Uproar as Fox News host Tucker Carlson gets Jan 6 videos

Speaker Kevin McCarthy has sparked outrage by handing thousands of hours of footage of the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 to Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Mr Carlson announced Monday that his staff has already been reviewing the up to 41,000 hours of footage for a week.

“Some of our smartest producers have been looking at this stuff and trying to figure out what it means and how it contradicts or not the story we’ve been told for more than two years,” Mr Carlson said. “We think already in some ways that it does contradict that story.”

Mr McCarthy’s decision to give the footage to Mr Carlson is controversial for a number of reasons. Over the last two years, access to footage of the January 6 attack has been restricted to select members of Congress and lawyers for the rioters accused of criminal behavior.

Media members had not previously been granted access to the footage — and Mr Carlson is not just any media member. A leading figure on the far right, Mr Carlson has repeatedly defended the instigators of the Capitol riot and suggested that rioteres were set up by federal agencies.

Mr Carlson has also routinely trumpeted white supremacist conspiracy theories like the Great Replacement Theory on his show, arguing that white people are being systematically replaced by non-white immigrants.

The release of the tapes of the riot has been a priority of far right Republican House members like Rep Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Mr McCarthy promised to release the tapes of the attack as part of his bid to become Speaker — opening the door for another round of political combat about what happened on January 6 and who was responsible.

“I was asked in the press about these tapes, and I said they do belong to the American public,” Mr McCarthy told The New York Times. “I think sunshine lets everybody make their own judgment.”

Giving the tapes to one right wing outlet, however, may impair the public’s ability to make its own judgement. Rep Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader, argued that the decision to release the tapes represents a security breach.

“The apparent transfer of video footage represents an egregious security breach that endangers the hardworking women and men of the United States Capitol Police, who valiantly defended our democracy with their lives at risk on that fateful day,” Mr Jeffries said in a statement.

Rep Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the man who co-chair the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan 6 Attack and is now the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement that Mr McCarthy must address the “significant security concerns at stake” with the release of the footage.

“It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were to be used irresponsibly,” Mr Thompson said.