MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2022
So does Laurence Tribe: Yesterday morning, Jesse was the moderator for C-Span's Washington Journal. At 7 A.M. Eastern, he started the program's daily, hour-long, soul-crushing "Viewer Calls" feature.
In all honesty, the question for the day was a bit non-specific. It went exactly like this:
"Is it important to find out what happened on the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol?”
The question was perhaps a bit vague. But at precisely 7:30 A.M., Jesse threw to Greg from Ridgeville, Wisconsin—and Greg's point of view was quite clear:
GREG FROM WISCONSIN (6/12/22): Good morning. Thank you for taking my call. Thank you very much.
Well, we need to see what happened on January 6. And I think there is plenty of video that shows the lack of security, the open invitation, the open doors, the security people not protecting the Capitol. That was the biggest thing.
If they had protected the Capitol, none of this would have happened. And thank you for C-Span for being such a liberal mouthpiece, funded by the government, that does not present both sides.
You, my friend, are allowing both sides to be presented because the videos are clear. The Capitol Police stepped back, opened the doors, and actually invited people in.
Greg felt he knew what had happened that day. The Capitol Police had "stepped back, opened the doors, and actually invited people in."
C-Span hosts rarely challenge the statements of C-Span callers. In line with that policy, Jesse asked Greg what the committee should do with the information it had gathered.
He even ignored the ludicrous claim that C-Span doesn't present "both sides" of an issue! In response to Jesse's question, Greg from Wisconsin entered pure repetition mode:
GREG FROM WISCONSIN: Well, I think the biggest thing is, is that they improve the security! Because when you look at what happened and the videos, the videos are very clear that the invitation of the entrance to the Capitol, the Capitol Police stepped back, opened the doors, and in some cases waved people in. It's obvious! That's what happened to start the whole intrusion to the Capitol.
If the Capitol Police had secured the doors, not allowed people to come in, and allowed them to peacefully protest outside, we would not be talking about this now. Do you agree?
It was obvious! If only the Capitol Police had allowed the "Proud Boys" to stage their peaceful protests outside, this whole thing wouldn't have happened!
By now, a certain irony obtained, as you can see by watching the C-Span tape. Even as Greg was repeating his statements about the way the Capitol Police had invited the rioters in, C-Span was playing videotape of some actual events of that day.
That videotape showed police officers getting bashed over their heads and windows being smashed as the rioters forced their way inside the Capitol building. Creating a bit of dark "found humor," Greg continued his monologue as this contradictory videotape rolled on.
That said, Jesse was nothing if not patient on this particular day. He now took his third pass at the caller, asking Greg if he thinks we need 8-foot security fence around the Capitol complex, as some people have suggested.
Greg began his reply:
GREG FROM WISCONSIN: Well, if we're talking specifically about the January 6 event, I don't think they need to put up fences. They just needed to keep the doors closed...
As he continued, Greg from Wisconsin accused Jesse of "confusing the topics."
"Let's stay on focus to January 6," he said. "On focus to January 6 and the fact that the Capitol Police failed miserably, who were being led by Nancy Pelosi."
There may have been some factual errors in there, but Jesse returned to his question about the possible need for permanent 8-foot fencing around the Capitol complex. Once again, did Greg from Wisconsin think this fencing was needed?
With that, Jesse fell for the fourth time. In all candor, why had he bothered to ask?
GREG FROM WISCONSIN: I do not think that permanent fencing needs to be put up. We've never had this issue before, and I think we're talking apples and oranges. Because, if you have better security that would have prevented what happened on January 6, that the Capitol Police were not waving people in, we would not have this conversation, my friend.
It's really very simple, and you are creating an apple and orange scenario.
On this occasion, Greg's reply didn't quite parse. That said, we think his basic picture of what happened that day remained fairly clear.
By now, a bit more than four minutes had passed—and Jesse was finally prepared to stop creating his "apple and orange scenario."
Greg had stated his claims four times. At long last, Jesse said this:
JESSE: All right, let's go to Lorraine, who's calling from Greenlawn, New York. Lorraine! Good morning!
With that, the latest soul-crushing, four-minute phone call was finally brought to an end.
This four-minute phone call was one small part of our failing nation's flailing attempt to discuss what happened on January 6. On this occasion, an observer could conceivably criticize C-Span's "the viewer is always right" policy.
Such an observer might also claim that Greg from Wisconsin had come to the nation's C-Span viewers from the increasingly familiar realm of the misleading and the misled.
Even as videotape of the mayhem unspooled atop his statements, Greg kept repeating his standard claims. It could conceivably seem to some that Greg had somehow managed to miss a great deal of "what [actually] happened on the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
Quite sensibly, we blue tribe members might gnash our teeth when regular people like Greg present such misleading analyses. On the other hand, we saw Laurence Tribe make this claim on MSNBC this past Saturday night:
TRIBE (6/11/22): There was a huge group at the Ellipse. Long before [Trump] fired up that group, the Proud Boys, who he had told to stand by and stand back, and the Oathkeepers had engaged in reconnaissance of the Capitol with the help of members of Congress who acted essentially as insiders in the Capitol...
Our own tribe was back to the claim that Republican members of Congress had led the rioters on day-before reconnaissance tours of the Capitol. For the record, Tribe was responding to this question:
"What were your big takeaways from the committee's first prime-time hearing?"
In fact, no one said, at that first committee hearing, that any such tours took place. It may turn out that such tours did take place, but no one said or suggested any such thing during the committee's first presentation.
Meanwhile, Tribe isn't some random caller from a tiny town in Wisconsin. Tribe is a highly influential Harvard Law School professor—one who flipped on the meaning of the Second Amendment back in the 1990s, in a way which might have facilitated his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court if George W. Bush hadn't slid into the White House, thanks to all the lunatic claims aimed at Candidate Gore!
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but ours is a land which is currently ruled by the misleading and the misled. The committee makes its next presentation today.
We'll continue to monitor the committee's very important work. We'll also speak, all this week, about the ways we the people, along with our various neighbors and friends, frequently get misled.
Tomorrow: What Tucker Carlson said