The January 6 Committee Misrepresented Me | Opinion

During this week's January 6 Committee hearings, I was surprised to find myself included in the evidence. I was even more surprised to see myself misrepresented by members of the United States Congress.

During Tuesday's televised hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) tried to connect then-President Donald Trump's tweet calling his supporters to come to a rally in Washington on Jan. 6 with the violent attack that later unfolded. In response to Trump's tweet that the protest would "be wild," Trump's supporters "responded immediately," Raskin said. "Meanwhile, other key Trump supporters, including far right media personalities, began promoting the wild protest on January 6."

As proof that right wing media personalities were "promoting the wild protest," Rep. Raskin played a video. It featured three people promoting the protest with gusto. It also included a video of me simply reading out a news report that the protest was likely to happen, noting that Trump and his supporters viewed it as Trump's last stand, and concurring with the President that it was likely to get wild.

In what way is reporting the news the equivalent of "promoting" it? Nowhere in the clip Rep. Raskin played or even the full 30-minute long podcast did I ever encourage anyone to go to D.C., let alone to engage in any kind of violence or protest.

The opposite is the case: I have condemned political violence hundreds of times on my show Timcast IRL—like I did on Jan. 6 itself, after the violence had unfolded.

On my nightly show, I have routinely said that violence does not work. It was one of my main take aways from the collapse of support for Black Lives Matter following the George Floyd Riots. Back in September of 2020, I pointed out that Antifa's violence had gone a long way toward erasing BLM's PR gains from earlier in the year.

In the lead up to Jan. 6, I made the same point: Violence will solve nothing, and if Jan. 6 is expected to be violent, people should not go and I certainly would not be going. My company initially intended to interview people in D.C. on Jan. 6, but after warnings of disruptions from our hotel, we decided to avoid D.C. on that day, just as I had advised my followers.

Not only that, but I barely qualify as a "Trump supporter." Trump's most ardent fans give me a lot of grief for insisting on calling out his flaws. They use a variety of homophobic slurs to denigrate me. I did proudly vote for Trump in 2020, and I explained why I thought he was the better option given the choices. Still, playing my clip alongside Alex Jones and other ardent pro-Trump personalities is well over the top. That's probably why in response to the video clip of me played during the hearing, conservative and libertarian personalities on Twitter mocked the notion that I am a "pro-Trump Youtuber" or that I ever in any way encouraged people to engage in violence or protest in support of Donald Trump.

So what was the point of including me in the clip? Why omit my previous statements and sentiments on the election, on Trump having lost the election to Biden, on why people should not be violent?

Maybe Rep. Raskin didn't personally select the videos in the montage he showed. But someone did. Someone included video footage of me—a person who condemns violence—reading a headline in a lineup of other people calling for a "Red Wedding" and for people to "kick down the door." Someone made the decision to create a context around my innocuous words that would color them with the opposite meaning of what I always say.

Why?

January 6 hearings
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 12: A screenshot of the Fox News website appears on a video screen above members of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol during the seventh hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on July 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Because that's what our political climate is designed to do these days: Escalate. Assassinate your opponents' character. Smear everyone you disagree with as a violent insurrectionist.

To our political establishment, reasonable people you disagree with seem to present even more danger than the violent fringe, because we make it seem like debate is still possible.

This year, my company has been SWATted eight times. People have called the police claiming active shooters are at my studio; they've also made bomb threats and even sent us packages that required the bomb squad to be deployed. My private home was SWATted twice and our studio was evacuated only a few weeks ago during our live show after we received a credible death threat.

When you consider that SWATtings have resulted in people being killed, and that my staff has been held at gunpoint by police, you begin to see the threat posed by radicalization and the spread of disinformation. This is something I think everyone agrees on but refuses to acknowledge their role in.

It's hard for me to see what played out in Tuesday's hearings in any other light. After Rep. Raskin played the out-of-context clip of me, I was inundated on Twitter with harassment as my name started trending. People immediately started posting exaggerated and fabricated claims about me, citing the hearing as evidence of other insane conspiracy theories on par with the lunacy of Q-Anon.

I can certainly respect a desire to figure out how Jan. 6 happened, how it got so bad then and why our political climate continues to get worse. I can respect the demand to hold those who made it happen accountable. I also want to have an inquiry into the riots on May 29, 2020 to understand how left-wing rioters breached the White House barricades, how they were able to set fire to the famous St. John's Church, and why the President was forced into an emergency bunker.

But that's not what happened on Tuesday. On Tuesday, a clip of me cut from context was publicized on national television in a way that was designed to assassinate my character, to create fear and to radicalize.

And it will make it harder for me to expose my audience to views across the political spectrum. On my show, we have hosted conservatives, libertarians, liberals, progressives, and even celebrities. But this clip poisons the well, making it that much harder to have a real conversation among Americans who otherwise would agree on so many issues.

Tim Pool is the host of Timcast IRL.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.