This week House Speaker Kevin McCarthy released over 40,000 hours of unseen-by-the-public video from inside the Capitol, all of it taken on January 6, 2021.
McCarthy gave it to Fox’s Tucker Carlson, who promptly had his team going through all of it. Then he ran chunks of it on multiple nights of his show at the beginning of the week.
The so-called “news media” and their Democrat allies went ballistic.
Here are a sampling of media headlines:
NBC: Tucker Carlson, with video provided by Speaker McCarthy, falsely depicts Jan. 6 riot as a peaceful gathering.
The Washington Post: Capitol Police chief blasts Tucker Carlson over ‘misleading’ Jan. 6 footage
HuffPost: Tucker Carlson Cherry-Picks Jan. 6 Footage To Deny There Was Any Insurrection
The New York Times: White House Rebukes Tucker Carlson Over Portrayal of Jan. 6 Attack
Not to be left out, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor to demand Tucker’s show be taken off the air rather than be allowed by Fox to run the footage. Fox refused.
But why all the heated furor from the media? This is supposedly the “news media” -- and what McCarthy released to Tucker and what was shown on Tucker’s show was, if nothing else, indisputably news.
There is an answer to this frenzied craziness. And it should be -- but won’t be -- a source of concern for actual real journalists.
The answer is as simple as it is disturbing. The release of these hours of unseen-by-the-public video from inside the Capitol on January 6 destroys the media and liberal narrative of a “deadly insurrection” inside the Capitol. Was there violence that day? Yes -- there was in fact a riot. But the same media outlets that stood in front of riotous fires in 2020 and mouthed "mostly peaceful" and "not unruly" will refuse to accept that many of the people entering the Capitol that day were not violent.
Notably the media had focused tons of attention on the admittedly bizarre “Shaman”, an ex-Navy guy named Jacob Chansley. Chansley was famously half-naked, his face painted, his head adorned with a headdress bearing two horns. Chansley was arrested, and is currently serving a nearly four-year prison sentence.
Yet the video now released shows Chansley simply walking around the Capitol -- peacefully. He appears to be accompanied by Capitol Police officers, as many as nine at one time. At no point is he seen committing violence, and in fact is shown in the Senate chamber offering a prayer of thanks to the police.
Should Chansley have been there? Of course not. But the problem for the media is that having painted the entire day as one of mass violence, including inside the Capitol, video showing no such thing from Chansley is not acceptable. And therefore the public has no business seeing something that challenges the liberal narrative.
This problem involves far more than the issue of what the January 6 newly released videos show. This pattern of a media being driven by narrative instead of news - a liberal narrative always - is all too frequently evident.
Other examples abound.
There was the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. There was the climate-change-is-killing-the- planet narrative. And don't forget the-Republicans-are-racist "Jim Crow 2.0" narrative. Or you must take the vaccine or you will kill granny narrative. And there are more examples out there. Don’t forget the evil, racist police must be defunded narrative. Or the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to ban books narrative.
There is, of course, a pattern in doing this. It goes like this.
X event happens. The media pounce. But instead of just reporting “X has happened”, the media sets about creating a liberal narrative to explain X.
Hence, the bizarre chantings of Jacob Chansley becomes an insurrection. Trump had made a trip to Russia for his business but what he was really doing was colluding with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Which in turn means he wants to end democracy. A hurricane hits Florida, as hurricanes frequently do and have been doing for decades? It’s climate change working on the end of the planet, and unless Americans give up gas-fueled cars in favor of electric cars the planet is done for. A bad cop is caught on video getting rough with a citizen in such a fashion that the citizen dies? All police are evil and racist and should be defunded. DeSantis thinks children’s books in school libraries should not contain pornography and be age appropriate? Then he is about banning books.
On and on - and on and on - goes this pattern.
And woe betide anyone who dares to challenge the narrative of the moment. They will be attacked relentlessly, as Tucker Carlson was this week. Because any dissent endangers the narrative.
Thus this past week the threat to the liberal media narrative of January 6 meant there had to be a relentless attack on Tucker Carlson and Fox News. As Chuck Schumer demanded, Fox was supposed to literally remove Tucker from the air - censor him to stop him from questioning what has become a favorite liberal media narrative.
America is a long, long way from a news media devoted to “just the facts” journalism. Today it is all about the liberal narrative of the moment. And woe betide anyone who has the nerve to disagree with that narrative.
And the chances of the media going back to what it once was all about -- the straight news?
At least at this moment in time - none. The “narrative media” appears to be here to stay. And that’s a fact.