Tucker Carlson says son was in U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6

"You know one of my kids was actually in the building when it had happened. I was on the phone in real time”

Published December 11, 2021 3:34PM (EST)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has used his considerable platform as the most-watched cable news personality to spread conspiracy theories about and downplay the severity of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, revealed this week that his son was inside the building that day — and that Carlson was in communication with him the entire time.

He made the comments Thursday during a recording of "The Fourth Watch Podcast," hosted by right wing commentator Steve Krakauer. Carlson's admission came in response to a question about his recently released "Patriot Purge" documentary, which spreads a number of debunked conspiracies about the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 — most notably the idea that the entire things was a "false flag" operation spearheaded by "deep state" operatives in the FBI and other national security agencies.

"What is it about the focus on Jan. 6 that made you say, 'We need to give a different look at this,'" Krakauer asked Carlson at one point.

"Well, I hated what happened on Jan. 6, you know one of my kids was actually in the building when it had happened. I was on the phone in real time," Carlson responded.

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

He did not say which of his sons attended the Capitol riot that day, but The Hill reports that it was likely Buckley Carlson, an aide in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind. Neither Carlson responded to the outlet for comment.

The Fox host's statements shine a new light on his months-long effort to portray the events of Jan. 6 as anything other than a coordinated attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election — a goal that was accomplished for a short time as Congress delayed its business and hunkered down in the face of explicit threats of violence. A number rioters even called for the killing of Vice President Mike Pence, who they felt did not put sufficient effort into his attempts to overturn the election results. 

Carlson went so far as to say: "Anyone who calls Jan. 6 an insurrection is a liar at this point."

A number of Fox employees have raised concerns about Carlson's rhetoric, including pundits Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, who quit the network over the alleged distortions in his Jan. 6 special. 

"Fox News still does real reporting, and there are still responsible conservatives providing valuable opinion and analysis," the duo wrote. "But the voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible."

"A case in point: Patriot Purge, a three-part series hosted by Tucker Carlson."

More on the fallout from Tucker Carlson's Jan. 6 coverage:

By Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman was the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

MORE FROM Brett Bachman