White House calls Fox News' Tucker Carlson "not credible" after Jan. 6 footage portrayal

Tucker Carlson during a November event in Hollywood, Florida. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

The White House criticized Fox News' Tucker Carlson Wednesday for his misleading portrayal of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot that's drawn widespread criticism — including from senior Republicans.

Driving the news: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing Wednesday that she agreed with the Capitol Police chief and a "wide range of bipartisan lawmakers" who have "condemned this false depiction of the unprecedented violent attack" on the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.

  • "We agree with Fox Nation's own attorneys and executives who have repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law that … Tucker Carlson is not credible when it comes to this issue in particular," Jean-Pierre said.
  • Jean-Pierre cited testimony given by a Fox News executive in Dominion Voting Systems' defamation lawsuit against the network.
  • And she noted an NPR report of a 2020 case in which a judge said she was "leaning heavily on the arguments of Fox’s lawyers" that the "'general tenor' of the show" should inform a viewer that Carlson isn't "stating actual facts' about the topics he discusses."

Why it matters: Jean-Pierre's comments that build on earlier remarks by White House spokesperson Andrew Bates "that Tucker Carlson is not credible" mark a rare public criticism of Carlson and suggest tensions have escalated between the Biden administration and Fox News, per Politico, which first reported Bates' statement Wednesday.

The big picture: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gave Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol footage from the attack, which he began airing this week.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was among the Republicans to criticize Carlson's coverage, which he said "conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments" of the insurrection.
  • Representatives for Fox News did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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