Is Tucker ouster tied to his coverage of alleged videotaped J6 instigator?

By Peter LaBarbera

Ray Epps on CBS' '60 Minutes' on Sunday, April 23, 2023 (Video screenshot)
Ray Epps on CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ on Sunday, April 23, 2023 (Video screenshot)

One day after the airing of a sympathetic CBS “60 Minutes” interview with controversial, videotaped, alleged Jan. 6 instigator Ray Epps — in which Epps played the victim and sought to shift blame for J6 violence to Tucker Carlson — the most popular host on Fox News was ousted by the network.

In the “60 Minutes” interview Sunday, Epps claimed Carlson is “obsessed with me,” and said, “He’s going to any means possible” to destroy his life to “shift blame [for J6] on somebody else.”

Carlson was terminated directly by Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday: “Fox News announced the stunning departure of its top-rated host Monday with no explanation, but people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to comment publicly said the decision to fire Carlson came straight from Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch with input from board members and other Fox Corp. executives.”

The newspaper reported Carlson’s ouster was linked to his coverage of Jan. 6 in which he, speaking for millions of MAGA conservatives suspicious of “Deep State” machinations, repeatedly questioned why a Biden Justice Department that had so zealously prosecuted J6 protesters for seemingly minor, non-violent offenses like entering the Capitol, had refused to prosecute the man seen clearly in videotapes emphatically urging people to occupy the very same Capitol.

“Murdoch also was said to be concerned about Carlson’s coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” the Times reported. “The host has promoted the conspiracy theory that it was provoked by government agents, and Carlson has called Ray Epps — a Texas man who participated in the storming of the Capitol but did not enter the building — an FBI plant, without presenting any evidence.”

That description by the left-leaning newspaper misses the salient point of why Epps and his non-arrest by the Justice Department have drawn so much attention on the right: he is shown so clearly on film doing more than other J6 attendees who were arrested and jailed for entering the Capitol.

Moreover, Gateway Pundit, which has been at the forefront of coverage on J6 issues, reported that Epps is wrong when he claimed (in congressional testimony) that he never violated the law on Jan 6. GP reports that while several J6 protesters were prosecuted for touching a large Trump sign that was thrown at police, Epps was not, although he also is allegedly shown on video touching the sign.

Gateway Pundit’s headline for the story is: “Fake News ’60 Minutes’ Runs Entire Segment on Ray Epps Without Showing HIS CRIMINAL ASSAULT CAUGHT ON VIDEO – Eight Other Men Are Serving Years in Prison Today for Standing Next to Epps and Committing Same ‘Criminal’ Act.” It is coupled with a collage of photos of the eight J6 protesters who “are serving years in prison for ‘touching’ a giant Trump sign that was thrown at police on Jan. 6, 2021. No officers were injured in what the government ruled was an ‘assault’ on police.”

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Carlson speaks for millions of conservatives

Carlson was hardly alone in his skepticism over the DOJ’s non-prosecution of Epps. In fact, the curious story of Epps, who was initially put on the FBI’s January 6 “Most Wanted” list before being removed, has been a significant factor in causing public distrust of the Biden DOJ’s politicized J6 “insurrection” narrative.

Many conservatives saw the “60 Minutes” piece Sunday as only the latest effort by liberal elites to distract the public from the federal government’s role in stoking the J6 “insurrection” narrative to disparage Trump supporters and undermine Trump’s pursuit of another presidential term in 2024.

Conservative radio host Dan Bongino said “60 Minutes” was attempting to exonerate Epps to salvage the left’s J6 narrative for the 2024 presidential election.

“The Jan. 6 narrative is everything to them … The left needs this narrative to win the 2024 election: the right are fascist tyrants. Donald Trump will usher in fascism,” Bongino said on his show Monday. “Because the left’s agenda is so anti-human — the castration of kids, the teaching of Critical Race Theory, the taking of your money, the taking of your health care. The left’s agenda is so bad they need you to focus on something else.”

“Noah B.” @tundrafa76 tweeted, regarding the “60 Minutes” puff piece on Epps: “Just watch [Sen. Ted Cruz] questioning the FBI & you’ll see why they’re trying to protect him.”

Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas, aggressively questioned Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director, National Security Branch of the FBI, at a Senate hearing in January 2022. Sanborn repeatedly said she could not answer Cruz’s questions about federal involvement in the Jan. 6 protests, nor whether Epps, specifically, had any connection to federal law enforcement.

Carlson, “by far the most popular individual host on Fox News, averaging more than 3 million viewers a night,” according to the Times, and the network have been hit with a “cease and desist” letter from Epps’ attorney last month.

“Mr. Carlson and Fox News have repeatedly peddled claims about Mr. Epps that lack any foundation in fact,” states the letter by attorney Michael Teter. “Mr. Carlson and Fox News guests and contributors have incorrectly called Mr. Epps a federal agent, accusing him of acting as a provocateur of the riots. Oddly, Mr. Carlson now also espouses the view that those rioters were akin to peaceful tourists. This leads to the obvious question: is Mr. Carlson now accusing Mr. Epps of provoking peaceful protests.”

Carlson consistently said on his Fox broadcasts that violent J6 protesters deserve to be prosecuted. His coverage alluded to disparagingly in Teter’s letter concerned J6 video coverage unearthed by Carlson’s team in March that exposed overzealous DOJ prosecution of the supposed J6 “ringleader,” Jacob Chansley. The infamous horned “QAnon Shaman” was shown being led around peacefully by Capitol Police on Jan. 6, a spectacle at odds with the left’s “violent insurrection” narrative. Weeks later, Chansley was released 14 months early from his federal prison sentence, after his lawyer objected to the government hiding the exculpatory video.

Teter’s letter also says Carlson’s on-air statements about Epps “have always been nonsensical fantasies disproven by videos and accounts by those attending the January 6th events. Selective and creative editing cannot overcome facts.”

If the object of CBS’ “60 Minutes” was to neutralize conservatives’ suspicions of Ray Epps as some sort of federally aligned actor instigating criminal behavior on Jan. 6, their puff piece interview with him and his wife Sunday certainly did not achieve its objective.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tweeted Monday, along with video of Cruz’s Senate interrogation of the FBI official: “Ray Epps is the only person I’ve seen on video January 5th and January 6th urging and directing people to go into the Capitol. In a text message on January 6th he bragged that he orchestrated it. Why do democrats and the media portray him as the victim? So bizarre.”

Twitter conservative Greg Price tweeted: “There’s also another thing: Ray Epps has never been arrested by the FBI despite them throwing everyone who was near the Capitol in solitary confinement and him being the only person on tape on J6 telling people to go into the building.”

And the popular Twitter MAGA conservative “Catturd” tweeted to his 1.6 million followers: “The Left hates all January 6ers and want them in prison for life — except one. They somehow miraculously absolutely love Ray Epps. Gee — I wonder why?”

MAGA conservative Brandon Straka tweeted to his 975,000 followers: “Ray Epps said on 60 Minutes that his face appeared on an FBI wanted poster, so he turned himself in —- and TWO MONTHS later agents contacted him, then his picture was removed from the wanted list. This is unlike ANY other case I’ve heard of. Every J6er I’ve spoken to was IMMEDIATELY arrested & charged after contacting the FBI or being contacted. This story, and their lack of interest in him, makes ZERO sense.”

Below is a video of Sen. Cruz’s January 2022 interrogation of FBI official Jill Sanborn:

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