking, we go to the Capitol. The Capitol is this direction
So that’s Ray Epps, again, we show that to you before Congressman Thomas Massie asked the attorney general, What’s that about? Is this guy going to be charged? Where is he? He was on the FBI’s most–wanted list. Now he’s not. Attorney general refused to answer the question. No one has answered the question again, there’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s a legitimate question. Why won’t they answer it and what’s the answer?
And then there’s this there are a number of people like this which could give you one other example. Now this man has been dubbed by internet sleuths as the scaffold commander. Now he was shot from a variety of different angles on videotape on January 6th, appearing to give orders to the crowd from an elevated position. There’s really no doubt if you watch the tapes and they’re all available online and if interested, you should that this guy was coordinating the movement of the crowd toward and into the United States Capitol. Now he’s caught directly on camera. There’s facial recognition software out there, probably not too hard to find out who this guy is. If FBI agents can fly to Alaska and hassle old ladies on Social Security because they were present, they can probably find this guy. And yet, as far as we know, this guy who clearly had some kind of management role that day has not been arrested, has not been charged or even publicly identified. What is that about?
Scaffold Commander: (on top of scaffolding yelling on a megaphone) Okay we’re in! We’re in! Come on! We gotta fill up the Capitol! Come on! Come now! We need help Come now we need help! We’re gonna fill up the Capitol. // (shows crowd near bleachers) Move forward, climb up over the wall. Get into those bleachers
So there he is, scaffold commander, commanding the crowd to break the law, exhorting them forward to break the law. There was the largest manhunt in American history conducted after this day, January 6th. We’re still talking about it, as noted a year later. And yet this guy is not only unidentified, no new authority seems interested in the slightest and finding out who he is and why is that?
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson’s opening commentary on the January 6, 2022, edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Tucker Carlson: Why are we still talking about this?