Tucker Carlson is clearly a hate figure in the offices of PolitiFact. Over the years, this is his “Truth-O-Meter” record: one “Mostly True,” one “Half True,” and 26 “Mostly False” or worse ratings (five “Mostly False, twelve “False” and NINE “Pants On Fire“).
Now compare that to the other cable hosts in his hour. Chris Hayes, who’s hosted an MSNBC show since 2011, has one “True” and one “Half True” (that one from 2011). CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who’s had a prime-time show from the founding of PolitiFact in 2007….doesn’t have a page! That’s zero “fact checks.”
Unsurprisingly, the latest “Pants On Fire” from PolitiFact takes Carlson’s January 6 riot videos, specifically the footage of the “Q-Anon Shaman” Jacob Chansley wandering the halls of the Capitol facing no visible resistance from police. Carlson said they basically acted as “tour guides” — mocking the appearance without audio.
Tucker Carlson claimed that Capitol Police officers acted as “tour guides” for “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. That’s Pants on Fire! https://t.co/2th41j8HjT
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) March 9, 2023
PolitiFact’s Madison Czopek makes the point that what you don’t hear is that the cops were trying to get Chansley to vacate the premises. “Capitol Police officers repeatedly asked Chansley and other rioters to leave the Capitol building, according to the plea agreement.”
She added reaction from Tom Manger, who took over the Capitol Police after the riot.
In an internal department memo, Manger, the Capitol Police chief, said Carlson’s claim that officers helped the rioters and acted as tour guides was “outrageous and false.”
Manger denounced Carlson’s program and contested Carlson’s assertion that the network had reached out to Capitol Police for context before airing the segment.
“Tour guides” is an exaggeration — like, well, calling the riot a “deadly insurrection” — but you won’t get a “Pants On Fire” for that. PolitiFact has been extremely aggressive at any conservative attempts to downplay the riot — or make the point that many “rioters” were charged with “parading,” not violent offenses.
Carlson was underlining that Chansley was non-violent, even if he wanted “justice” (whatever that means) for Mike Pence. “If he was in fact committing such a grave crime, why didn’t the officers who were standing right next to him place him under arrest?” Why did they throw the book at non-violent Chansley with a 44-month jail sentence? Because he was “the face” of the riot.
Meanwhile, Chris Hayes doesn’t fear a fact check when he says The New York Times is “not a liberal paper.” Anderson Cooper doesn’t have to worry when he says Tucker Carlson would have wet his pants if he was in the middle of the riot, because he’s “somebody who has never put himself in harm’s way in any capacity for anyone else.” That kind of mockery is acceptable. Cooper is a golden boy at PolitiFact.