If you’re wondering whether the words “false flag” come up, the answer is yes.
I suppose it shouldn’t be a complete shock that Tucker Carlson, the modern Father Coughlin and chief white nationalist sympathizer for Fox News, has thrown his considerable broadcasting weight behind the violent mix of racists, anti-government militias, and conspiracy-addled Trump cultists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. It’s not as if Carlson’s been exactly shy about embracing — and encouraging — the most volatile elements of former President Trump’s core base.
Still, even by the already revolting standards Tucker has spent years establishing for himself, his latest project seems as jarring as it does dangerous. Late Wednesday, he released a trailer for a sensationalized documentary (the term being loosely applied here) that promises to tell the “true story” of the Trump-instigated insurrection against the United States Congress earlier this year.
Like most things Tucker, the bombast and sensationalism of the program’s tone covers a partial truth upon which he maliciously builds his nativist ramblings: It is, indeed, an established fact that the “war on terror” has created a vast, unchecked national security infrastructure that regularly violates the privacy and rights of American citizens.
It’s just that where Carlson takes that undeniable truth is what makes this forthcoming documentary so dangerous. Nestled within the inchoate barrage of images and video clips in his trailer is the unmistakable thrum of this message: You patriotic, gun-humping, freedom-loving, presumably white, Christian Americans, are being hunted down by the big bad Democrats. What’s more, he not so subtly insinuates, there’s nothing the Democrats in power won’t do to target you, including faking the insurrection at the Capitol. Never mind that the graphics he uses are so varied as to be rendered largely meaningless — the KKK! Osama Bin Laden! Trump voters! — the message they create in total is clear: You are the victim, and violence is a viable response.
While insurrection truthers have been around for as long as, well, the insurrection itself, Carlson’s “investigation” offers the patina of corporate legitimacy to the sort of fringe lunacy that would in a perfect world necessitate a wellness check from concerned family members. The program will, if nothing else, offer a rallying point around which the very same militia members, racists, and other anti-government groups who participated in the insurrection will re-energize themselves.
Like I said, it’s hardly surprising that Carlson has gone all-in on this sort of seditionist agitation. It’s not like he had anywhere else to take his carefully calculated brand of racist jingoism. But his forthcoming movie marks a significant escalation of that already dangerous trajectory. The only question is: How many more people will suffer as a result of his latest bout of “journalism”?