Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 Series Is His Most Nakedly Fascist Piece Of Propaganda Yet

Tucker Carlson’s “Patriot Purge,” a revisionist historical past of the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, clocks in at an simply binge-watchable 70 minutes, unfold over three episodes. It’s produced with the aesthetics and narrative suspense of an motion thriller. The good guys are the “patriots” who stormed the Capitol. The unhealthy guys are these within the media and authorities who’re persecuting them. “The left is hunting the right,” Carlson warns his viewers.

It is probably the most nakedly fascist piece of propaganda Carlson has ever produced. And it comes at a harmful second: The rebellion is on its strategy to turning into as noble an enterprise because the Boston Tea Party for giant elements of the American proper.

Former President Donald Trump is laying clear groundwork to totally embrace the occasions of Jan. 6, which he now calls “a very beautiful time,” throughout his potential upcoming presidential marketing campaign. He claimed final month that “The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” and has repeated the sentiment throughout latest rallies.

Trump additionally defended the chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” throughout an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl. His valorization of the rebellion try is having a downstream impact on your complete Republican Party: Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) declined over the weekend to criticize Trump for defending these bloodthirsty chants.

And now, Carlson, via this three-part “documentary” in addition to his nightly top-rated prime-time present on Fox News, is taking the argument to the lots.

Nicole Hemmer, creator of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics,” described “Patriot Purge” as “an overarching fantasy about the insurrection that goes like this: It was not an insurrection,” she wrote for CNN. “To the extent there was violence, it was stirred up by members of the government and left-wing agitators. All of it was orchestrated so that the full force of federal law enforcement could be unleashed against Trump supporters, marking them as enemies of the state.”

Carlson’s rebellion agitprop sparked an analogous wave of warnings from many specialists on fascism and misinformation: Propaganda like this, they argued, might someday render the stunning occasions of Jan. 6 as a mere preview of the right-wing violence to come back.

A White Nationalist Whitewash

“Patriot Purge” is deeply conversant with far-right mythologies about Jan. 6 and broader fantasies about supposed persecution of far-right teams by the federal authorities. That’s not shocking, contemplating who labored on the collection: Carlson co-wrote “Patriot Purge” with a person who beforehand produced white nationalist motion pictures, and the collection counts two white nationalists amongst its protagonists.

Carlson’s narration is shot via with coded terminology: In the primary episode, he describes the arrest of Jan. 6 rioters because the precursor to a “purge” of “legacy Americans.”

Darren Beattie is the primary particular person interviewed in “Patriot Purge,” warning the viewer that “the domestic war on terror is here. It’s coming after half the country.”

Beattie made headlines in 2018 after he was compelled out of the Trump White House when CNN revealed he’d spoken at a white supremacist convention. Since then, Beattie has overtly allied himself with white supremacists — most notably Nick Fuentes — ceaselessly selling them on-line. He as soon as tweeted, “If white people are targeted as a group, they must learn to defend themselves as a group.”

None of this background is talked about in “Patriot Purge.” Instead, Carlson says merely: “Darren Beattie, of Revolver News, is one of the few in media who’s done real reporting on what actually happened on Jan. 6.”

Elsewhere, “security analyst” J. Michael Waller is trotted out in Episode 1 to make the baseless declare that the violence on Jan. 6 was a “political warfare operation” orchestrated by “agent provocateurs.” Though Carlson mentions that Waller works for the Center for Security Policy, it goes unmentioned that the group is likely one of the foremost anti-Muslim teams within the nation.

Sliding these excessive voices into the present with the patina of experience is in keeping with how Carlson routinely smuggles white nationalist speaking factors into the mainstream through his nightly cable present. For “Patriot Purge,” he had some further assist.

The co-writer for the docuseries is a person named Scooter Downey, who directed motion pictures for white nationalists earlier than becoming a member of Fox Nation as a author. As reported by The Daily Beast, Downey directed a documentary referred to as “Crossfire” starring Lauren Southern, the Canadian alt-right activist greatest identified for teaming up with European neo-fascists on a merciless mission to cease boats from rescuing refugees stranded within the Mediterranean.

Downey has additionally directed a live-action film referred to as “Rebel’s Run” based mostly on a comic book e-book written by Theodore Robert Beale, aka Vox Day, an alt-right artist who as soon as wrote that “Western civilization” rests on “white tribalism, white separatism, and especially white Christian masculine rule.”

Interview With An Insurrectionist

There’s a clumsy, in the end untenable pressure on the coronary heart of “Patriot Purge”: The core argument that Jan. 6 may need been a “false flag” operation orchestrated by the left is superior by deeply unreliable narrators — the very individuals who deliberate the rally or took half within the Capitol invasion within the title of Trump and who’ve a vested curiosity in absolving themselves of that day’s occasions.

The collection is ALSO determined to exonerate all the Trump supporters in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, and the broader MAGA motion, for the horrifying violence of the siege. It was all a “set-up,” Carlson says. He blames antifa, agent provocateurs and the FBI individually for orchestrating the assault, all as a pretext for what he portrays as a brutal state crackdown.

Elijah Schaefer, a number for the far-right conspiracy web site Blaze TV, declares at one level in “Patriot Purge” that “January 6th was a honey pot,” utilizing the time period for a entice arrange by legislation enforcement. “They’re going to use this event for every bit of political persecution they can milk out of it.”

But Schaefer himself entered the Capitol constructing on Jan. 6, tweeting out movies and cheering on the riot. “BREAKING: I am inside Nancy Pelosi’s office with the thousands of revolutionaries who have stormed the building,” he tweeted. “To put into perspective how quickly staff evacuated, emails are still on the screen alongside a federal alert warning members of the current revolution.”

Schaefer later deleted the tweet and different posts that implicated him within the riot, claiming to have been contained in the constructing as a reporter.

Perhaps probably the most galling look, given all of the false flag insinuations, is Ali Alexander, the chief of the anti-democratic “Stop the Steal” motion who actually organized the rally that was the rebellion. He was just lately subpoenaed by Congress for his function in organizing Jan. 6, and infamously stood on a rooftop in Washington that day, observing the storming of the Capitol, saying to the digicam: “I don’t disavow this.”

In “Patriot Purge,” Alexander complains to Carlson that he’s beneath surveillance and receiving dying threats. He ludicrously says that “Stop the Steal” is “the most law-abiding movement that this country has seen in modern times,” and insists he by no means meant for the rally to get violent.

It is Alexander’s most intensive interview so far — although not a remotely adversarial one — and Carlson naturally papers over Alexander’s deep ties to right-wing extremism. He doesn’t point out that Alexander has lengthy related to open white nationalists, in addition to misogynist and Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich and far-right determine Jack Posobiec, who the Southern Poverty Law Center says “has collaborated with white supremacists, neo-fascists and antisemites for years.”

Other contributors within the riot, if they don’t seem to be actively calling it a false flag occasion, are given very sympathetic interviews. Take Richard Barnett, who tells Carlson “I’m absolutely a political prisoner,” throughout the third episode. “What else could I be?”

Barnett is a self-described white nationalist (which matches unmentioned) who was famously photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s workplace, his ft propped up on a desk.

Richard Barnett sits inside the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Richard Barnett sits contained in the workplace of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi contained in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

SAUL LOEB through Getty Images

Actively rehabilitating these distinguished Jan. 6 rioters units off alarm bells for extremism researchers and those that examine political violence.

“Downplaying [extremists’] role in Jan. 6 really only raises the risks of further political violence in the U.S.,” Roudabeh Kishi, analysis director on the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, advised HuffPost this week.

Kishi stated that within the months instantly following Jan. 6, right-wing extremist teams — together with the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and America First “groypers” — “were going to ground” and weren’t very lively, undoubtedly apprehensive about reprisals for his or her function within the rebellion.

But in latest months, Kishi stated, there’s been an uptick in exercise by these teams, who appear to be constructing new alliances throughout the best, turning up at anti-vaccine rallies or at college board conferences to protest “critical race theory.”

And why not? If they averted authorized penalties — and in Barnett’s case, even when they didn’t — it’s clear that highly effective forces are blissful to revive their reputations. Many of those extremists are buoyed by Carlson and the right-wing noise machine’s efforts to rehabilitate their picture, to remake them into “political prisoners” or martyrs.

Something Worse Than Jan. 6

The billionaire house owners of Fox Corporation — Rupert Murdoch and his son, Lachlan — would very very similar to you to look at this collection, commercial-free, by subscribing to their digital streaming service Fox Nation for simply $5.99 a month.

Produced as a part of a contract Carlson signed earlier this 12 months, “Patriot Purge” was designed to draw new subscribers to Fox Nation, which the Murdochs see as the way forward for their media empire. (It’s additionally a platform conveniently freed from any strain from advertisers who object to excessive political content material.) That they’re prepared to hawk vile lies and bigotry for revenue will not be information. But Patriot Purge marks an escalation, even for the Murdochs, at an particularly fraught second in American historical past. (Fox News and Fox Nation didn’t reply to a request for remark for this text.)

Nikki McCann Ramirez, a senior researcher at Media Matters, is likely one of the foremost chroniclers of Carlson’s extremism and lies. “Patriot Purge,” she wrote just lately, is actually a “repackaging” of the “InfoWars-style” conspiracy-mongering about Jan. 6 that he’s pushed on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” over the past 12 months.

On his cable present, Carlson is usually restricted to speaking into the digicam, however in “Patriot Purge,” he will get to play with “lens flares, overwhelming graphic imagery” and a “sound effect budget big enough to make Michael Bay jealous,” Ramirez wrote.

The alleged “purge” focusing on conservative Americans — to date, largely misdemeanor fees in opposition to tons of of people that stormed the Capitol — is in comparison with “any kind of torture porn imagery Fox News could find in its archives,” Ramirez noticed. “Viewers are treated to montages of waterboarding, terrorist attacks, an ISIS beheading, drone strikes, and even comparisons of the arrest of Jan. 6 rioters to de-Baathification in Iraq.”

Episode 2 ends with a video clip of somebody being hung. The message is evident: this type of state violence will likely be visited upon you, the nice patriotic viewer, very quickly, until one thing is finished.

None of the conspiracy theories the collection peddles are true, in fact, and crumble beneath the slightest little bit of scrutiny. But Hemmer argues that “Patriot Purge” is unconcerned with reality, regardless of Carlson’s claims on the contrary. Carlson advised “Fox & Friends” the collection was “rock-solid factually.”

“Patriot Purge,” Hemmer wrote, is “politically, historically and logically confused, but its point isn’t to make sense, or to stand up to critical scrutiny. The point is to convince watchers that the insurrectionists are victims and government is the enemy.”

Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to interrupt into the House chamber, is a central character. “Patriot Purge” elevates Babbitt right into a martyr, and her dying is proven in graphic element on the finish of Episode 1. Trump himself has additionally undertaken a mission to make Babbitt right into a martyr, assembly typically along with her household, demanding that the police officer who shot her be named, after which when the officer got here ahead, suggesting that he be arrested.

Melody Black visits a memorial near the U.S. Capitol Building for Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a police officer after breaking into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Melody Black visits a memorial near the U.S. Capitol Building for Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a police officer after breaking into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Joe Raedle through Getty Images

Jason Stanley — philosophy professor at Yale University and the creator of the books “How Propaganda Works” and “How Fascism Works” — sees a transparent historic parallel in how the best has turned Babbitt right into a hero. “Babbitt’s assigned role is familiar to anyone who has seen or studied Twentieth Century fascist propaganda,” he wrote in an op-ed for Rolling Stone. “Honoring the memory of the martyr is to worship the leader, and give all in the quest to defeat his enemies and place him as the leader of the nation.”

Babbitt’s personal extremism — she subscribed to the QAnon conspiracy motion — goes unmentioned in “Patriot Purge,” as does the extremism of nearly each particular person interviewed or held up as a “patriot.”

Ultimately, Carlson and Downey’s deliberate erasure of the extremism of the folks in “Patriot Purge” might have harmful penalties.

“In an environment in which the same right-wing ‘patriots’ who attacked the Capitol and condoned it afterwards have been shouting for a ‘civil war’ waged against their political opponents — and in which some of them are now wondering aloud ‘when do we get to use the guns’ so ‘we can start killing these people’— this kind of propaganda is akin to throwing napalm onto a bonfire,” wrote David Neiwert, creator of “Alt-America: The Rise Of The Radical Right In The Age Of Trump” in a latest column for The Daily Kos.

Neiwert argued that the central message of “Patriot Purge” — {that a} tyrannical authorities goes to focus on, incarcerate and probably kill conservatives — might result in one other Jan. 6, or one thing even worse.

“It is impossible to accept this message in total without taking it to justify violent mass action against the current government, or something like a police and military coup,” Neiwert wrote.