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Tucker Carlson draws bipartisan backlash for ‘false flag’ claim about Jan. 6 in new documentary

Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and even Geraldo Rivera are condemning a trailer for the new series, which floats a conspiracy theory of government involvement.

Tucker Carlson photographed on the set of his Fox News show in 2017. (Richard Drew/AP)

Tucker Carlson, the most popular voice in conservative media, drew condemnation Thursday for the trailer of a new series he plans to debut next week promising to “tell the true story” of the Jan. 6 insurrection, in which one subject appears to float a baseless conspiracy theory that the Capitol riot was covertly orchestrated by the government.

“False flags have happened in this country,” an unidentified female speaker is heard to say in the clip of “Patriot Purge” aired on Carlson’s Fox News show Wednesday night, “one of which may have been January 6.”

Carlson said the three-part series will air as a “Tucker Carlson Original” on the streaming service Fox Nation starting Monday. “We believe that it answers a lot of the remaining questions from that day,” he said, arguing that the U.S. government has “launched a new war” on American citizens by prosecuting participants in the insurrection who ransacked the building and attacked law enforcement officers.

If Carlson endeavored to trigger a ferocious backlash with the trailer, he succeeded.

That outrage came from Republicans as well as from Democrats, and even included a member of the Fox News family. “'False flags!?' Bull----,” wrote Geraldo Rivera, a 20-year veteran of the network who serves as a roaming correspondent at large.

Two prominent Republican members of Congress called out the clip on Thursday morning. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) both serve on the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.

“It appears that @FoxNews is giving @TuckerCarlson a platform to spread the same type of lies that provoked violence on January 6,” Cheney wrote on Twitter. “As @FoxNews knows, the election wasn’t stolen and January 6 was not a ‘false flag’ operation.” She tagged four company heavyweights in her post, including Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott, Fox News president Jay Wallace and former House speaker Paul D. Ryan, who serves on the board of network parent company Fox Corp.

“Anyone working for @FoxNews must speak out,” Kinzinger wrote. “This is disgusting. It appears @foxnews isn’t even pretending anymore.” He also thanked Rivera for his post.

Tucker Carlson villainizes journalists on his top-rated show. Then the threats pour in.

Asked about the criticisms from Cheney, Kinzinger and Rivera, Fox News representatives did not respond. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that Carlson’s tweet containing the trailer did not violate the platform’s civic integrity policy.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who also serves on the Jan. 6 committee, condemned the series in a statement to The Post. “There is no lie too big or conspiracy theory too dangerous for Tucker Carlson to propagate,” he said. “His latest salvo is nothing less than an invitation to violence. By airing it, Fox News demonstrates yet again a willingness to profit from tearing the country down.”

“It is irresponsible and dangerous for Fox News to promote lies and conspiracy theories,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) also told The Post.

But Lara Logan, a former CBS News correspondent who now hosts her own Fox Nation show, praised Carlson as courageous for the series. “Stay safe Tucker — we’ve got your back,” she wrote.

“Such an important topic — there’s so much we don’t know about Jan 6,” Newsmax host Steve Cortes chimed in.

Carlson has previously suggested that the federal government was in on the attack, arguing on his show in June that individuals referred to as “unindicted co-conspirators” in government charging documents were likely “FBI operatives.” Late last month, Carlson had a slightly different take, arguing on his show that the Jan. 6 rioters “don’t look like terrorists — they look like tourists,” charging again that “they were not insurrectionists.”

Carlson betrayed no doubts about the veracity of the claims made in the series. “We’re proud of it,” he said on Wednesday night. “It’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”

The documentary series is the fruit of a new, multiyear deal that Carlson signed with Fox News Media in February to create “flagship” content for the Fox Nation streaming service, which launched in November 2018 as a digital add-on for Fox News superfans and costs $5.99 per month to subscribe.

Unlike the network’s television programming, the Fox Nation service is not reliant on corporate advertisers, which insulates it from the boycotts that have targeted the sponsors of shows such as “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Angle” in the past. John Finley, a Fox News executive who oversaw the launch of the streaming service, acknowledged as much during a 2018 interview.

“There are going to be a lot of voices on Fox Nation,” he said. “And that helps balance some of the discussion. But we don’t have to worry about ad boycotts on Fox Nation, at least for the time being.”

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