Carlson, whose embrace of paranoid, racist and false conspiracy theories has grown stronger over the past year, made the remarks on his show on Wednesday night during a segment about Mr Jones’s subpoena from the committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.
“Now the committee has decided to shut down one of the most popular journalists on the right, Alex Jones,” Carlson said. “Yes, journalist. Jones is often mocked for his flamboyance, but the truth is he’s been a far better guide to reality in recent years – in other words, a far better journalist – than, say, NBC News national security correspondent Ken Dilanian or Margaret Brennan of CBS.”
Claiming that the committee is threatening Mr Jones with jail time because he “makes fun of Joe Biden”, Carlson insisted that “Alex Jones isn’t simply innocent of inciting crime on 6 January; Alex Jones actively worked to prevent crimes from taking place on 6 January.
“We’re not running interference for Alex Jones, and we’re not guessing about it. We happen to know this for a fact.”
Carlson backed this up with reference to his three-part documentary Patriot Purge, which has been shown on streaming service Fox Nation. The documentary advances the false conspiracy theory that the 6 January attack was incited and staged by federal government agents as part of a “war on terror 2.0” – a plot to crack down on conservative Americans and imprison them en masse.
This account of the insurrection is contradicted by the testimony of hundreds of rioters who have described participating of their own accord in support of Donald Trump.
Carlson’s defence of Mr Jones was met with disgust and ridicule.
Mr Jones, a longtime right-wing agitator with a history of bizarre behaviour and a long record of promoting sometimes violent disinformation, has been subpoenaed to testify before the 6 January Select Committee because the panel’s members believe they have “credible evidence” he was involved in the events it is examining.
In a letter accompanying the subpoena, committee chair Bennie Thompson told Mr Jones that “as you have stated, the White House told you on or about January 3, 2021, that after the Ellipse rally ended on January 6th, you were to lead a march to the Capitol, where President Trump would meet the group. You did in fact march from the Ellipse rally to the Capitol... When you arrived at the Capitol, you were recorded telling people not to be violent and to gather on the east side of the Capitol to hear President Trump speak.”
Mr Jones has claimed he had no advance knowledge of the events that took place at the Capitol. He has previously confirmed he contributed funds to Mr Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally outside the White House before the riot.
The subpoena the committee served Mr Jones came not long after he lost two lawsuits brought against him by the parents of children killed at the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut, which Mr Jones many times claimed was a “false flag” event involving “crisis actors” rather than real children.
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