McCarthy Releases Unedited January 6 Tapes

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released thousands of hours of raw footage from the events on Jan. 6, 2021, to Fox News journalist Tucker Carlson. Conservative activists hope that the move will settle lingering questions from that day.

McCarthy turned over 41,000 hours of footage to Carlson, who has been skeptical of the assertions of Democrats and many in the media that the events that day were an insurrection.

Carlson described that day as an “outbreak of mob violence, a forgettably minor outbreak by recent standards.” He argued that media attention has been disproportionate on the events of that day, especially versus the coverage of rioting during much of 2020.

The House Speaker took an unprecedented step by releasing the unedited tape from the event itself. The open records policy of McCarthy may prove crucial in understanding what happened that day.

In particular, Carlson has argued that the events on Jan. 6 were not an insurrection. Carlson argued that the events were due to a protest surrounding the 2020 presidential election and not an armed revolt.

The sharing of the tapes may have several major political implications. First, the ability for a third party to review and release portions of the tapes will likely give the public a more complete view of what was happening on the Capitol during that day.

Secondly, the release signals a break in recent precedent among House Speakers. By allowing more open access to the records, it is entirely plausible that McCarthy will enable Carlson to tell his side of the events of that day.

There is still a need for more openness, according to conservative activists. There are a number of records and timelines that are still not clear from that day.

Former President Trump has asked several times why then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not call in the National Guard. Documents released by the Department of Defense appear to back many of the former president’s assertions.

Furthermore, to media figures such as Carlson, there is a need for a more thorough investigation into the origins of the events in and around the Capitol on that day. For Carlson, the work of the Jan. 6 Congressional committee is incomplete, at best.

McCarthy’s release of the tapes from that day could be a watershed moment not only for public understanding of the course of events on Jan 6 but also a valuable precedent for government openness.