Geraldo Rivera spoke out against his Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson on Thursday for the primetime star’s upcoming conspiratorial documentary on the Jan. 6 insurrection, lamenting that Carlson is peddling “inflammatory and outrageous” rhetoric in an effort to “provoke.”
Carlson, who has long downplayed the violent Capitol riots as nothing more than a “political protest that got out of hand,” previewed his new three-part series, titled Patriot Purge and premiering next week on Fox Nation, the network’s online streaming service.
“The U.S. government has in fact launched a new war on terror, but it’s not against al Qaeda, it’s against American citizens,” Carlson asserted before airing a teaser on Wednesday night. “Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of our country. This is an attack on core civil liberties and it’s essential that you know what’s happening and that you resist it.”
Amid a dramatic and ominous music score, the Patriot Purge trailer featured a number of subjects warning that “the left is hunting the right” and “we are dealing with an insurgency in the United States.” Carlson himself laments that “the helicopters have left Afghanistan, and now they’re here at home.”
The lengthy special will also apparently include a sympathetic interview with prominent “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, who quickly went into hiding after the post-rally riot he helped orchestrate turned violent. Alexander has since been subpoenaed by the congressional committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection. It also features Darren Beattie, a former Trump White House speechwriter who was fired after attending a white nationalist conference.
But the portion of the intentionally provocative clip that almost certainly sparked the most outrage centered on one interview subject proclaiming that “false flags have happened before in this country,” adding that “one of which may have been Jan. 6.” In recent months, Carlson has suggested that the FBI incited and orchestrated the Capitol riot. The theory has been repeatedly debunked.
Speaking to The New York Times on Thursday, Rivera echoed much of the backlash that Carlson has received from lawmakers, journalists, and political observers.
“Tucker’s wonderful, he’s provocative, he’s original, but—man oh man,” he declared to the Times. “There are some things that you say that are more inflammatory and outrageous and uncorroborated.”
The veteran Fox News correspondent-at-large added: “And I worry that—and I’m probably going to get in trouble for this—but I’m wondering how much is done to provoke, rather than illuminate.”
He also took to Twitter on Thursday to call “bullshit” on the documentary’s suggestion that Jan. 6 was a “false flag.”
Rivera further criticized Carlson for “messing around with Jan. 6 stuff,” stating that it appeared to be “pretty damn clear” that the Capitol riot was “incited and encouraged and unleashed by Donald Trump.”
At the same time, he said he didn’t “want to go there” when asked by the Times if he would urge Fox News executives to reconsider airing Carlson’s Fox Nation series, stating “that’s not my job.”
Rivera, who had considered himself a longtime personal friend of Trump’s, has been outspokenly critical of the disgraced former president’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” due to widespread voter fraud. In fact, Rivera supported Trump’s second impeachment for inciting the insurrection, saying losing made Trump “crazy.”
Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.