Tucker Carlson Ratings Spike Despite Republican Criticism of Jan 6 Footage

  • Tucker Carlson has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats for his coverage of the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
  • Despite the criticism, ratings for Carlson's show on Fox News were the highest they've been since August 2022.
  • Carlson has maintained that those storming of the Capitol were more comparable to "sightseers" than rioters.
  • Despite the criticism, Carlson's show continues to reach more people.

More viewers are flocking to Tucker Carlson's popular evening show on Fox News despite criticism the Carlson has received over releasing footage of the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy granted Carlson access to more than 41,000 hours of security footage from January 6, 2021. Carlson played some of the clips during his Monday night episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. Carlson said the clips did not show an "insurrection or a riot in progress" and also claimed that Democrats and media hoped to suppress the footage because it negates that a riot took place.

Carlson has long held extreme influence over the Republican party, reportedly influencing the decisions of former president Donald Trump while he was in office. In 2021, Republican Senator Ted Cruz spoke out against the January 6, 2021, attacks, but then asked Carlson if he could appear on the Fox show, where he retracted his statements.

Fox News Host Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson speaks during 2022 FOX Nation Patriot Awards at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood on November 17, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida. Carlson's ratings have jumped the week of March 6 despite GOP legislators' criticism of his take on the January 6, 2021, Capitol riots. Getty

However, GOP lawmakers are now speaking out against Carlson's take on the January 6, 2021, attack in the wake of the unveiled security clips.

Carlson's presentation of the clips has garnered bipartisan criticism, with many GOP legislators joining Democrats in disproving of Carlson's take. Newsweek reported that GOP leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, Utah Senator Mitt Romney and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham spoke out against Carlson's perception of the riot.

Democrats have also voiced criticism of Carlson's take on the riots, and Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger accused Carlson of cherry-picking specific non-violent footage to fit his "offensive and misleading" agenda on what happened on January 6, 2021.

However, despite widespread criticism of Carlson, he maintains a strong hold on viewers. Ratings for Carlson's show are the best they've been in months, and his show attracted roughly an extra 800,000 this week over last week. Fox told Newsweek that this week is trending to be Tucker Carlson Tonight's highest-rated week for the year and highest-rated week since August 8, 2022. Data from Nielsen Media Research showed that as of Wednesday, viewers of Tucker Carlson Tonight leaped by 30 percent for viewers over the age of 2 and jumped by 24 percent for viewers aged 25 to 54 versus the same days the previous week.

Data showed that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Carlson had an average of 3,818,000 viewers, up from 3,009,000 during the same period last week.

Nielsen Media Research data also showed that in January, Tucker Carlson Tonight led every show on CNN and MSNBC for people over the age of 18 and between the ages of 25 and 54. The show was the top program in cable news for Democrats, Independents and Republicans between the ages of 25 and 54.

Carlson maintains that people storming the Capitol were more comparable to "sightseers" than rioters. More than 1,000 people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack. Some have already been sentenced to prison and are serving out their sentences.

Fox News has been criticized for its coverage of the 2020 election and the resulting Capitol riot. The network faces legal battles over claims its anchors have made regarding President Joe Biden's election, including a massive defamation from Dominion Voting Systems which alleges that Fox News anchors, including Carlson, lied about Trump's 2020 election fraud claims. The lawsuit has released text messages from Carlson and other anchors that revealed the anchors expressing disbelief over Trump's election fraud claims but publicizing the information to millions of viewers anyway.