Conservatives continue to dismiss the severity of the deadly failed insurrection carried out by extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump on January 6, motivated by his lies regarding the validity of the 2020 election.
Republican lawmakers killed legislation that would've established a bipartisan commission investigating the events of that day, all the while spreading conspiracy theories regarding those who participated in the riots.
One of the leading sources of far-right disinformation, Fox News' Tucker Carlson, initially admitted on the day after the riots that Trump "recklessly encouraged" the violence that day.
But before January's end, Carlson would begin repeatedly downplaying the violence on display that day, and defending those who participated in it.
Now, in yet another about-face, the Fox News host embarked on a deranged rant Tuesday night, suggesting the riots were a massive false flag operation organized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to "suppress political dissent."
Carlson first repeated Russian talking points regarding the death of Ashli Babbit, a rioter who was shot by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to infiltrate the House Speakers' gallery with dozens of her fellow insurrectionists.
Then he suggested the FBI may have orchestrated the entire event:
"We know that the government is hiding the identity of many law enforcement officers present at the Capitol on January 6, not just the ones that killed Ashli Babbitt. According to the government's own court filings, those law enforcement officers participated in the riot, sometimes in violent ways. ... But strangely, some of the key people who participated on January 6 have not been charged. Look at the documents; the government calls those people unindicted co-conspirators. What does that mean? Well, it means that in potentially every single case they were FBI operatives. Really? In the Capitol on January 6?"
Carlson pointed to the case of Thomas Caldwell, a Capitol rioter and member of the far-right militia, the Oath Keepers. The 66-year-old conspirator was recently granted release from prison as he awaits trial. Caldwell formerly worked for law enforcement as an FBI agent, according to his attorney.
For Carlson, this was enough to claim he was a current "FBI operative."
"The government knows who they are, but they have not charged them. Why is that? You know why. They were all certainly working for the FBI. So FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol, on Jan. 6, according to government documents!"
According to the boasts of an Oath Keepers leader, there are numerous former and "active duty law enforcement" members of the militia.
People were stunned by Carlson's latest fantasy.
Carlson generates around 3.2 million viewers per night, and Fox News continues to allow him to broadcast delusions like this one to those who tune in.
The conspiracy theories are devoured and believed by susceptible spectators.
America can only brace itself for whatever lunacy Carlson broadcasts next.