Kevin McCarthy seizes on Tucker Carlson’s attempt to distract from Jan. 6 investigation

The top Republican in the House of Representatives doesn’t want to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. But Tucker Carlson's evidence-free claims that the NSA is spying on him? House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wants an investigation.

“There is a public report that NSA read the emails of Fox News host Tucker Carlson,” McCarthy said in a statement that opened by complaining about last-minute Trump appointee Michael Ellis being put on leave while his appointment is investigated. McCarthy continued, “Although NSA publicly denied targeting Carlson, I have serious questions regarding this matter that must be answered.”

About that NSA denial. “On June 28, 2021, Tucker Carlson alleged that the National Security Agency has been ‘monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.’ Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to take his program off the air,” the NSA said in a statement. “NSA has a foreign intelligence mission. We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States. With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.”

Carlson is a known liar who has in the past defended himself in court by arguing—successfully—that no reasonable person could believe he tells the truth, so he’s almost certainly lying about the NSA spying on him. But, Marcy Wheeler points out, the NSA only says here that Carlson isn’t being targeted. It’s not saying his communications with a foreign target weren’t surveilled. “Strictly as a hypothetical,” Wheeler writes, “it could be that Carlson is working on another Hunter Biden story involving Ukraine, and the NSA picked up his communications directly with an agent of Russia in Ukraine by targeting that totally legitimate intelligence target. The result would be to incidentally collect Carlson’s communications with said hypothetical Ukrainian target.”

But Carlson is probably lying, and in either case, McCarthy’s insistence that this report from a known liar has to be investigated joins the pantheon of Republican efforts to undercut reality. “Tucker Carlson’s no-evidence allegation has to be investigated immediately” comes at the same time McCarthy is showing no interest in the Trump Justice Department having subpoenaed phone records of Democratic members of Congress. “Tucker Carlson’s no-evidence allegation has to be investigated immediately“ comes as McCarthy, who unsuccessfully pleaded with Trump to call off the mob on Jan. 6, is now so opposed to investigating the attack on the Capitol that he’s threatening the committee assignments of Republicans who agree to serve on the select committee. Carlson is trying to create a distraction, and McCarthy is on fully board with the effort. 

McCarthy is only the minority leader, so he can’t order a full committee investigation. Instead, he’s putting crack investigator Devin Nunes on the case, as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes was a beneficiary of the politicization of the Trump Justice Department, which tried to intervene in Nunes’ lawsuit against Twitter to force the unmasking of an imaginary cow. Nunes spent the first Trump impeachment hearings spewing conspiracy theories. All of this means Nunes is the perfect person to represent House Republicans in “investigating” baseless allegations by a Fox News host trying to distract from real issues—but the perfect person in the sense that he will lie relentlessly and feed conspiracy theories.

The top Republican in the House is joining with Fox News on a disinformation campaign, enlisting the (very eager) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. And they’re doing it to distract from Republican complicity in a violent attack on Congress intended to prevent it from doing its part in the peaceful transition of power. This is a lawless party and political movement.

Desperate to avoid impeachment talk, Tucker blames Black Lives Matter, George Floyd for … something

The sinking ship that is Fox News is helmed by the ghost of William F. Buckley Jr.’s toilet bowl, Tucker Carlson, financial liability Sean Hannity, and hoax racist Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson has been purveying his solid brand of fact-free, intellectually bankrupt, rhetorical monologue skills to promote racist COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and racist fearmongering of Black Lives Matter protests most of the year. Now, with Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial making it hard for Fox News to ignore, Tucker turned his attention on becoming a low-grade version of Infowars’ Alex Jones for the evening. But like everything Tucker, he adds a dash more white supremacy on top of what even Alex Jones has the capacity for.

Tucker went full deep state corporate conspiracy theory on Wednesday night in a long-winded, roundabout opening 12-minute monologue where he questioned the facts of the Capitol insurgency, arguing that Trump both didn’t incite the coup attempt, and then saying that it wasn’t a long-planned event, while also saying that it had to be either or of those two things. It’s a rhetorical trick where you create a straw man argument and then you step out of the fake argument to say that both positions are not real, thus negating your entire argument while pretending you have proven your argument. It’s the kind of intellectually vacuous dirtbaggery Carlson has made his entire existence on. But Tucker wasn’t done there, he needed a motivation for why everything we have seen has happened but also not happened the way we all seem to have seen it happen.

Black people, y’all. It’s socialism and Black people. It’s socialism and Black people that is funded by corporations—an organization well-known for loving both socialism and Black people? And that’s just one small piece of how offensive Tucker goes in his conspiracy theory.

Tucker explains that the facts Fox News viewers know—make-em-up things Tucker pretends are facts—contradict the impeachment proceedings. He explains that the reason this grand lie is being told to the American people dates back to this summer “beginning of Memorial Day, BLM and their sponsors in corporate America completely changed this country. They changed this country more in five months than it had changed in the previous 50 years.” Whoa! How’d this happen?

Well, as Carlson tells it, after George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derrick Chauvin, protesters “upended society.” But even more importantly, the whole thing was a lie. According to Tucker, “The story they told us about George Floyd's death was an utter lie. There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop. The autopsy showed that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose fentanyl.” Let’s pretend for a moment that one of the top reasons George Floyd’s death, unlike so many thousands of Black people’s deaths at the hands of law enforcement, set off mass protests, was because it was filmed by onlookers, while the sun was still out, and people were pleading with the officers to stop. Let’s pretend that that irrefutable fact does not exist.

Tucker is lying. His assertion about the autopsy is a lie. Not a misrepresentation of things but a straight-out lie. The autopsy notes the drugs in his system but the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office autopsy report determines Mr. Floyd died of "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” Tucker Carlson is a liar. He’s a weak-minded and cynical white supremacist apologist asshole, whose lazy mind cannot even come up with decent bullshit defenses for his obtuse attitudes and positions. Tucker goes on to make the textbook white American racist claim that these BLM protests “destroyed” the “fabric” of American society.

Here’s a man who has never been a good person but now finds himself grabbing at the empty void that their destitute morality has left them protecting. The 11-minute mark is around the moment where Tucker Carlson takes his final steps off the ledge of last night’s drivel.

This is infowars shit, just a completely batshit conspiracy theory blasted into your meemaws face

— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 11, 2021