News outlets demand release of Jan. 6 footage given to Tucker Carlson

In this March 2, 20217, file photo, Tucker Carlson, host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Files)

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., leaves the House Chamber after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington. Thousands of hours of surveillance footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack are being made available to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. It’s a stunning level of access granted by McCarthy that is raising new questions about the House Republican leader’s commitment to transparency, oversight and safety at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Supporters loyal to President Donald Trump storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, Files)

Scores of news organizations – including The Washington Post – on Friday demanded congressional leaders release a trove of surveillance footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol that the House speaker provided exclusively to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has downplayed the violence.

Attorney Charles Tobin sent a letter on behalf of CBS News, CNN, Politico, ProPublica, ABC, Axios, Advance, Scripps, the Los Angeles Times and Gannett, arguing that the footage should be available to other groups as well.

“Without full public access to the complete historical record, there is concern that an ideologically-based narrative of an already polarizing event will take hold in the public consciousness, with destabilizing risks to the legitimacy of Congress, the Capitol Police, and the various federal investigations and prosecutions of Jan. 6 crimes,” the letter stated.

The Post is part of another coalition of news outlets, which includes the Associated Press and the New York Times, that sent a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy seeking access to the material.

Carlson, the most watched prime-time host on Fox News, has yet to air the unseen footage given to him by McCarthy, R-Calif.

On Monday, he said his producers had “unfettered” access to about 44,000 hours of security footage recorded when hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college win. Carlson said that his team has been analyzing the content “and how it contradicts or not the story we’ve been told for more than two years,” and that his producers would spend the week reviewing the video and airing what they find next week. His show did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

McCarthy has remained silent about the footage, and has not spoken publicly or responded to questions about the release, which was first reported by Axios. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

Carlson has repeatedly cast doubt on official accounts of what happened on Jan. 6 and has claimed it was a “false flag” operation.

McCarthy’s decision to provide the video to Carlson also raised concerns such as whether Capitol Police would need to change the location of security cameras. Some members of the House questioned why the speaker would grant the content to a Fox News host who has promoted baseless accusations about the attack.

The Jan. 6 attacks led to the largest criminal investigation in US history, with more than 930 people federally charged so far, The Post previously reported. Five people died as a result of the violence, and more than 100 members of law enforcement were injured by the mob, many of whom wielded bear spray, baseball bats and other weapons.