On Wednesday, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released a huge cache of documents, including witness interviews and police reports, related to last fall’s mass shooting at a music festival on the Vegas Strip.
The evidence began to shed light, for the first time, on the motivations of Stephen Paddock, the shooter who killed 58 people and injured nearly 1,000 others.
The document dump was the culmination of months of court battles between LVPD and a consortium of news outlets, who sued the police department under Freedom of Information Act laws after local authorities refused to release the findings of their investigation, which is still ongoing.
One notable media personality was curiously silent about this week’s revelations.
A month after the shooting, right wing Fox News host Tucker Carlson began openly questioning why the public knew so little about the incident.
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) November 3, 2017
So began a monthslong crusade by Carlson and others on the far right to leverage the deadliest massacre of civilians in U.S history and use it to slander local police, attack immigrants and Muslims, and question the competence of the intelligence community.
Carlson began his show on November 2 by posing a series of questions centered on a simple premise: “For months we have been asking basic questions about what happened, most of which remain unanswered tonight.”
Not content to wait for answers, Carlson proceeded to fill the void with a series of his own conspiratorial theories, disguised to appear as though he were simply asking questions. He gave particular focus to security guard Jesus Campos, “questioning” why he spent several days in Mexico a week after the shooting. (Answer: after having been shot by Paddock and hailed as a hero for helping police find the room, he spent two days visiting family). In January, Carlson invited Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) to appear as a guest on his show, where he claimed — without a shred of evidence — that the shooting was connected to both Islamic extremism and illegal immigration.
“Recently I’ve been made aware of what I believe to be credible evidence, credible information regarding potential terrorist infiltration through the southern border regarding this incident,” Perry told Carlson. “Terrorist connections,” repeated Carlson, making sure his audience was sufficiently primed.
Imagine Carlson’s delight this week to finally have access to thousands of pages of evidence about Paddock and his motivations. And yet, as of Friday, Carlson hadn’t said a word about it.
Perhaps that’s because the evidence paints a very different picture than the one Carlson would like his audience to believe. Paddock does indeed appear to have been radicalized, though not by agents of the Islamic State, as Carlson insinuated, but by anti-government extremists on the far-right. Multiple witnesses recalled encounters with Paddock in which he espoused pro-gun talking points and lashed out angrily about famous government confrontations in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
Paddock also told one witness, weeks before the shooting, of his belief that the government was plotting to use the Federal Emergency Management Agency to seize everyone’s guns. And he suggested that sacrifices needed to be made in order to convince the American people of the need to arm themselves.
Despite this, Carlson has only tweeted twice since the LVPD released their findings, both times to promote his aptly titled book, Ship of Fools. On both his official and Tucker Carlson Tonight Facebook pages, the host similarly promoted his forthcoming book release, and posted clips from his show on Thursday night, in which he complained about Democrats “defending” MS-13 and debated with “liberal Canadians.”