Fox Nation is airing a Tucker Carlson documentary that promotes the conspiracy theory that government agents sparked the uprising.
Fox Nation, Fox News’ streaming service, has released the first instalment of a Tucker Carlson documentary that claims the Jan. 6 insurgency at the Capitol was escalated with the involvement of the US government.
The first episode of the three-part series “Patriot Purge” became available for viewing on Monday, despite opposition from the Anti-Defamation League and reporting from Fox News’ Washington bureau that questions Carlson’s entire premise. Fox News aired trailers for “Patriot Purge,” titled “The True Story Behind 1/6.”
Carlson, the top-rated Fox News personality known for his inflammatory commentary, said in the documentary that “federal agencies have a long history of entangling Americans in manufactured plots,” and that the Jan. 6 event — which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer — began as a peaceful protest demanding “election integrity” until the crowds were provoked into violence.
According to Fox News journalists, there is no evidence of any such FBI involvement.
While Fox News is known for giving its opinion hosts a lot of leeway when it comes to discussing issues, which can sometimes lead to misinformation, the Carlson documentary appears to be particularly egregious. A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment on the programme.
The programme goes on to say that the Jan. 6 incidents are being used by law enforcement to persecute former President Trump’s supporters, claiming that “the left is hunting the right.”
The documentary’s content reflects Carlson’s previously debunked conspiracy theory about the FBI’s involvement in the riots, which he previously presented on his nightly Fox News show.
Carlson is given a wide berth to present his views on Fox News. Fox News lawyers successfully argued in defending a defamation lawsuit brought against the network last year that no “reasonable viewer” would take Carlson’s comments seriously.
Fox News aired a segment on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Friday about the ongoing congressional investigation into the insurgency. It featured an interview with Marc Polymeropoulos, a former veteran CIA officer who dismissed the notion that the events of January 6 were a “false flag” operation. The term was used in a trailer for Carlson’s series.
“One of the things with false flag operations as well, is sometimes it’s used by conspiracy theorists to actually hide the truth,” Polymeropoulos explained. “Pretty far-fetched, in no way was January 6th a false flag operation.”
Congress has been looking into evidence that former President Trump resisted calls to disperse demonstrators on Jan. 6 from Republican lawmakers and his own advisors, and that his lawyer continued to urge Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results while the insurgency was taking place. In a speech that morning, Trump encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol.
Critics were outraged even by the trailer for Carlson’s programme, which aired during prime time on Fox News.
In a letter last week to Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News parent company Fox Corp., Anti-Defamation League Chief Executive Jonathan Greenblatt called Carlson’s series “an abject, indisputable lie and blatant attempt to rewrite history” and asked that it not be aired.
Carlson’s show was also chastised last week by Fox News colleague Geraldo Rivera, who slammed it on Twitter and in an interview with the New York Times. “I’m probably going to get in trouble for this,” Rivera said in the interview, “but I’m wondering how much is done to provoke, rather than illuminate.”
Carlson did promote the documentary series on Fox News’ morning show “Fox & Friends” on Monday.
Carlson and the staff who put together his nightly prime time programme produce and write “Patriot Purge.” There are no Fox News reporters involved in the production.
The programme, which appears to be a half-hour political ad with dozens of rapid-fire edits of news footage, is only available on Fox Nation, a streaming service described by Fox News Media as a “entertainment and lifestyle programming” service that caters to conservative viewers with true crime shows and patriotically themed documentaries.
According to analyst estimates, Fox Nation has more than 1 million subscribers who pay a monthly fee for the commercial-free service. Unlike Tucker Carlson’s prime-time Fox News show, which has seen an exodus of major sponsors who do not want to be associated with his views, the streaming platform is not subject to advertiser pressure.