Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.It’s come to this: Fox News and Tucker Carlson are producing a new documentary on the Capitol riot that appears to portray the insurrection as a false flag operation against supporters of former president Donald Trump.
The “Tucker Carlson Original” documentary, called “Patriot Purge,” is a three-part series set to debut next week, Carlson said during his Wednesday-night show. A trailer for the film says it will tell “the true story behind the War on Terror 2.0 and the plot against the people.” It features clips of the riot, speeches of President Joe Biden decrying white supremacists, and claims that the left is “hunting conservatives” and sending them to Guantanamo Bay “to rot,” as ominous music plays in the background.Interviewees include “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander and former Trump White House speechwriter Darren Beattie.“The helicopters have left Afghanistan, and now they’ve landed here at home,” Carlson says in the trailer. “They’ve begun to fight a new enemy, in a new war on terror.
“False flags have happened in this country,” former Army Capt. Emily Rainey says in the clip. “One of which may have been January 6.” Rainey was investigated by the Army for leading a group from North Carolina to the Stop the Steal rally; she resigned her commission prior to the rally, according to Army Times.
The conspiracy theory that the Capitol riot was instigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation first gained prominence because of Beattie, who was fired from the White House in 2018 for meeting with white nationalists. He was later appointed by Trump to a commission that preserves U.S. historic sites overseas, including ones related to the Holocaust. The theory revolves around insinuations that suspected Capitol rioters have not yet been indicted because they have ties to the FBI, and their role in the riot was to encourage others to riot as a sort of entrapment sting, a tactic the FBI has used in the past. One alleged Capitol rioter, an Arizonan named Ray Epps, has been a particular target of Beattie and the right. During a congressional hearing last week, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie pressed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for details on why Epps hasn’t been charged and “how many agents or assets of the federal government were present on January 6.” Garland said he couldn’t comment on a pending investigation.
Carlson and other figures on the right, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, quickly got behind the theory, with Carlson boosting it on his show. “How about rounding up the FBI operatives that rioted on January 6?” Carlson said during one June broadcast.Liz Cheney, a former House GOP leader who’s one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the January 6 riot, tweeted that Fox is giving Carlson “a platform to spread the same type of lies that provoked violence on January 6,” and reiterated that “the election wasn’t stolen and January 6 was not a ‘false flag’ operation.” She also tagged Fox executives and board members, including Rupert Murdoch, former House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott.
The documentary will begin airing on November 1 on Fox Nation, the cable network’s streaming channel. Correction 10/28: A previous version of this story misidentified who appeared in the documentary. We regret the error, and the text has been updated.