Tucker Carlson’s No Good, Very Bad Week
It’s been a shit week for Tucker Carlson, and it’s not over yet.
Monday and Tuesday were dominated by bipartisan criticism against the host for his transparent attempt to rewrite the reality of Jan. 6. After spending weeks combing through more than 44,000 hours of Capitol security footage from the Jan. 6 riots, Carlson’s lies about the tape were too sloppy for even Republican leadership to defend.
On Tuesday night a new set of evidentiary documents related to the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit against Fox dropped, catching Carlson in the crosshairs.
In the filing, Carlson and his fellow primetime hosts congratulate each other over the power they hold at Fox, and disparage their colleagues. Carlson even goes so far as to ask host Sean Hannity to help get one the network’s White House correspondents fired.
Text messages with colleagues also revealed Carlson admitting that he “passionately” hates former President Trump, and expressing relief at his impending ousting from office. The host concedes that there’s no truth to Trump’s claims of fraud and election theft. “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights” he writes, “I truly can’t wait.”
The new documents put the disingenuousness of Fox’s headline host on full display, with receipts exposing the contempt he holds for his audience and coworkers. Now, the network frontman has no choice but to power through it.
On Wednesday night Carlson delivered a rare segment praising Trump for his “bold” new 2024 platform. We can only guess if that segment was suggested by Fox executives already straining to save their degrading relationship with the former President.
Last week, Trump had a veritable meltdown over a deposition given by Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch in the course of the Dominion lawsuit. Murdoch admitted that hosts on the network aired false claims about the election and alleged voter fraud, and that company executives could have intervened to prevent their broadcast.
With every document release stemming from the lawsuit and every episode Carlson airs in its aftermath, Murdoch’s admission comes into clearer focus. While the lawsuit focuses on conspiracy theories regarding Dominion that were aired and promoted by the network, the implications of Fox’s election misinformation are far more consequential than a potential damages check. Despite it all, the network still can’t stop its biggest stars from confidently lying on air.
On Monday night, Carlson reasserted the now ubiquitous conservative belief that the “2020 election was a grave betrayal of American democracy given the facts that have since emerged about that election. No honest person can deny it.” The same claim fueled the Jan. 6 rioters attempt to prevent President Joe Biden from being certified as president-elect—a claim we now know Carlson privately acknowledged was untrue.
Carlson then spent every night of this week quadrupling down on his efforts to recast the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol as an unjust persecution of “meek and orderly” tourists, who treated the Capitol with “reverence.”
Nevermind the people who smeared shit on the walls, or the more than $1.5 million in damage done to the building.
“We hate vandalism, we hate assault,” Carlson told viewers Wednesday. “Was it a violent insurrection? It was not.”
Despite having access to tens of thousands of hours of footage, Carlson’s tirade was barely fruitful. The host immediately fell back to tried and true, largely debunked claims about figures like Officer Brian Sicknick, and “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley.
Determined to stretch his Jan. 6 propaganda into a multi-day spectacle, Carlson has, as usual, devoted a significant amount of time to lambasting his critics. He called lawmakers, including members of his own party, who pushed back on his lies “sociopaths” in league with the Democrats. Carlson also insisted that it was actually everyone else who was cherry-picking footage to “convince Americans that Jan. 6 was something that it wasn’t.”
Fox and Carlson are experts at dodging accountability, a well cultivated habit that has allowed them to deliver bold-faced lies to their audiences for years. All throughout, the internal dynamics of the network have been shrouded in rumors and tidbits from unnamed sources willing to give a quote. Through the release of the Dominion documents, a level of transparency Fox would have never voluntarily agreed to has been achieved, and it looks like Carlson’s pants are being flamed to a crisp.
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