Lyin’ Eyes

March 22, 2023
Posted by Jay Livingston

During the protests over the killing of a Black man in Kenosha, WE, CNN reported that the demonstrations were “mostly peaceful.” Unfortuantely, the background visual behind the reporter showed a lot of fire.

The right-wing had a field day.

Technically, CNN was correct. The demonstrations were mostly peaceful. But that didn’t matter. What mattered were those who posed the greatest threats, the ones who torched those buildings.

And now we have Tucker Carlson (here) saying that the “overwhelming majority” of people who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 were “peaceful.” Carlson acknowledges that a “small percentage of them were hooligans. They committed vandalism.” But the overwhelming majority “were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionist. They were sightseers.”  He has the tape to prove it. In fact, he has all the tape – 41,000 hours. The Republicans on the House committee gave it to him to edit as he sees fit. No doubt, the Carlson cut will show very orderly people, meekly trying to overturn an election that their candidate lost by seven million votes.

Technically, Carlson is correct. The  overwhelming majority —especially if you expand the denominator to include the tens of thousands of Trump supporters who came to the rally that day but did not invade the Capitol — were not hooligans. But again, the numbers don’t matter. What matters are the violent insurrectionists. This small minority are important because they posed the greatest threat to the democratic institutions of the government and to the police who were trying to protect the Capital and the Representatives and staffers who work there. That’s why, as Carlson laments, “you’ve seen their pictures again and again.”  But who are you gonna believe – Tucker Carlson or your lyin’ eyes?

There’s a larger and more complex question topic in these demonstrations — the relation between the overwhelming majority and the extreme minority. It’s far too complex to go into here, especially in the case of Jan. 6.

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