Tucker Carlson appeared to change his tune on supporters of the false QAnon conspiracy theory during his primetime show on Friday, describing them as “gentle people waving American flags” following the Capitol insurrection.
The Fox News host said QAnon supporters “like this country” and suggested some were “maybe kind of confused with the wrong ideas” while referring to the entirely inaccurate conspiracy theory, which claims former President Donald Trump is defending the world from a wealthy network of child predators, conveniently including his apparent political enemies, like Hillary Clinton, while ignoring his own friends and allies.
“Do you ever notice how all the scary internet conspiracy theorists – the radical QAnon people – when you actually see them on camera or in jail cells, as a lot of them now are, are maybe kind of confused with the wrong ideas, but they’re all kind of gentle people now waving American flags?” he asked during his opening show on Friday, adding: “They like this country.”
The conspiracy theory, as wildly false and debunked as it is, remains an increasingly popular point of focus in national politics, with support from lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R—GA). But just days ago, the Fox News host was quipping that he couldn’t even verify whether QAnon was a real conspiracy theory, while seemingly joking about not being able to find its website.
“We spent all day trying to locate the famous QAnon, which, in the end, we learned is not even a website,” Mr Carlson said last week. “If it’s out there, we could not find it.”
Mr Carlson’s latest segment questioning the threat of the right-wing conspiracy theory was posted to Fox News’ website with the title: “Tucker: What happened to the QAnon incursion of Capitol Hill?”
The caption adds: “Tucker Carlson Tonight’ host explains why lawmakers fled Washington ahead of an imaginary invasion.”
Mr Carlson spoke after five people died as a result of the attacks on the US Capitol January 6, when right-wing extremist supporters of the former president breached security measures and attacked police officers in an apparent attempt to stop Congress from certifying Mr Trump’s defeat in the 2020 elections.
The US Intelligence Community and security officials have warned of continued threats against the Capitol and lawmakers from extremist right-wing groups like Proud Boys, with some suggesting an apparent attack might have been planned for Thursday.
Mr Carlson noted how the FBI posted a bulletin about the apparent security threats and appeared to mock the security surrounding the government building after no violence was reported this week.
QAnon has been described as a dangerous conspiracy theory with a history of violence linked to its false belief that a ring of satanic pedophiles control the world. Former supporters of the theory say they were slowly radicalized while watching videos on social media that contained outright falsities about the 2020 election.