Key moments from part one of Tucker's pro-insurrection propaganda reel, “Patriot Purge”
Episode 1 featured familiar talking points from Carlson's Fox News show – but also more from Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander
Fox Nation has released the first part of Patriot Purge, Tucker Carlson’s white supremacist propaganda reel defending the rioters who violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The episode features a menagerie of extremists and misinformers who are using the Murdoch media megaphone to advance conspiracy theories whitewashing the events of an attempted coup.
Backlash to the special started when the trailer was released last week. Fox contributor Geraldo Rivera spoke out against Carlson’s lie that January 6 was a “false flag,” and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the “false narrative and wild conspiracy theories presented by Carlson will sow further division and has the potential to animate violence” and called on Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch to “reconsider airing this program.”
Fox has made pathetically flimsy attempts to shirk responsibility for its own programming by pointing out you have to pay to watch Tucker Carlson Originals because it’s on Fox’s subscription streaming service Fox Nation, as if that somehow makes it less offensive. But “Patriot Purge” is also all over Fox News; the network aired the trailer and even brought Carlson on Fox & Friends to promote it
Here are the notable moments from episode one.
Carlson uses a deranged montage to imply the Biden administration wants to put Trump supporters in Guantanamo Bay
The special opens by juxtaposing video from the worst of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” with the response to the January 6 riot, overlaying soundbites from Tucker’s guests with images from Guantanamo Bay, file footage of FBI raids, and a tracking shot of what appears to be Arlington National Cemetery.
It then launches into an interview with Darren Beattie, founder of the conspiracy theory site Revolver News, who is best known for getting fired from the Trump White House after it was revealed he attended a white nationalist conference.
“Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander fraudulently absolves himself of guilt
Ali Alexander, the far-right provocateur who previously bragged that he “was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea” and refused to disavow the insurrection as it unfolded, used the Fox Nation show to try to shirk responsibility. He complained about losing his online platform and said that his “life has been torn apart” due to the consequences of his own actions. He also provided Carlson with “never before aired tape of a January 6 planning session” to try to characterize his efforts as peaceful.
He also falsely characterized “Stop the Steal” as a bipartisan movement and “the most law-abiding movement that this country has seen in modern times.”
These claims bely his own threats of a violent uprising from the lead-up to January 6. From Politico:
At one rally in mid-December in Arizona, he told the crowd, “One of our organizers in one state said, ‘We’re nice patriots, we don’t throw bricks.’ I leaned over and I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet!’ Haven’t you read about a little tar-and-feathering? Those were second-degree burns!”
Alexander also said: “We’re going to convince them to not certify the vote on January 6 by marching hundreds of thousands, if not millions of patriots, to sit their butts in D.C. and close that city down, right? And if we have to explore options after that … ‘yet.’ Yet!”
Carlson’s guests push conspiracy theories that January 6 was a set-up executed by antifa or other “troublemakers”
Carlson’s special featured other far-right media personalities who attempted to deflect blame from the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol.
J. Michael Waller of the Center for Security Policy, a far-right anti-immigrant think tank, falsely claimed that “January 6 was a political warfare operation” instigated by “cadres of agents provocateur and other troublemakers.” Waller’s previous claims the riot was initiated by non-Trump supporters was debunked in The Washington Post after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) quoted him during a Senate hearing in March.
In another clip, The Gateway Pundit’s Taylor Hansen claimed he “saw multiple agitators changing clothes” overlaid with a clip of a man putting on a sweatshirt as if this is evidence that it wasn’t Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol, adding that “in the initial phase it was changing from black bloc” — referring to antifa — “into Trump gear right before it all started.”
TheBlaze’s Elijah Schaffer also claimed the crowd was “peaceful” when the vastly outnumbered U.S. Capitol police force responded in a way that “riled up the crowd,” and Hansen said the police action “made the crowd angry enough to actually push up the stairs.” The three dubiously blame, or seem to blame, the police’s defense of the building for the actions of the violent mob.
Carlson’s special is part of his reward for a career driven by white supremacist ideas that he started dabbling in back in the early 2000s and dramatically accelerated during his time at Fox. The special only illuminates the absurdity of Lachlan Murdoch’s claim that the company is targeting “the center right” of Americans. In fact, Murdoch, Carlson’s most important ally, is hinging the entire company’s growth strategy on Trump and Carlson. And the hard-core “Fox superfan” willing to pay extra for Fox Nation will buy every lie in the “Patriot Purge” series hook, line, and sinker, leading to further radicalization. We can expect more of the same in parts two and three.