Journalist and author Naomi Wolf apologized for believing the legacy media coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, incidents at the U.S. Capitol after Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired additional, previously unreleased footage last week.   

“I must say that I am sorry for believing the dominant legacy-media ‘narrative’ pretty completely from the time it was rolled out, without asking questions,” Wolf wrote on her Substack, “Outspoken with Dr. Naomi Wolf,” on March 9.  

Wolf’s apology came after Carlson aired excerpts of more than 40,000 hours of security camera footage from Jan. 6 on his Fox News show. Carlson obtained the footage from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who said he will continue to roll out the footage to other major news outlets.  

The footage shows U.S. Capitol Police escorting Jacob Chansley—clad in red, white, and blue face paint and a buffalo hat and who the media dubbed the “QAnon shaman”—through the Capitol to the Senate chamber. It also shows Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick alive and walking around after the media claimed that rioters had killed him. 

Sicknick died two days after Jan. 6 from two strokes, though CNN’s Anderson Cooper claimed the officer “died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the fight.” 

Wolf wrote, “There is no way to unsee Officer Brian Sicknick, claimed by some Democrats in leadership and by most of the legacy media to have been killed by rioters at the Capitol that day, alive in at least one section of the newly released video.” 

“Whatever the truth of this confusing conclusion, and with all respect for and condolences to Officer Sicknick’s family, the circumstances of his death do matter to the public,” Wolf continued, “as without his death having been caused by the events of Jan 6, the breach of the capitol, serious though it was, cannot be described as a ‘deadly insurrection.’”  

Wolf disagreed with Carlson’s claim that the events of Jan. 6 were “mostly peaceful chaos,” as she said a security breach of a legislative institution should be taken seriously. But she praised Carlson’s release of the footage as “valuable journalism.” 

Wolf denounced Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who criticized Carlson for airing the footage. 

“Isn’t the press supposed to want full transparency for all public interest events?” she asked.  

Both the violent protesters and those who contributed to a false narrative about the events should be punished, according to Wolf.  

“Those who violently entered the Capitol or who engaged in violence inside of it, must of course be held accountable. (As must violent protesters of every political stripe anywhere),” she said.  

“But in addition, anyone in leadership who misrepresented to the public the events of the day so as to distort the complexity of its actual history—must also be held accountable,” Wolf continued.  

Wolf said media coverage of Jan. 6 demonizes peaceful Republicans and conservatives. Americans have been allowed to peacefully enter public buildings throughout history, Wolf said. 

“In the media furor around Jan 6, it was erased from memory that the White House itself and the Capitol too have always been open to US citizens and foreign visitors,” Wolf wrote. “The interior of the Capitol is open to the public. These are public buildings.” 

She said U.S. government websites say anyone can enter the Capitol, show ID, visit the Exhibition Hall, and get tickets to watch Congress in session. The White House used to hold open houses, and presidential inaugurations were once open to the public, she reported.  

Wolf said she believed a “farrago of lies” about Jan. 6 before seeing the footage. 

“And, as a result of these lies, and my credulity—and the credulity of people similarly situated to me—many conservatives’ reputations are being tarnished, on false bases,” she wrote.  

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