The right-wing commentator was one of the most high-profile supporters of Donald Trump’s administration, repeatedly defending the then-president’s actions while attacking Democrats on his nightly talk show.
Since the 6 January riot, Carlson has started to downplay the threat posed by QAnon conspiracy theorists and others who violently stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election result.
In its simplest form, the conspiracy theory claims without evidence that there is a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophile that has been running a child sex-trafficking ring while plotting against Trump during his time in office.
Although Carlson does not explictly support QAnon on his show, his defence of the movement has ranged from denying that it actually exists to arguing that its supporters have been misrepresented.
You can find examples of his comments below:
Carlson claims he can’t find any evidence of QAnon
The Fox News host was widely-mocked in February for claiming that his show could not find any evidence to show that QAnon existed, despite the FBI publishing a report warning that the conspiracy theory was a potential source of domestic terrorism.
“We spent all day trying to locate the famous QAnon, which in the end we learned is not even a website. If it’s out there, we could not find it,” Carlson told his viewers.
Carlson suggests politicians are trying to ‘control what you believe’
In response to warnings about the dangers of QAnon in January, Carlson described the conspiracy theory as a “forbidden idea” and suggested that criticism of the movement was a form of authoritarian government censorship.
“No democratic government can ever tell you what to think. Your mind belongs to you. It is yours and yours alone,” he said after playing a series of warnings about the conspiracy theory on news channels.
“Once politicians attempt to control what you believe, they are no longer politicians. They are, by definition, dictators – and if they succeed in controlling what you believe, you are no longer a citizen, you are no longer a free man, you are a slave.”
Carlson suggests QAnon supporters are ‘gentle people’
Just two weeks after claiming the movement did not exist, Carlson suggested in March that QAnon supporters were simply “gentle people waving American flags”.
“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, maybe they’re kind of confused with the wrong ideas, but they’re all kind of gentle people now waving American flags?” the Fox News host said.
However, the FBI revealed in May 2019 that it had made a number of arrests related to QAnon and warned it was likely that the conspiracy theory could occasionally drive “both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts”.
Carlson defends ‘Q Shaman’
Also in March, the Fox News host defended the so-called QAnon Shaman who was arrested following the Capitol riot – in which he wore a Native American war bonnet and American flag face-paint.
The man, real name Jacob Chansley, has been charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds”.
However, Carlson downplayed his actions by claiming that he merely “sang a song, then he spread some good vibes, and then he waved at the officers in the Capitol”...
These incidents are not the only times that the Fox News host has dabbled in conspiracy theories as he also pushed climate change denial in September 2020 while commenting on major wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington.
“Climate change, they said, caused these fires. They didn’t explain how exactly that happened. How did climate change do that? In the hands of Democratic politicians, climate change is like systemic racism in the sky. You can’t see it, but rest assured, it’s everywhere and it’s deadly.”
Carlson was also accused of pushing “anti-vaxxer talking points” this week when he questioned the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines – despite regulators in the US, UK and EU declaring them safe and effective for public use...