The human appetite for alternative, and usually hair-brained, explanations for why events blossomed the way they did can never be sated. Oh, you can battle a poison fruitcake ideology like QAnon to the point that it can be contained in a 55-gallon drum and sealed. You can repel one nutter idea after another—Obama birtherism, Benghazi, Sandy Hook, the Katrina levee breach, Bush’s foreknowledge of 9/11—a new one will pop up to replace it like a target in an arcade. As long as anxieties about an uncertain future persist, people will devise irrational and inconsistent theories and share them. Some of these people will even be members of Congress. We’ll just have to deal with them.
So journalists like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, CNN’s Marshall Cohen, and HuffPost’s Christopher Mathias and Ryan J. Reilly, have done the right and necessary thing by providing a rapid-response this week to knock down Carlson’s FBI allegation that an “unindicted co-conspirator” described in Jan. 6 criminal charges was an FBI informant who helped plan the assault. It just ain’t so, Cohen wrote. The news article on which Carlson drew his conclusions were based on a flawed misunderstanding of how an unindicted co-conspirator is defined. “Federal agents acting within the scope of their duties are never considered unindicted co-conspirators because by definition they aren’t conspiring with the alleged bad guys,” Tulane University law professor Ross Garber told him.
One unfortunate thing about these rebuttals is that they will “amplify,” as some of the lefty press critics might say, the original Carlson rubbish. But how catastrophic is that compared to letting the Carlson chicanery go uncontested?
If anything, we should be grateful that the Jan. 6 truthers commenced their theorizing as soon as they did before memories hazed and people began the inevitable process of forgetting exactly what happened. [Continue reading…]