A crowd of Donald Trump supporters converge on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, ultimately leading to the building being breached and several deaths and numerous injuries. (Wikimedia Commons)
A crowd of Donald Trump supporters converge on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, ultimately leading to the building being breached and several deaths and numerous injuries. (Wikimedia Commons)

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association of the more than 230 African American newspapers and media companies in the United States, has asked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to share the same 41,000-plus hours of security footage from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that he shared with Fox News.

Following the NNPA’s request, other media outlets have petitioned Congress for the footage.

“This is a serious matter of equal access to government information to the Black Press of America, represented by the NNPA, and in specific reference to the fact that you have set a precedent by providing the footage to Fox News,” NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. and NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards wrote in their request.

The Associated Press, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNBC, MSNBC, and Noticias Telemundo have also requested the video.

“We understand that in your capacity as Speaker of the House of Representatives, you recently provided the Tucker Carlson Tonight television program with access to certain Congressional records — specifically, previously unavailable video footage from the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” wrote Laura Handman, a lawyer representing the media outlets. 

“We write to request that the News Organizations be granted access to these materials,” Handman said.

“There is no basis for further delaying granting this access — to these News Organizations or any other media outlets that make similar requests,” the lawyer concluded.

McCarthy’s office has not responded to multiple inquiries about access to the footage. 

In a brief interview with The New York Times, he said, “I was asked in the press about these tapes, and I said they do belong to the American public. I think sunshine lets everybody make their own judgment.”

McCarthy told the head of the Jan. 6 committee last year that it was “imperative that all the information collected [from the probe] be preserved, not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people.”

On his Monday show, Carlson said, “We believe we have secured the right to see whatever we want to see.” 

He said the footage would be shown to the public next week.

Democrats have widely criticized McCarthy following Carlson’s announcement.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said the decision by McCarthy to turn over the video posed a security risk to lawmakers and Capitol staff.

Schumer added that the public release of the footage would compromise the safety of Congress and allow those who want to attack Congress to learn how Congress is protected.

The New York senator’s words echoed those of January 6 Select Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.

In an exclusive 65-minute interview Tuesday with the NNPA’s live daily news show “Let It Be Known,” Thompson demanded to see what document McCarthy signed with Fox News to transfer the footage.

“There are serious national security implications, a lot of what we saw and did not share with the public as a committee,” Thompson said in the no-holds-barred discussion with Black Press reporters on the program.

“There are safeguards in place, and some of this material is privileged,” he continued. “You can’t just open the store and let someone come in and clean it out. 

“We want to see what document was executed for that transfer of information. I chaired the [Jan. 6] committee, and I can tell you that there is clearly information in there that we choose not to put in the public arena because of its sensitivity.” 

Thompson further decried turning the tapes over to Fox and Carlson.

“You turn the tapes over to a guy who was the cheerleader of lies being told, and even when he knew what he was saying was wrong, he kept saying it,” Thompson railed. 

“I don’t know what it means from a journalistic standpoint, we can have differences of opinion, but when facts say something different and are irrefutable, and you try to promote alternate situations, that’s not journalism,” he continued. 

“You turn this kind of information to these people who have been proven in a court of law not to tell the truth about a subject they had already acknowledged in court,” Thompson said. 

“Fox News has turned this information over to the courts in a lawsuit, and now that same Fox News has access to information about January 6. The speaker should have said, ‘I can’t let you have this.’ But he did.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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1 Comment

  1. A promise to make 01/06 videos available to all is every bit as empty and cynical as a commitment to release tax returns “when the audits are finished.” The Speaker of the House is the chief executive of Congress. It is NOT just a position that serves a single political party.

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