The White House has criticized Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson for showing footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that portrayed rioters as peaceful. In response, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates stated that Carlson "is not credible," and added that the false depiction of the violent attack cost police officers their lives. The Biden administration has been cautious in its criticism of Fox News in the past, but has condemned Carlson's false portrayal of the attack.
Carlson has defended his decision to show the footage, claiming that it was necessary for transparency. In a piece published on the Fox News website, he argued that viewers could make their own decisions about the footage. During his coverage on Monday, Carlson argued that the majority of those who illegally entered the Capitol were peaceful and not insurrectionists.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has accused House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of helping Fox News promote conspiracy theories by providing the network with the videos used to depict the rioters as peaceful. McCarthy defended his decision to release the footage, stating that it was done in the interests of transparency.
The attack on the Capitol occurred on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people, including a police officer, and injuries to more than 140 police officers. Members of Congress and their staff were forced to flee for their lives during the chaos.
The Biden administration has previously treaded carefully in its criticism of Fox News, citing the Hatch Act, which prevents administration officials from speaking about campaign-related matters. However, the administration has condemned Carlson's false depiction of the attack, joining a wide range of bipartisan lawmakers and the chief of the Capitol Police in doing so.
Fox News has not yet commented on the matter.