Tuesday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell joined congressional colleagues like as Chuck Schumer in denouncing Tucker Carlson of Fox News for publishing and framing film of the January 6, 2021 events at the Capitol. McConnell stated that he agrees with the U.S. Capitol Police Chief on this matter. He did not like Carlson presenting a film that depicted police escorting nonviolent demonstrators into the Capitol, giving them tours, and allowing them to stroll freely as they took photographs and prayed in the chambers.
“It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at Capitol thinks.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer accused House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy of helping Fox News stoke conspiracy theories by providing videos that were used by the cable network to portray the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters as peaceful https://t.co/f0kq0ReAa2 pic.twitter.com/bt4tx0qVuO
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 8, 2023
Teri Christoph, my coworker, pointed up an error with his assertion that caused me to yell.
Mitch, please. What if the truth is hiding somewhere in that “variance?” McConnell’s lack of curiosity about the truth could be the sign of an old man who’s spent far too much time in DC
It is the usage of the word “depict” that pisses me off. I believe that is a really revealing term. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines portray as “to represent by or as if by a picture” or “to describe.”
Storytelling is the act of narrating a narrative, and every story has a narrator.
McConnell may have believed he was only stating that he believes the Capitol demonstrations were a Very Bad ThingTM, but I heard what he (and so many others like him) truly believe. He indicates that he disapproved of THE Narrative Tucker Carlson told with the new material. THE STORY has already been told. THE Narrative was already structured. THE STORY had been written previously. How dare Carlson introduce rewrites? Who gave him permission to repeat THE STORY?
And isn’t it the most important takeaway? McConnell just confirmed that the J6 tape we’ve been viewing for the past two years is a narrative, not a collection of objective facts. The publication of the additional videotape would not be controversial if just the facts were involved. That never would have been a secret to begin with. McConnell and company have determined for the rest of us how January 6, 2021 shall be perceived and observed at the U.S. Capitol. This is analogous to old Twitter’s promise to “add context” to Trump’s tweets for the benefit of its ignorant audience.
In this context, it was such an innocent yet scary word…depict.
If this adage is more than a cliche, we will know which “story” to trust based on how free it makes us. I’m not denying that some nasty actors were present in the Capitol that day. I am not claiming that Tucker Carlson’s “story” is the day’s narrative. What I am saying is that one portrayal has resulted in a large number of innocent individuals being imprisoned (as it were) and has relied on withholding video evidence from the public. The alternative “narrative” introduces evidence and dialogue. If the opposing “narrative” had been made public, it would have likely resulted in far fewer jail terms.
We should constantly be wary of persons who claim that knowledge is harmful to us.
This is a story I’ve told before, but I’ll tell it again since it resides in my soul and nags at my conscience virtually every workday.
I once, many years ago (too long ago to recall the exact title or name), watched a superb History Channel video about the construction of the Berlin Wall. Those who recall its appearance may be surprised to learn that it had an architect. Someone truly created this abomination. Someone filmed an interview with him shortly before he passed away, maybe in the early 1990s. He was elderly and obstinate. Clearly, he was dissatisfied with the demise of communism.
The interviewer must have questioned him why East Germany believed a wall between their country and West Germany was necessary (for you kids – Germany was one Germany, and then it was two, before it was one again). I shall always remember his remarks. I’m not even certain that I was a conservative at the time I heard them, because it’s been so long. I recall that they made me feel chilly. He stated, and I’m summarizing here to the best of my failing memory, “We had to build the wall, so the people could see that socialism works. The people kept leaving, running away, but socialism can’t work without the people, so we had to find a way to keep them in. And then if they would just give it a chance, they could see how great socialism can be.”
This is the stance of the security personnel. These are the ones who feel they must erect walls around you so that you are compelled to observe that their strategy is effective, their thoughts are superior, and their motives are noble. Once you realize this, the walls will crumble. Not because they’ve been removed, but because you’ve been retrained to view them as blankets instead, they will naturally melt away. They do not trap you; rather, they keep you warm.
The remarks of Senator McConnell are those of a gatekeeper. His aims may not be as evil as that communist architect’s, but the concept underlying them is as perilous. He may have backed the principles of free speech and openness while expressing disagreement with the “new story.”
Instead, he protested about the narrator and the fact that anyone else is permitted to relate a portion of the narrative.
And that is frightening as hell.