Eight of Diamonds: Putin Fanboy, podcaster Tucker Carlson

 

“It’s important not only for Fox News viewers, but for the network’s hosts and top executives, to hear former Vice President Cheney‘s warning about the ongoing danger Donald Trump and his lies pose to our constitutional republic.” 

– Jeremy Adler, spokesman for former Vice President Dick Cheney

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/10/dick-cheney-ad-air-fox-news-bringing-stinging-crit/

 

. . . and another one bites the dust . . .

 

2024:

Putin Says He Was Not Impressed by Tucker Carlson

“Sincerely speaking, I didn’t fully enjoy this interview,” the Russian leader said this week.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/putin-says-he-was-not-impressed-by-tucker-carlson

 

2023:

Earlier today [April 24, 2023], Fox “News” announced that it is parting ways with Tucker Carlson — its most popular prime-time host.

Tell Tucker Carlson:

Good riddance. You have gotten rich peddling lies, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and cultural grievance. You have hurt untold numbers of people and made our country worse. Just go away now.

Add your name.

Thanks for taking action.

For progress,

– Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen

 

“These were not insurrectionists. They were sightseers,” Carlson said.

[Fox News] went to “war footing” to “protect the brand.  “For example, when FNC reporter Jacqui Heinrich accurately fact checked a Trump tweet, correcting him by saying that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “[t]here is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously…. What the f*ck? I’m actually shocked…. It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company.The stock price is down. Not a joke.” 

Tucker Carlson repeated the line about a “rigged election” after the Brasilia attack, adding, “Millions of people in Brazil understand exactly what happened. They know their democracy has been hijacked possibly forever.”

2022:

Opinion: Hey, Tucker Carlson, are you still rooting for Russia over Ukraine? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/05/donald-trump-tucker-carlson-gop-loyal-putin-russia-war-ukraine/

2021: 

Two days before Jan. 6, Carlson texted someone,“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait.”  “I hate him passionately.” “We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest.

“Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night pandered to and seemingly defended QAnon, the violently unhinged conspiracy theory whose adherents believe that a deep state cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiliac cannibals is plotting against former President Donald Trump.” thedailybeast.com, January 25, 2021

2020: 

Tucker Carlson Falsely Claims ‘Election Was Seized From the Hands of Voters’ (Video), https://www.thewrap.com/tucker-carlson-falsely-claims-election-was-seized-from-the-hands-of-voters-video/

2019: 

In August (2019), Carlson says white supremacy is a “hoax”. washingtonpost.com, August 7, 2019

2018: 

Carlson says immigrants would make the country “poorer and dirtier.”  businessinsider.com, Sept. 27, 2019

Tucker Carlson’s ‘Dead Voters’ Report Has Embarrassingly Blown Up in His Face. . thedailybeast,com Nov. 18, 2020

 

. . .  how recklessly Carlson peddled election lies and global fascism in the service of his short-lived celebrity.

 

Tucker Carlson Thinks Alex Jones Is a Supernatural Prophet

The former Fox News host went all woo woo during a recent appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/tucker-carlson-tells-joe-rogan-that-alex-jones-is-a-supernatural-prophet

 

Putin Says He Was Not Impressed by Tucker Carlson

“Sincerely speaking, I didn’t fully enjoy this interview,” the Russian leader said this week.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/putin-says-he-was-not-impressed-by-tucker-carlson

 

5 things to know about Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin

[Excerpt:]

Russian President Vladimir Putin used an interview he granted to pundit Tucker Carlson this week to spread propaganda about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, criticize the United States and justify his crackdown on independent media coverage of the Kremlin.  

Why the Kremlin Opened Its Doors to Tucker Carlson

The former Fox News host has spent nearly the past two years defending Vladimir Putin and souring Republican support for Ukraine.

[Excerpt:}

In Carlson’s telling, Putin’s Russia is a defender of Christendom, standing steadfastly against the anti-Christian West.

Carlson has also been sympathetic to Putin throughout his war with Ukraine, often producing monologues so favorable to Russia that its state-run outlets translate and rebroadcast them. 

Indeed, while discussing Russo-Ukrainian tensions in 2019, Carlson declared on Fox News: “Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”

The West’s self-deception on Ukraine should not extend to Hungary’s Orban

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/12/26/orban-ukraine-europe-threat-west-hungary/

[Excerpts:]

The risk of that particular self-deception has metastasized largely because of one man: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has made no secret of his intent to destroy Western unity on Ukraine.

It matters little that Orban has driven Hungary’s economy into a ditch, or that its economic output and population of 10 million are tiny fractions of the E.U.’s total. What counts is that Hungary, Putin’s Trojan horse in the heart of Europe, has weaponized the E.U.’s rules on Moscow’s behalf.

Orban, a darling of U.S. Republicans, has gutted Hungary’s democracy and made a sham of baseline E.U. expectations of its members: judicial independence, media freedom, minority rights, fair elections and tolerance.

That tragedy, for Hungarians and for Europe, will become farce next summer when Hungary takes over the rotating E.U. presidency, a role that grants Orban agenda-setting powers for a six-month term.

That bully pulpit will afford him the chance to embarrass the E.U. by showcasing his obstructionism, especially on Ukraine. But the broader threat he represents inside the alliance is real owing to the E.U.’s antiquated voting rules, including the requirement of unanimity of all member states on security and finance questions.

 

The Untold Story of How Tucker Carlson Flunked Out at Fox News

In this week’s edition of Confider, we reveal the previously unreported story how an international Tucker trip pissed off bosses.

[Excerpt:]

And Tucker Carlson’s lengthy rap sheet of insubordination with Fox News brass extended way beyond his election conspiracy-mongering and into international politics.

These are some of the revelations unearthed in Brian Stelter’s new book, Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy, due out next Tuesday, parts of which were shared exclusively with Confider.

Elsewhere in Network of Lies, Stelter reveals another previously unreported instance in which Tucker Carlson deliberately usurped the authority of his Fox News bosses and further contributed to his eventual exit.

The far-right firebrand star’s 2021 visit to Budapest, where he filmed an entire week of shows fawning over Hungary’s autocratic presidentViktor Orbán, was done entirely without Fox permission, an executive involved with the situation told Stelter, who further writes: “A tug-of-war was under way between people of good faith and all parties who wanted to protect American democracy, and those on the other side of the rope who tugged in an authoritarian direction. Carlson’s unapproved trip to Hungary in 2021 was surely in the latter category. Carlson whipped his show up into an infomercial for Viktor Orbán’s increasingly autocratic, patriarchal nation.”

The disgraced Fox host was set to return to Hungary for CPAC’s Budapest gathering in 2022, Stelter reports, “but someone at Fox, I was told,
reined him in, and he merely sent a videotaped message.” In return, “Orbán praised Carlson and said ‘programs like his should be broadcasted day and night. Or as you say 24/7.’” Neither Carlson nor a rep for Fox News responded to requests for comment.

 

Trump lashes out at Fox News, Bill Barr

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/trump-lashes-out-at-fox-news-bill-barr-chris-christie-in-tucker-carlson-interview-highlights/

[Excerpts:]

Former President Trump lashed out at a number of his favorite targets Wednesday night during an interview with ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson meant to compete with the first GOP presidential debate that the 2024 GOP front-runner skipped.

Trump criticized Fox News, the network televising the debate, rival candidate Chris Christie and his former Attorney General Bill Barr during the 46-minute interview that was pre-taped at Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., property. Here are some of the highlights.

Carlson asks Trump if he thinks someone is plotting to kill him

Carlson, about 20 minutes into the conversation, asked Trump if he fears for his safety based on the criminal investigations he faces and criticism he takes from Democrats and media figures.

“It started with protests against you … and then it moved to impeachment twice and now indictment,” Carlson said. “I mean the next stage is violence. Are you worried that they’re going to try and kill you? Why wouldn’t they try and kill you? Honestly.”

“I think the people of our country don’t get enough credit for how smart they are,” Trump said, before calling the criminal indictments he faces “bullshit.”

Trump has been indicted four times in connection with his personal business dealings, handling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump on Jan. 6 and political violence

Carlson asked Trump if he felt the country was moving toward “civil war,” which prompted the former president to invoke Jan. 6, when rioters stormed the Capitol to try and halt the certification of the 2020 election results.

“There’s tremendous passion and there’s tremendous love. You know, Jan. 6 was a very interesting day because they don’t report it properly. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken before,” Trump said.

Trump said a “very small group” went down to the Capitol, but argued there was “love and unity” in the crowd.

“I have never seen such spirit, and such passion, and such love, and I’ve also never seen, simultaneously and from the same people, such hatred of what they’ve done to our country,” Trump said.

[Boldface added]

 

Trump vs. the Murdoch empire, part XVII

RACHAEL BADE AND EUGENE DANIELS

With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

August 19. 2023

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2023/08/19/trump-vs-the-murdoch-empire-part


[Excerpt:]


While we often point out that making the debate stage is the most important hurdle for any Republican aspirant running in the primaries, hosting a presidential primary debate is enormously important to television networks. But for the Murdoch empire, beset by upstart rivals, it is existential.

RUPERT MURDOCH and DONALD TRUMP are the two most important sources of information for Republican voters, and in the last eight years they have waged war for supremacy. Sometimes they use each other (Trump gets airtime, Fox gets ratings), sometimes they are closely aligned (as in a general election against the Democrats), and sometimes they are openly hostile to one another (during primary season in 2015-2016 and again today when Fox and other Murdoch entities search for an alternative to Trump).

As with other power centers of the modern GOP that have not fully embraced MAGA, such as the Senate Republican leadership, Trump is again attacking Fox News with the same fury — and weird specificity — that he usually reserves for political rivals.

Here’s Trump on Thursday:

“Why doesn’t Fox and Friends show all of the Polls where I am beating Biden, by a lot. They just won’t do it! Also, they purposely show the absolutely worst pictures of me, especially the big ‘orange’ one with my chin pulled way back. They think they are getting away with something, they’re not. Just like 2016 all over again…And then they want me to debate!”

Trump’s apparent decision to skip the debate and instead do an interview with the ousted Fox host TUCKER CARLSON — who was the most pro-MAGA personality on the network even if he personally despises Trump himself — has to be seen in the context of this Murdoch-Trump war. [Boldface added]

Trump’s intention is not just to upstage the other candidates. His intention is to damage Fox in the one metric that Murdoch and Trump both understand best: ratings.

The new fissure dividing the GOP
 POLITICO Playbook
July 15, 2023
Yesterday in Des Moines, the major Republican presidential candidates (minus DONALD TRUMP) attended the Family Leadership Summit, which chose TUCKER CARLSON to act as the event’s host and moderator. Normally, these cattle calls feature a friendly questioner who allows the candidates time to deliver their stump lines and outline some differences with their rivals. That was not Carlson’s approach.

Instead, the former Fox News host interrogated the Republicans for being insufficiently Carlsonesque on the war in Ukraine, immigration, Jan. 6, Covid vaccines and transgender rights. (Boldface added.)

Tucker Carlson, before he was sidelined by Fox, repeatedly endorsed a conspiracy theory about an Arizona man, who may sue for defamation. Legal experts say it would be a viable case.

Jeremy W. Peters and 

[Excerpt:]

Of all the distortions and paranoia that Tucker Carlson promoted on his since-canceled Fox News program, one looms large: a conspiracy theory that an Arizona man working as a covert government agent incited the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol to sabotage and discredit former President Donald J. Trump and his political movement.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/10/business/media/fox-news-defamation-ray-epps-tucker-carlson.html

 

Tucker Carlson is Back on His Bullshit in First Twitter Show

NEW PLATFORM, SAME TUCKER

The fired Fox News host accused Ukraine of “probably” destroying a major dam and power plant within its own borders.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/tucker-carlson-is-back-on-his-bullsht-in-first-twitter-show

DAVID FRENCH

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/07/opinion/tucker-carlson-christian-right.html

[Excerpt:]

The great tragedy is that a moment of dangerous national polarization is exactly when a truly Christian message that combines the pursuit of justice with kindness and humility would be a balm to the national soul. A time of extraordinary social isolation, when people report less companionship, less time with friends and less time with family, is exactly the time when a healthy church community can be a beacon of inclusion and hope.

But not when the right-wing pursuit of its version of justice overwhelms its commitment to kindness, much less any shred of humility. This is how the religious right becomes post-Christian. Its “secular prophets” become even more influential than its Christian leaders, and it actively discards clear biblical commands for what it perceives to be the greater good.

That’s not Christianity. It’s a primitive form of consequentialism, the idea that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences. Many Christians fear that kindness doesn’t work, so they discard it. This is how even decency itself becomes a secondary value. Aggression, not virtue, becomes the touchstone of political engagement, and anything other than aggression is seen as a sign of weakness.

Tucker Carlson text on ‘how white men fight’ alarmed Fox board members

The board overseeing Fox News was so alarmed by the prime-time host’s text message that it planned to hire a law firm to investigate his behavior

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2023/05/02/tucker-carlson-text-message-white-men-fight/

[Excerpt:]

On the eve of what was expected to be the most closely watched defamation trial in a generation, the board of Fox Corp. last month reviewed a text message that Tucker Carlson, a prime-time star on Fox News, had sent to one of his producers in early 2021.

In the message, he described himself watching a video of Donald Trump supporters beating up someone he referred to as “an Antifa kid.” Carlson wrote of his conflicting emotions, hinting at his dismay that he had found himself “rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him.”

But in the most startling passage, Carlson asserted flatly that “jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight.”

After seeing the message, the board alerted Fox executives that it planned to retain a law firm to investigate Carlson’s behavior, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive discussions.

 

Nobody Sold Out Harder Than Tucker Carlson

The Gen X culture warrior said a lot of terrible things he didn’t believe because he thinks his audience is stupid—and he thirsts for money and clout.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/nobody-sold-out-harder-than-tucker-carlson

 

What Tucker Carlson said about Trump in private texts vs. on Fox News

[Excerpt:]
But his on-air rhetoric was in dramatic opposition to private sentiments he shared with colleagues, in which he professed to “passionately” hate Trump and yearn for the end of his presidency. Those private communications, which were released as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News, showed how Carlson struggled to publicly support the president’s false voter-fraud theories that he privately scoffed at.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

April 1, 2023 

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Also today, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis ruled in favor of Dominion Voting Systems in a key point of the company’s lawsuit against the Fox News Corporation for defamation. The ruling also established the central point for dismissing the story that Trump had won the 2020 election. Davis wrote—in italics—“The evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that [it] is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” 

The Fox News Corporation had argued that the false statements of its hosts claiming that the voting system had thrown the 2020 presidential election to Biden were not defamatory because they were opinions. In his decision the judge went through the statements, calling out 20 occasions on which lies were stated as facts and similar occasions on which deliberately omitted material changed the meaning of what was presented. 

The judge has determined that the hosts’ statements were false. Now the case will go to a jury trial in April to determine whether Fox hosts knew they were lying and whether Dominion sustained damages from the defamation. The company is suing for $1.6 billion.

 

Casualties Of Carlson Come For Revenge

Ray Epps is a 60-something former Marine who lives in the mountains, loves Donald Trump and who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 to seek solidarity with those who believed the lies Trump, Fox News and others were spreading about a stolen election.

He’s hardly the type of guy you’d expect to take legal action against Fox News’ biggest star, host Tucker Carlson. 

But Carlson did him super dirty. 

With the help of Trump allies who were looking for anyone and anything to blame for the violent attack on the Capitol besides Trump, Epps became the MAGA crowd’s number one scapegoat for conspiracy theories about the Deep State being behind the insurrection. And Carlson brought much of the agent-provocateur madness to a national audience with segments about the attack that painted Epps as some sort of undercover agent who riled up the masses and encouraged innocent Trump supporters to storm the Capitol. 

Of course, that wasn’t true. Carlson and others seized upon footage of Epps on the night of Jan. 5 encouraging fellow protesters to go inside the Capitol building as rationale for their claims that innocent MAGA fans had been set up by the feds. Epps was also seen moving past the barricades with the crowd on Jan. 6, but never went inside the building himself. In fact, he went to some lengths to try to get people in the crowd to calm down. 

But the footage of Epps, combined with his military background and the fact that he was never charged for his actions on Jan. 6 were enough to feed the Carlson fever swamps for months on end. As The Washington Post noted, Epps’ name has been mentioned on Fox News more than 160 times in the past two years.

And now, Epps is demanding an apology. 

Epps’ lawyer sent a letter to Carlson on Thursday, demanding a retraction of the false statements the Fox News host has made about Epps being an undercover operative and requesting a “formal on-air apology for the lies.”

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

March 8, 2023

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

On Monday, Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson, who has found himself badly exposed by the Dominion filings, threw himself back into the Trump camp. He showed a false version of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, suggesting it was a mostly peaceful tourist visit rather than the deadly riot it actually was. Carlson’s false narrative was possible because House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gave Carlson exclusive access to more than 40,000 hours of video taken in the Capitol on that fateful January 6, illustrating that there is no daylight between the lies of the Fox News Channel and the House Republican leadership. 

Outrage over that transaction has sparked a backlash. Former officer of the Metropolitan Police Michael Fanone, who was badly injured defending the Capitol on January 6, published an op-ed at CNN saying he knew for certain that Carlson’s version of that day was a lie. “I was there. I saw it. I lived it,” Fanone wrote. “I fought alongside my brother and sister officers to defend the Capitol. We have the scars and injuries to prove it.” 

Former representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) tweeted that if the House Republicans want new January 6th hearings, “bring it on. Let’s replay every witness & all the evidence from last year. But this time, those members who sought pardons and/or hid from subpoenas should sit on the dais so they can be confronted on live TV with the unassailable evidence.”

Senate Republicans also spoke out against Carlson’s lies. Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) aligned himself with Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, who called Carlson’s piece “offensive.” McConnell said: “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks.”

Democrats, along with the White House, also condemned Carlson’s video. White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said the White House supported the Capitol Police and lawmakers from both parties who condemned “this false depiction of the unprecedented, violent attack on our Constitution and the rule of law—which cost police officers their lives.” Bates went on: “We also agree with what Fox News’s own attorneys and executives have now repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law: That Tucker Carlson is not credible.”

But McCarthy says he does not regret giving Carlson access to the tapes, and Carlson indicated that anyone who objected to the false narrative he put forward on Monday had revealed themselves as being allied against the Republican base. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-KY) are organizing a visit for members of Congress to visit the jail where defendants charged with crimes relating to the January 6th riot are behind held. In the past, Greene called those defendants “political prisoners of war.” 

3 early takeaways from the new Dominion-Fox lawsuit documents

Fox was a hotbed of backbiting, and its vaunted news division wasn’t as neutral as it claimed to be

[Excerpts:]

Other key comments come from Fox host Tucker Carlson. We knew previously that he privately warned that Trump “could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.” What we didn’t know was that he was speaking in the context of Trump’s business ventures.

Someone tells him, “One [sic] the bright side — Trump has a pretty low rate at success in his business ventures.”

Carlson responded: “All of them fail. What he’s good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong. It’s so obvious.”

At other points, both Murdoch and Carlson seemed to long for when Trump would be gone.

Two days before Jan. 6, Carlson texted someone, “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait.”

He added, “I hate him passionately,” and then, of Trump’s four years in office: “We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn’t an upside to Trump.” [Boldface added]

 

Tucker Carlson amplifies Jan. 6 lies with GOP-provided video

Mar. 7, 2023

Watching Tucker Carlson for Work
According to Kat Abughazaleh, a research for Media Matters for America, “You don’t know Fox News until you are watching it for a job”.Clare Malone

Feb. 25, 2023

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-communications/watching-tucker-carlson-for-work?

[Excerpts:]

Fox News has been the country’s most watched cable channel for twenty-one years. That impressive streak belies how few Americans actually watch it—the network averaged 2.33 million viewers a night in 2022—but it remains something of a thought leader for the conservative movement. The network, its producers, and opinion hosts are adept at sussing out which culture-war wedge issues will keep viewers tuning in. Those viewers seem to represent the G.O.P.’s primary voter base—often older, more dedicated partisans—that has propelled increasingly extreme candidates into the mainstream over the past two decades. The network’s stars, such as Carlson, are savvy operators, eager to keep ratings up, even if what they’re peddling is patently false.

Abughazaleh films her roundups on Fridays and posts them to TikTok, where she’s building a following. Her most popular video, which includes a clip of a Fox News host comparing Washington, D.C., to Somalia, has just under a million views.

“I watch Tucker Carlson so you don’t have to,” the bio spaces of her social-media accounts read.

Abughazaleh has been professionally watching Carlson, who has around three million viewers a night, for nearly two years. “You don’t know Fox News until you are watching it for a job,” she said. “You see all these patterns emerge.” The Fox universe is a place with a different “news” sense than most of the country, she said—narratives about I.R.S. armies, food shortages, race wars, and predatory trans activists—but its niche story lines are likely predictive of what we’ll be talking about over the next two long campaign years. Though, in Abughazaleh’s view, Carlson has floundered a bit since the midterms. “I think he’s still kind of lost right now,” she said. “He’s not really sure what direction to take it.”

To Abughazaleh, the often ludicrous quality of Carlson’s show is exactly what makes it so dangerous.

“People need to know that the scary things are stupid as well,” she said. “They either go all in on ‘Oh, my God, this is so funny’ and ‘Fox News is technically entertainment,’ or they go all in on ‘This is so scary, blah blah blah.’ It’s both things. Two things can be true at once.”

At the same time, perhaps because she follows him so closely, Abughazaleh is skeptical of the conventional wisdom that Carlson is one of the most powerful people in the United States. She and the other Media Matters researchers all seemed convinced that it was more the 8 p.m. Fox time slot that bestowed power.

For millions of viewers, “it’s just a Pavlovian response to put on Fox News at eight o’clock,” Lawrence said. “Tucker needs the eight-o’clock hour on Fox News way more than Fox News needs Tucker.”

What Fox News Hosts Said Privately vs. Publicly About Voter Fraud

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/02/25/business/media/fox-news-dominion-tucker-carlson.html

Two days after the 2020 election, Tucker Carlson was furious.

Fox News viewers were abandoning the network for Newsmax and One America News, two conservative rivals, after Fox declared that Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Arizona, a crucial swing state.

In a text message with his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, Mr. Carlson appeared livid that viewers were turning against the network. The message was among those released last week as part of a lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox. Dominion, an elections technology company, has sued Fox News for defamation.

A graphic shows a text exchange from Carlson to Pfeiffer.
Carlson to Pfeiffer
We worked really hard to build what we have … It enrages me.

At the same time, Mr. Carlson and his broadcasting colleagues expressed grave doubts about an unfounded narrative rapidly gaining momentum among their core audience: that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Democrats through widespread voter fraud. The belief was promoted by then-President Trump and a coalition of lawyers, lawmakers and influencers, though they produced no evidence to support their assertions.

Many hosts, producers and executives privately expressed skepticism about those claims, even as they gave them significant airtime, according to private messages revealed last week by Dominion. What they said in those messages often differed significantly from what Fox hosts said in public, though they weren’t always contradictory.

Two days after the election, Mr. Pfeiffer said that voices on the right were “reckless demagogues,” according to a text message. Mr. Carlson replied that his show was “not going to follow them.”

A graphic shows a text exchange between Pfeiffer and Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 5, 2020
Pfeiffer to Carlson
It’s a hard needle to thread, but I really think many on ‘our side’ are being reckless demagogues right now.
Carlson to Pfeiffer
Of course they are. We’re not going to follow them.

But he did follow them. The same day, on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Mr. Carlson expressed some doubts about the voter fraud assertions before insisting that at least some of the claims were “credible.”

A graphic of a text exchange, followed by a video clip of Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 5, 2020
Carlson: “Not all the claims are credible — some are. … Serious questions about the legitimacy of ballots remained unanswered.”

In the days and weeks that followed, Mr. Carlson was one of several Fox News hosts who repeatedly took a different tone when speaking to viewers on air than when they were talking privately.

The private conversations pose a serious legal threat to the nation’s most-watched cable news network. Dominion has obtained thousands of emails and text messages from Fox employees as part of its $1.6 billion suit. The messages, taken as a whole, are at the core of Dominion’s case.

Fox News has argued in court that the First Amendment protects its right to broadcast false claims if they are inherently newsworthy — and in this case that there was nothing more newsworthy at the time than a sitting president’s allegations of widespread voter fraud.

In a statement, the company said that “the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution” and protected by legal precedent. It added, “Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”

But if a jury looks at the messages from Fox hosts, guests and executives and concludes that people inside the network knew what they were putting on the air was false, it could find Fox liable and reward Dominion with substantial financial damages.

On Nov. 7, 2020, Mr. Carlson told Mr. Pfeiffer that claims about manipulated software were “absurd.” Mr. Pfeiffer replied later that there was not enough evidence of fraud to swing the election.

A graphic of a text exchange between Pfeiffer and Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 7, 2020
Carlson to Pfeiffer
The software shit is absurd.
Nov. 8, 2020
Pfeiffer to Carlson
I dont think there is evidence of voter fraud that swung the election.

But during his broadcast on Nov. 9, Mr. Carlson devoted time to various theories, suggesting there could be merit to claims about software manipulation. “We don’t know, we have to find out,” he said.

A video clip of Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 9, 2020
Carlson: “We don’t know anything about the software that many say was rigged. … And you are not crazy for knowing it. You are right.”

Mr. Carlson also privately criticized Sidney Powell, a lawyer and conspiracy theorist who was gaining traction among the far right for her involvement in several lawsuits aimed at challenging the election results, the court filings show. Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, two hosts on Fox Business, a sister channel to Fox News that is also part of Dominion’s lawsuit, repeatedly invited Ms. Powell onto their shows as an expert on voter fraud claims.

A graphic of a text message from Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 16, 2020
Carlson to Pfeiffer
Sidney Powell is lying

Mr. Pfeiffer told Mr. Carlson over text message that election fraud claims, like those being made by Ms. Powell, “need to be backed up.” He warned that President Biden faced being undermined if he was eventually inaugurated.

Mr. Carlson agreed, the filings show.

A graphic of a text message from Carlson.
Said privately on Nov. 18, 2020
Carlson to Pfeiffer
Yep. It’s bad.

The next day, Mr. Carlson eviscerated Ms. Powell in a brutal 10-minute monologue, dissecting her claims as unreliable and unproven. He said the show had repeatedly asked her for evidence and, “when we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

A video of Carlson from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020
Carlson: “She never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one.”

In the same monologue, however, Mr. Carlson also gave some credence to Ms. Powell’s claims, saying that “we don’t dismiss anything anymore” and that he is “hopeful” she will come forward with evidence.

A video of Carlson from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020
Carlson: “We did not dismiss any of it. We don’t dismiss anything anymore.”

Viewers expressed outrage at Mr. Carlson for challenging a prominent Trump ally. And Mr. Trump’s associates quickly jumped to her defense.

Privately, Mr. Carlson continued to criticize Ms. Powell, calling her claims “shockingly reckless.” Mr. Pfeiffer and Mr. Carlson both privately called her a “nut.” Laura Ingraham, who is the host of a 10 p.m. show, and Raj Shah, a senior vice president at the Fox Corporation, the network’s corporate parent, were equally incredulous.

A graphic of several text messages from Raj Shah, Pfeiffer, Carlson and Ingraham.
Said privately on Nov. 22, 2020
Shah to Pfeiffer
so many people openly denying the obvious that Powell is clearly full of it.
Pfeiffer to Shah
She is a [expletive] nutcase.
Carlson to Ingraham
[Powell is] a nut, as you said at the outset. It totally wrecked my weekend. Wow… I had to try to make the WH disavow her, which they obviously should have done long before
Ingraham to Carlson
No serious lawyer could believe what they were saying.
Carlson to Ingraham
But they said nothing in public. Pretty disgusting.

The next day, Mr. Carlson appeared to soften his public stance, suggesting that some of the criticisms about voting machines had merit and concluding, “This is a real issue no matter who raises it.”

A video from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 23, 2020
Carlson: “This is a real issue no matter who raises it or who tries to dismiss it out of hand as a conspiracy theory.”

Mr. Carlson was far from alone in speaking about Ms. Powell in a different way in private than on the air.

Internally, anchors like Bret Baier appeared surprised to find Ms. Powell getting significant airtime on shows by Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Dobbs, the court filings show. On Nov. 6, 2020, after someone forwarded Mr. Dobbs’s interview with Ms. Powell, Mr. Baier replied:

A graphic of a text message from Baier.
Baier
“What is this? Oh man.”

The private messages also showed that Ms. Powell was in direct communication with Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Dobbs, and that she revealed one of the sources for her outrageous claims. The court filings showed that Ms. Powell forwarded an email about voter fraud to Ms. Bartiromo from the source, a woman who claimed, among other things, that “the Wind tells me I’m a ghost.”

If Ms. Bartiromo was deterred by the unusual email, it was not evident to Fox News viewers. Ms. Powell was interviewed on the show the next day.

A video from “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”
Said publicly on Nov. 8, 2020
Bartiromo: “We talked about the Dominion software. I know that there were voting irregularities. Tell me about that.”

Consternation over Ms. Powell grew behind the scenes at Fox News as her lawsuits were repeatedly dismissed by courts and her promises to produce concrete evidence of widespread voter fraud never materialized. Yet she was still getting airtime, and senior executives at the network appeared concerned.

Gary Schreier, a senior vice president of programming at Fox Business, said in a private message to Lauren Petterson, the president of Fox Business, that Ms. Bartiromo “has GOP conspiracy theorists in her ear and they use her for their message sometimes.”

Days later, Mr. Schreier received an email from Dominion Voting Systems containing links that refuted Ms. Powell’s voter fraud claims.

That night, Mr. Dobbs interviewed Ms. Powell about Dominion’s comments. But he also used the interview to reinforce her claims of fraud. Mr. Dobbs concluded that “this looks like the effort to carry out an endgame” against Mr. Trump. Ms. Bartiromo interviewed Ms. Powell again two days later.

A video from “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”
Said publicly on Nov. 13, 2020
Dobbs: “This is the culmination of what has been over a four-year effort to overthrow this president.”
Said publicly on Nov. 15, 2020
Bartiromo: “Attorney Sidney Powell is leading the charge against Dominion and she says she has enough evidence of fraud to launch a massive criminal investigation.”

Several Fox News hosts and producers were criticizing Ms. Powell, including John Fawcett, a producer on Mr. Dobbs’s show, who said he believed Ms. Powell was “doing LSD and cocaine and heroin and shrooms.”

A text message from Ingraham.
Said privately on Nov. 15, 2020
Ingraham to Hannity and Carlson
Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry but she is.

But those criticisms never made it to air. Instead, when Ms. Powell appeared again on Mr. Dobbs’s show days later, she was hailed as a “great American” and “one of the country’s leading appellate attorneys.”

A video from “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 19, 2020
Dobbs: “Our election is run by companies, the ownership of which we don’t know. Sidney Powell is among those trying to change all that.”

By late November, Mr. Fawcett became increasingly critical of Ms. Powell, according to the court filings. He concluded that she was not verifying her claims. On Nov. 27, 2020, he wrote that her lawsuits were “complete bs.”

Mr. Fawcett also told Mr. Dobbs that Mr. Trump’s legal team had disavowed her. Mr. Dobbs replied that he didn’t know what Ms. Powell was “thinking or doing, Or why!”

A graphic of text messages between Fawcett and Dobbs.
Said privately on Nov. 22, 2020
Fawcett to Dobbs
Could be losing her mind
Fawcett to Dobbs
I just don’t think she is verifying anything she is saying.

But over the next several days, Ms. Powell was invited back by Mr. Dobbs, who echoed her claims that “electoral fraud” was perpetrated by electronic voting machines, “prominently Dominion.”

Two videos from “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”
Said publicly on Nov. 24, 2020
Dobbs: “I think many Americans have given no thought to electoral fraud that would be perpetrated through electronic voting, that is these machines … prominently Dominion, at least in the suspicions of a lot of Americans.”
Said publicly on Nov. 30, 2020
Dobbs: “We have, across almost every state, whether it’s Dominion … whatever the voting machine company is — no one knows their ownership, has no idea what’s going on in those servers.”

The next month, after Smartmatic, a competitor of Dominion Voting Systems, sent a letter to Fox News signaling that litigation was imminent, the network put together a video package of an election expert debunking the conspiracy theories that suggested the company’s technology allowed the presidential vote to be rigged. It aired on the programs hosted by Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro.

On Feb. 5, 2021, one day after Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox, Fox Business canceled “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” At the time, Fox said it regularly reviewed its lineup. “Plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate postelection, including on Fox Business,” the network said.

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

February 20, 2023

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Meanwhile, Fox News Channel personalities, including Tucker Carlson, are trying to spin Biden’s visit to Ukraine as proof that he doesn’t care about the train derailment in Ohio. Scholar of disinformation behavior Caroline Orr Bueno noted: “There’s a narrative being planted here; watch how support for Ukraine is framed as incompatible with US national interests.” She notes that a similar narrative in Canada argues that support for Ukraine hurts Canadian veterans.

A filing in Dominion Voter Systems’ lawsuit against FNC for defamation revealed last week that FNC personalities knowingly lied to their viewers about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, acting as a propaganda outlet for Trump.

This information is a handy backdrop for the news reported today by Mike Allen of Axios, who says that House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has given to FNC host Carlson—who figured prominently in the election fraud lies—exclusive access to 41,000 hours of footage from the U.S. Capitol of the January 6, 2021, attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. According to Allen, Carlson’s producers have already begun going through it to see what they can use on his show.

Putin is scheduled to address the Russian Federal Assembly tomorrow. Billboards in Russia proclaim: “Russia’s border ends nowhere,” but observers believe that he was hoping for a major victory on a battlefield in Ukraine before the speech. Instead, Russian forces have taken severe losses in their recent stalled offensive in eastern Ukraine near Bakhmut.

 

TPM Morning Memo

February 20, 2023

Kevin McCarthy’s Secret Pact With Tucker Carlson

Just days after legal filings confirmed (as if we needed it) the corrupt core of the Fox News apparatus, we learned that the speaker of the House is giving special access to the Capitol’s security footage from Jan. 6 to none other than Tucker Carlson. The new but not surprising revelation came from Axios’ Mike Allen.

Twitter avatar for @toddzwillich

Todd Zwillich @toddzwillich
Extraordinary by any standard. McCarthy: -begged Trump to call off 1/6 rioters -told members Trump should resign, then -flew to MAL to rehab Trump -threatened cos that cooperate w 1/6 panel -reused to honor subpoena —>now using Carleson to erase the coup attempt & insurrection

Twitter avatar for @mikeallen

Mike Allen @mikeallen

NEW in @axios AM: @SpeakerMcCarthy has given @TuckerCarlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from 1/6 Carlson producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove Excerpts begin in coming weeks https://t.co/cJmD6MGsWE

3:05 PM ∙ Feb 20, 2023


Jan. 6 committee chair Bernie Thompson was having none of it:

Patricia Zengerle @ReutersZengerle
Statement from Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chaired the Jan6 committee, on @axios report @SpeakerMcCarthy is giving special access to Jan 6 videos to Fox host.
Image

11:14 PM ∙ Feb 20, 2023

Succinct headline: KEVIN MCCARTHY MAKES SENSITIVE SECURITY FOOTAGE AVAILABLE TO THE INSURRECTIONISTS’ PROPAGANDIST

 

McCarthy gives Tucker Carlson exclusive access to Jan. 6 riot video

Tom Jackman contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/02/21/tucker-carlson-kevin-mccarthy-jan-6-insurrection/

[Excerpts:]

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has provided exclusive access to a trove of U.S. Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has played down the deadly violence that occurred that day and claimed it was a “false flag” operation.

Carlson, the network’s most-watched prime-time host, has repeatedly cast doubt on official accounts of what happened on Jan. 6 shared last year by the House select committee. Instead, he has repeated baseless theories that the federal government instigated the attack and blasted the committee, even giving airtime to former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon hours after he had been convicted of contempt. Carlson produced a three-part documentary, “Patriot Purge,” advancing a false claim that FBI operatives were behind the assault and arguing that the Jan. 6 rioters were innocent.

Shortly after the Axios report, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a McCarthy ally who has called those facing charges for the Jan. 6 attack “political prisoners,” hailed the decision to provide the footage solely to Carlson while taking credit for her backing of McCarthy.

Trump has tried to blame Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the former speaker, for the Capitol breach, falsely suggesting that the absence of enough security to turn back the mob was her responsibility, not that of the commander in chief. He has also falsely claimed Pelosi rejected his order for 10,000 National Guard troops — something that never happened.

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), who was a member of the Jan. 6 committee, told The Washington Post’s Early 202 newsletter that the videos could be used by Carlson to prop up his misleading allegations.

“Undoubtedly he’ll be searching for any kind of shot that could support this deranged theory of what happened on January 6th,” Raskin said. “If you want to make tens of thousands of hours publicly available, then it should be available for all media, not for just one propaganda mouthpiece.”

 

MICHELLE GOLDBERG

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/17/opinion/fox-news-dominion

[Excerpts:]

The brief, a motion for summary judgment in a case stemming from Fox’s egregiously false claims of Dominion-abetted election fraud, offers a portrait of extravagant cynicism. It reveals how obsessed Carlson and other leading Fox News figures were with audience share, and their fear of being outflanked by even further-right outlets like Newsmax.

“It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things,” Bill Sammon, a Fox senior vice president until 2021, is quoted as saying. It’s a line that would fall flat on “Succession” because it’s too absurdly on the nose.

As the Dominion filing lays out, there was panic at Fox News over viewer backlash to the network correctly calling Arizona for Joe Biden on election night. Despite its accuracy, the call was viewed, internally, as a catastrophe.

“Do the executives understand how much credibility and trust we’ve lost with our audience?” Carlson texted his producer. He added, “An alternative like Newsmax could be devastating to us.” Sean Hannity, in an exchange with fellow hosts Carlson and Laura Ingraham, fretted about the “incalculable” damage the Arizona projection did to the Fox News brand and worried about a competitor emerging: “Serious $$ with serious distribution could be a real problem.”

Hyping false claims about election fraud was a way for Fox to win its audience back. While the Arizona call was “damaging,” Fox News C.E.O. Suzanne Scott wrote in a text to Fox executive Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son, “We will highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them.”

When Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked Trump’s wild claims about Dominion on Twitter, Carlson was enraged and tried to get her fired. “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight,” he texted Hannity. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” (Heinrich kept her job but deleted the tweet.)

The network knew, of course, that Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell, a chief promoter of Dominion conspiracy theories, was a delusional fantasist. The legal brief reveals that some of her claims about Dominion were based on an email Powell had received from someone who claimed to be capable of “time travel in a semiconscious state.” On Nov. 18, 2020, Carlson told Ingraham: “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. Caught her. It’s insane.” Ingraham wrote back that Powell was a “complete nut.”

But according to the Dominion brief, an analysis by Ron Mitchell, the senior vice president for prime-time programming and analytics, found that “Fox viewers were switching the channel specifically to watch Sidney Powell as a guest” on Newsmax. A few days after this analysis, Powell was a guest on Hannity’s show.

At one point, Carlson did express skepticism of Powell on-air, noting on Nov. 19 that she had never produced evidence for her claims. “Maybe Sidney Powell will come forward soon with details on exactly how this happened, and precisely who did it,” he said, adding, “We are certainly hopeful that she will.”

Even this gentle note of doubt produced viewer pushback, though most of a message about it from Fox executive Raj Shah is redacted. Afterward, Carlson seems to have given up trying to steer his audience away from total credulity about Trump’s stolen election claims, even though he privately called Trump a “demonic force.”

On Jan. 26, Carlson hosted MyPillow founder Mike Lindell on his show and let him sound off about Dominion without resistance. In fairness, Carlson may have had a motive for indulging Lindell besides grubbing for ratings. As Media Matters for America pointed out, MyPillow at the time was Carlson’s single biggest advertiser.

“Respecting this audience whether we agree or not is critical,” Hannity texted on Nov. 24. It’s a version of respect indistinguishable from contempt.

Peeling Fox’s Onion of Hypocrisy

Feb. 17, 2023
Fox News has, arguably, had worse days than Thursday. But not many. And the worst is undoubtedly yet to come.Do yourself a favor and take some time to peruse the massive email dump the News Gods in their beneficence granted us last night. The voting machine company, Dominion, is suing Fox for the Murdoch First Born and a gadzillion dollars (actually $1.6 billion) for its election-related fabrications and lies.Yesterday, we got a look at some of the evidence Dominion has gathered. In court filings seeking a summary judgment, the company laid out in granular detail its case that “literally dozens of people with editorial responsibility—from the top of the organization to the producers of specific shows to the hosts themselves—acted with actual malice.”It is like peeling an onion of duplicity, hypocrisy, and journalistic malpractice.

One dazzling detail: “[Sean] Hannity and [Tucker] Carlson tried to get Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fired for fact-checking a Trump tweet about Dominion and noting that there was no evidence of votes being destroyed.”“Please get her fired. Seriously… What the fuck?” Carlson texted Ingraham and Hannity on Nov. 12, 2020. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.

Not a joke at all.The Dominion filing is filled with quotes that document what the Fox folks knew about the utter bulls*t they were broadcasting and when they knew it:Each circumstantial factor cuts strongly in Dominion’s favor. But here, the words of multiple Fox employees provide overwhelming direct evidence of actual malice. In addition to the evidence cited above, the excerpts below feature just some of the additional examples showing Fox employees knew at the time that these claims—and the guests promoting them—were:

  • “ludicrous” –Tucker Carlson [11/20/20]
  • “totally off the rails” –Tucker Carlson [12/24/20]
  • “F’ing lunatics” –Sean Hannity [12/22/20]
  • “nuts” –Dana Perino [11/16/20]
  • “complete bs” –Producer John Fawcett to Lou Dobbs [11/27/20]
  • “kooky” –Maria Bartiromo, regarding email received from Powell [11/07/20]
  • “MIND BLOWINGLY NUTS” –Raj Shah, Fox Corporation SVP [11/21/20]

There’s a lot more.The bottom-line via MMFA: “Fox knew that it was pushing lies about Dominion and the election, and the network continued to smear the company and spread conspiracy theories anyway.”

 

Letters from an America,

Feb. 16. 2023

A legal filing today in the case of Dominion Voting Systems against the Fox News Corporation provides a window into the role of disinformation and money in the movement to deny that President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion Voting Systems is suing FNC for defamation after FNC personalities repeatedly claimed that the company’s voting machines had corrupted the final tallies in the 2020 election. The filing today shows that those same personalities didn’t believe what they were telling their viewers, and suggests that they made those groundless accusations because they worried their viewers were abandoning them to go to channels that told them what they wanted to hear: that Trump had won the election. 

The quotes in the filing are eye-popping:

On November 10, 2020, Trump advisor Steven Bannon wrote to FNC personality Maria Bartiromo: “71 million voters will never accept Biden. This process is to destroy his presidency before it even starts; IF it even starts….  We either close on Trumps [sic] victory or del[e]gitimize Biden…. THE PLAN.”

FNC’s internal fact checks on November 13 and November 20 called accusations of irregularities in the voting “Incorrect” and said there was “not evidence of widespread fraud.”

On November 15, Laura Ingraham wrote to Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity: “Sidney Power is a bit nuts. Sorry, but she is.” 

On November 16, Carlson wrote to his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, “Sidney Powell is lying.” 

On November 19, FNC chair Rupert Murdoch wrote: “Really crazy stuff.” 

Hannity later testified: “[T]hat whole narrative that Sidney was pushing. I did not believe it for one second.” 

Fox Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt later testified, “[N]o reasonable person would have thought that,” when asked if it was true that Dominion rigged the election.

The filing claims that FNC peddled a false narrative of election fraud to its viewers because its pro-Trump audience had jumped ship after the network had been the first to call Arizona for Biden, and its ratings were plummeting as Trump loyalists jumped to Newsmax. “I’ve never seen a reaction like this, to any media company,” Carlson wrote to Suzanne Scott, chief executive officer of Fox News, on November 9. “Kills me to watch it.” On November 12, Hannity told Carlson and Ingraham, “In one week and one debate they destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.” 

They went to “war footing” to “protect the brand.” For example, when FNC reporter Jacqui Heinrich accurately fact checked a Trump tweet, correcting him by saying that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “[t]here is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously…. What the f*ck? I’m actually shocked…. It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” 

Heinrich deleted her tweet.  

The filing says that not a single witness from FNC testified they believed any of the allegations they were making about Dominion. 

[Boldface added]

 

Now Italy is their best friend

Joe Perticone

January 17, 2023

https://presspass.thebulwark.com/p/the-republican-infatuation-with-italys

[Excerpts:]

Led by recently elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) is descended from Italy’s post–World War II neo-fascist movement, and its policy positions are comparable to those of other groups in the constellation of Europe’s populist far right.

The party’s members are not known for discretion about their views: One member was suspended after reporters uncovered a Facebook post praising Hitler. Meloni herself has insisted that migrant-rescuing boats should be sunk after their crews have been arrested and passengers repatriated.

The Fratelli have typically been backbenchers in Italian politics. Their fortunes changed dramatically last year following a series of events that culminated in the victory of Meloni’s coalition and her election to the prime ministership in the country’s September elections. When Meloni came to power, Republicans in the United States were elated:

  • “I’m so excited,” said Kari Lake, the election-denying failed Arizona candidate for governor, in an appearance on Tucker Carlson. “This is someone I can relate to.”
  • Former Trump confidant Roger Stone listed Meloni on his annual best-dressed list, saying the PM is “not a fascist; she’s a fashionista.”
  • Meloni also earned swift praise from the Senate’s hard right, such as Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, who quote-tweeted a video of Meloni speaking with a one-word caption: “spectacular.”

“This is a party that’s rooted in the fascist tradition . . . the entire galaxy of the extreme right feels protected and galvanized now,” Italian journalist Paolo Berizzi said of the Brothers of Italy  in an interview with the Intercept. 

Recently, the Logan Circle Group, a consulting firm with ties to Matt Gaetz and other MAGA political candidates, retroactively registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for a range of activities on behalf of Identity and Democracy, a European Parliament group consisting of of several of Europe’s far-right, anti-immigrant political parties, including Salvini’s League.

The Logan Circle Group is run by Harlan Hill, who previously made headlines for being dumped by Fox News after calling Kamala Harris “an insufferable lying bitch.”The French arm of Identity and Democracy Group paid Hill’s firm to establish ties with Republican politicians and make introductions at Matt Schlapp’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

These activities reflect a growing trend in American conservative politics, as a number of U.S. right-wing personalities have conducted paid work for Europe’s far-right governments, including those of Hungary and Russia. These days, the Republican party is open for just this kind of business. So don’t be surprised if more far-right organizations come calling, including those based in Italy, birthplace of fascism.

[Boldface added]

 

The pro-Trump media world peddled the lies that fueled the Capitol mob. Fox News led the way. Perspective, washingtonpost.com, Jan., 2021  

 

The glaring problems with Tucker Carlson’s attempt to blame the FBI for the insurrection 

A conspiracy theory about the insurrection illustrates the right-wing misinformation pipeline. 

By Aaron Rupar@atrupar  Jun 23, 2021,

https://www.vox.com/2021/6/23/22544084/tucker-carlson-january-6-insurrection-fbi

  • On June 15, about 3 million people watched Fox News as Tucker Carlson pushed a conspiracy theory about the January 6 insurrection being an inside job organized by the FBI.
  • His case rested upon an interpretation of court documents that was almost immediately debunked.But the fact Carlson’s theory was quickly shown to be wrong didn’t matter.
  • In an illustration of how the right-wing misinformation pipeline works, instead of correcting the record, Republican members of Congress spent the following days amplifying Carlson’s baseless claims. 
  • Carlson’s conspiracy theory is based on an article published on June 14 by the right-wing site Revolver News, which is edited by former Trump White House speechwriter Darren Beattie.
  • As CNN’s Marshall Cohen detailed, the Revolver piece is “carefully hedged,” with claims “posed as questions.”
  • Notably, Carlson’s monologue went further than the article it was based on.
  • He unequivocally claimed “FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6,” even though the evidence doesn’t back that up.
  • But to the Trump supporters, whether the idea that the Capitol attack was an inside job has merit is beside the point.
  • And after Carlson gave deniers of the facts a sheen of legitimacy — despite a complete lack of evidence to support it — Republican members of Congress like Florida’s Matt Gaetz and Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene promoted it on Twitter.

 

How the Decline of Murdoch’s Tabloid Empire Makes Fox News Even More Dangerous

Published Jun. 23, 2021 

In the post-election anarchy it briefly seemed that the Fox audience would be drawn to the more wing-nut channels, Newsmax and One America News, but that did not happen, as Fox reasserted its fealty to believers in The Big Lie. 

That maneuver has been adroitly orchestrated with the help of Tucker Carlson, who tops cable-news primetime ratings with an average nightly viewership of 2.94 million.

And the reach of the pernicious Fox News megaphone is growing, through streaming and podcasts. Carlson, for example, powers up Fox’s streaming service, Fox Nation, as he appears to be positioning himself as a George Wallace for the 21st century, peddling genetic white supremacy.From: Heather Cox Richardson from

 

Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>

August 9, 2021 
Subject: August 8, 2021The reason that Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson’s broadcasts last week from Hungary were so shocking was that his praise of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s policies, which have dramatically eroded Hungarian democracy, threw into the open the Republican Party’s embrace of authoritarianism.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/sep/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-anti-defamation-league

September 25, 2021

[Excerpt:]

After the Anti-Defamation League renewed its call for Tucker Carlson to be fired from Fox News for voicing the racist “great replacement” theory about immigration, the primetime host had a pithy response: “Fuck them.” 

[Editor’s note:  Carlson was reportedly educated at Trinity College, St. George’s School and La Jolla Country Day School, where such attitudes and language are and were then unlikely encouraged or tolerated].

 

Charlottesville Extremists Lose in Court, but Replacement Theory Lives On
November 24, 2021

“The fact that Tucker is making this sort of argument is a breakthrough,” Mike Peinovich, a white nationalist podcast host and a defendant in the suit who was ultimately dropped from the case, wrote on social media. “I will give him credit for going where no TV host has gone before.”

In October, David Duke, a former leader of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and one of the country’s most notorious white supremacists, also embraced Mr. Carlson for having finally espoused the false conspiracy that a plot was afoot to “wipe out the white people” in America and Europe.

According to Mr. Greenblatt, the normalization of replacement theory began almost immediately after the violence in Charlottesville when President Donald J. Trump made a moral equivalency between the far-right ralliers who marched at the event and the large crowds of counterdemonstrators who showed up to protest them. During his years in office, Mr. Trump repeatedly stoked white grievances by focusing on issues like his border wall or on N.F.L. players who knelt during the national anthem, encouraging the notion that white people in America were under attack, Mr. Greenblatt said.

 

Analysis | Trump critics keep departing Fox News

Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes are merely the latest. Many were reporters who criticized stolen-election claims.

By Aaron Blake

November 24, 2021

[Excerpts:]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/11/22/procession-trump-critics-who-have-departed-fox-news/

The big one before 2020 was Shepard Smith, who abruptly resigned in 2019. He did so after being among the network’s biggest critics of Trump and clashing with Carlson, who has become the dominant on-air force at the network as he has pushed conspiracy theories and coronavirus vaccine skepticism.

The 2020 election and its immediate aftermath have led to more notable departures from the comparatively few voices willing to take on Trump and tell the truth about the election results.

Tucker Carlson justifying an invasion of Ukraine is where he has been heading all along

Carlson deployed one of his most common tactics, reframing the issue on his terms by starting out with an assumption.

“Here’s something all of us need to begin to internalize,” Carlson told his roughly 3 million average nightly viewers. “Just because something seems far-fetched or it seems crazy, or it seems totally destructive to core American interests, doesn’t mean the US government won’t do it. That’s the main lesson of the moment we’re living in.”

[Editor’s note:  It is completely crazy, but for Carlson, it’s all about his ratings, and at the expense of  democratic ideals and our national interests.  When will his alma mater call him out?]

Ten minutes of dishonest fury, presented to an audience of millions

National correspondent

Dec. 15, 2021

On the dishonest hypocrisy of Tucker Carlson’s nightly narrative – “a government hellbent on destroying God-fearing American patriots, knowing full well that there’s no counterweight to his doing so”.  

“And it’s this every night. Every night. This cascade of accusations and world-ending conspiracies, of a democracy on the brink or already gone at the hands of the left. It’s unending and unchallenged. It’s unchallengeable, given how long it takes just to walk through those 10 minutes.”

[Editor’s note: This detailed analysis demonstrates it’s s0, as do the facts cited in the following opinion   So when will Carlson’s alma mater call out its most anti-democratic alum?]

 

Judge rejects Fox News request to dismiss Dominion Voting’s defamation lawsuit over election claims

By Timothy Bella

December 17, 2021 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/12/17/judge-fox-news-dominion-lawsuit-election/

[Excerpts:]

A judge on Thursday rejected a request from Fox News to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over baseless claims made against the company during the 2020 presidential election, allowing the suit to move forward.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis said it was “reasonably conceivable” for the Denver-based voting-machine company to have a defamation claim.

“The Court can infer that Fox intended to avoid the truth,” Davis wrote in a 52-page ruling. “Whether Dominion ultimately will prove Fox’s actual malice by clear and convincing evidence is irrelevant on a motion to dismiss. … Accordingly, Fox’s Motion should be denied.”

Dominion filed the lawsuit against Fox News earlier this year, claiming that some of its highest-profile on-air talent helped elevate false charges that the company had changed votes to favor Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit claims that hosts such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro brought Trump allies onto their shows to spread lies asserting that Dominion was using algorithms in voting machines that were created in Venezuela to rig multiple elections for Hugo Chávez, the late president.

Dominion alerted Fox News and its anchors to information disproving the false claims being broadcast against the company, according to the judge. The allegations from Dominion in the lawsuit show that Fox was given “signs indicating the reports were false,” Davis wrote.

“Fox possessed countervailing evidence of election fraud from the Department of Justice, election experts, and Dominion at the time it had been making its statements,” the judge wrote. “The fact that, despite this evidence, Fox continued to publish its allegations against Dominion, suggests Fox knew the allegations were probably false.”

The judge’s ruling, considered a major win for Dominion, comes about a year after the company was the subject of many baseless accusations about election fraud following November 2020. After his loss, Trump and his allies spread false claims that, as he put it, voting software is “used in states where tens of thousands of votes were stolen from us and given to Biden.” When he was still on Twitter, Trump, who described Dominion as “horrible, inaccurate and anything but secure,” retweeted a baseless report that the voting-machine system had “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide.”Election results under attack: Here are the facts

There is no evidence that any voting systems were compromised, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, also confirmed that he had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

The lawsuit specifies how Trump allies such as Rudolph W. Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell were given platforms on shows hosted by Carlson, Hannity and Pirro to spread the false claims of election fraud. Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, whose show was canceled earlier this year, are also mentioned in the lawsuit.

Dominion pointed to how Hannity and Dobbs “brought on Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell to assert their claims that Dominion rigged the election by changing votes in its machines.” Another instance mentioned in the lawsuit involved when Carlson brought Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, onto his show to talk about his ban from Twitter, only for him to spread false claims of election fraud against Dominion.

“Carlson endorsed Mr. Lindell’s claim that Mr. Lindell found the machine fraud and had all the evidence,” according to the complaint.

Dominion eventually sent an email to Fox personalities and producers titled, “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: FACTS & RUMORS,” the judge noted. Election officials and experts also went on the network to emphasize how there was “absolutely no evidence” that Dominion changed votes during the election.

“Despite these efforts, Fox continued to promote known lies on its broadcasts, websites, social media accounts and subscription service platforms,” Davis wrote. “Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo, and Mr. Hannity also continued to give Ms. Powell and Mr. Giuliani a platform to disseminate lies about Dominion by hosting them on their shows. Mr. Dobbs, Ms. Bartiromo and Mr. Hannity likewise endorsed and repeated those lies.”

The lawsuit claimed that Bartiromo “continued promoting lies even though she had been specifically notified that independent fact-checkers, government officials and election security experts debunked those lies about Dominion.”

“Moreover, Ms. Bartiromo had actual knowledge that Georgia conducted a hand recount of every paper ballot,” Davis wrote.

The network has defended its coverage, arguing that media must be able to fully report a story that involves claims that hit at the core of U.S. democracy. The judge rejected Fox’s argument that some of its top personalities were reporting the news with flair, saying that “Fox’s reporting comprised opinion ‘mixed’ with false facts.”

“Although Fox classifies its reporters’ remarks as ‘commentary’ that used ‘loose and hyperbolic rhetoric’ for entertainment value, even loose and hyperbolic language can be actionable if it rests on false statements of fact undisclosed to viewers,” the judge said.

The lawsuit against Fox is one of several that Dominion has brought stemming from false claims after the election. Separate defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion against Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer, and Giuliani, Trump’s former attorney, previously survived motions to dismiss in federal court in Washington.

Dominion isn’t the only election technology company to sue Fox over its election coverage. Smartmatic Corp. is suing the network for $2.7 billion in damages, as part of a lawsuit that also names Pirro, Bartiromo and Dobbs as defendants. Fox has also requested to dismiss that lawsuit.

The Dominion defamation lawsuit against Fox will continue toward a final judgment, with both sides gathering evidence in the case.

[Boldface added]

 

Opinion: Tucker Carlson lectures on media weakness. That’s rich.

By Matt Bai Contributing columnist

January 14, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/14/tucker-carlson-lectures-media-weakness-thats-rich/

[Excerpt:]

The point I really want to make, though, has to do with Carlson’s shot about weakness, which is a recurring theme these days.

There’s a narrative in the modern media and political world — not just on the right — that real courage can only be expressed through uncompromising partisanship.

If you’re always standing up for something like “America First” or the Green New Deal, then you’re speaking truth to power. But if you resist a tribal mentality and try to sift through the nuance of the issue, then you must be a quivering toady who just wants to please The Man, whether he’s a greedy CEO or a leftist revolutionary.

The truth, as anyone who actually works in the media and is honest about this will tell you, is that this narrative is entirely upside down.

In reality, the easiest thing to do right now is what Carlson does — to seek out the ardent applause of one side or the other, because the more strident and predictable you are, the more eyeballs you attract and the more appreciation you’ll garner.

This isn’t only on television. In too many opinion forums now, the only objective seems to be validating the preconceptions of the audience.

The more courageous thing, by far, is to tell people what they may not want to hear, to insist on independent thought even as the business model for it grows smaller by the day.

The harder thing is to stand against either onrushing current, pounded on all sides because you won’t just bend to the seductive idea that the answers to the country’s problems are obvious and comforting.

When strength becomes a synonym for extremism, bullies prevail. When moderation becomes a hallmark of cravenness, complex thought disappears.

“If you want to draw a salary from a big media company right now, you do what you’re told, you toe the line,” Carlson said in his monologue last week. “If it comes down to it, you lie.”

He’s right about that. But if Tucker wants to know what that kind of weakness really looks like, he should give that mirror a longer look.

 

Trump’s cable cabinet: New texts reveal the influence of Fox hosts on previous White House 

By Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey

 January 9, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-cable-cabinet/2022/01/09/96fac488-6fe6-11ec-b9fc-b394d592a7a6_story.html 

Stephanie Grisham, former press secretary to President Donald Trump, remembers the challenges that came from so many Fox News hosts having the direct number to reach Trump in the White House residence.

“There were times the president would come down the next morning and say, ‘Well, Sean thinks we should do this,’ or, ‘Judge Jeanine thinks we should do this,’ ” said Grisham, referring to Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, both of whom host prime-time Fox News shows. 

Grisham — who resigned from the White House amid the Jan. 6 attacks and has since written a book critical of Trump — said West Wing staffers would simply roll their eyes in frustration as they scrambled to respond to the influence of the network’s hosts, who weighed in on everything from personnel to messaging strategy.

Trump’s staff, allies and even adversaries were long accustomed to playing to an “Audience of One” — a commander in chief with a twitchy TiVo finger and obsessed with cable news.

But text messages — newly released by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection — between Fox News hosts and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, crystallize with new specificity just how tightly Fox News and the White House were entwined during the Trump years, with many of the network’s top hosts serving as a cable cabinet of unofficial advisers.

Read More

As the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol unfolded, Meadows received texts from Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, as well as Hannity, according to the newly released communications.

“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.” Ingraham’s private missives, however, differed starkly from what she said on her show later that evening, when she began whitewashing the violence of the day and claiming the attacks were “antithetical” to the Trump movement.

Kilmeade urged Meadows to get Trump “on TV” to call off the rioters, writing, “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”

And Hannity asked Meadows, “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.”

What Fox News hosts said privately vs. publicly on Jan. 6

In private text messages on Jan. 6, Fox News hosts condemned President Trump’s response to the attack. In public, those same hosts deflected blame from Trump. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

‘Everyone tunes in’: Inside Trump’s obsession with cable TV

Other texts released by the committee reveal that Hannity also offered the White House advice in the run-up and aftermath to the attacks that resulted in five deaths. On Dec. 31, 2020, Hannity texted Meadows to warn, “I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told.” And on Jan. 10, 2021 — referring to a conversation he had with Trump himself — Hannity texted Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a close Trump ally, to try to discuss strategies to rein in Trump.

“Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days,” Hannity wrote. “He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”

A former senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid details of private discussions, said Trump would also sometimes dial Hannity and Lou Dobbs — whose Fox Business show was canceled in February — into Oval Office staff meetings.

“A lot of it was PR — what he should be saying and how he should be saying it; he should be going harder against wearing masks or whatever,” Grisham said. “And they all have different opinions, too.”

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Fox News declined to comment.

Michael Pillsbury, an informal Trump adviser, said he realized how powerful Fox News was in Trump’s orbit when the former president began embracing Sidney Powell — an attorney promoting Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud — and other election fabulists after seeing them on Dobbs’s show. Pillsbury added that while it seemed obvious that many of the claims were patently false, Trump was inclined to believe them, in part because he was watching them on TV and had affection for Dobbs in particular.

“It taught me the power of the young producers at Fox, and Fox Business especially,” Pillsbury said. “These young producers who are in their mid-20s. They come out of the conservative movement, they‘ve never been in the government. They are presented with these reckless, fantastical accounts. And they believe them and put them on for ratings.”

Alyssa Farah, a former White House communications director, said the four most influential Fox hosts were Dobbs, Hannity, Igraham, and Pirro — and in the final year of the Trump administration, Hannity was the most influential. Other former top administration officials also mentioned Mark Levin, another Fox News host, and Maria Bartiromo, a Fox Business host, as two other network stars in regular touch with the White House.

From the point of view of the staff, Farah said, the goal was simply to “try to get ahead of what advice you thought he was going to be given by these people” because their unofficial counsel “could completely change his mind on something.”

Fox News hosts urged Trump to stop Jan. 6 violence, texts show

But the relationship was also symbiotic, with White House aides actively trying to influence the network, especially on issues such as spending deals and averting government shutdowns. They knew if they could get Fox hosts to echo their goals on air, that would help sway the president.

Jeff Cohen, author of “Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media,” said the recent text messages represent a “smoking gun.”

“If you watch Fox News as much as I do, and I watch a few hours a night, they’re always signaling their close contact with the White House,” Cohen said referring to the Trump era. “But these texts are just the hard evidence. This is just how deeply intertwined the Fox News leadership is with Trump and the Trump White House.”

The problem, he explained, is that even though many of these hosts are opinion journalists, they are still violating public trust by not disclosing the full extent of their relationships with the Trump administration.

“Journalists and media are supposed to be public checks on power, not private advisers to power,” Cohen said. “A commentator is still a journalist, and even if the commentator doesn’t consider him or herself to be a journalist, they still have to tell the public when they played a role in something they’re commenting on.”

One former top White House official said that the hosts often had more influence with Trump based on what they said on air rather than in their various backchannels to him and his team, in part because the former president was obsessed with the following — and ratings — of their shows.

Former Trump chief of staff John F. Kelly told others in the White House that Dobbs’s show was critical to understanding the president and that Trump’s ideas and feelings about people often originated from that program. Kelly also told colleagues that if Dobbs went after a White House senior staffer, they risked their status falling quickly in the eyes of the former president.

When Kelly could not watch the prime-time Fox shows himself, he would ask other staffers to monitor them, and he would scour the White House call logs for the names of Fox News personalities.

Pirro, several Trump aides said, often became irate if the former president did not appear on her show frequently enough in her view, especially if he had been on Hannity’s show several times prior.

Fox shows were so important to the president that White House staffers were determined to get guests booked on them, even forcing staffers to take weekend shifts appearing on Pirro’s show after Pirro complained she couldn’t get a guest — and the former president also called in himself.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Hannity called Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other Trump allies on a number of occasions to voice his months-long concern that the campaign was heading in the wrong direction and Trump would lose unless he turned around his operation, according to a Republican with direct knowledge of the campaign’s operations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private discussions. They added that Hannity was much more bullish on his show than in private about Trump’s electoral prospects.

Analysis: Sean Hannity’s Jan. 6 texts and the duplicity they reinforce

As the coronavirus pandemic ramped up in early 2020, a range of Fox News hosts again mobilized to offer backchannel advice to the Trump White House. In March, Tucker Carlson flew to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., to warn of the seriousness of the virus. Carlson told Trump he might lose the election because of covid-19, while Trump told the prime-time host that the virus wasn’t as deadly as people were claiming. [Boldface added]

In April, Ingraham arrived at the White House with two on-air regulars who are part of what she describes as her “medicine cabinet” for a private meeting with Trump. There, she talked up hydroxychloroquine, a controversial anti-malarial drug which public health experts have concluded is not effective as a covid-19 treatment.

An internal Trump coronavirus response team led by Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, also prioritized the requests of certain VIPs, including Kilmeade and Pirro. Kilmeade had called two administration officials, for instance, to pass along tips about where to obtain personal protective equipment. And Pirro had repeatedly urged administration officials to send a large quantity of masks to a specific New York hospital.

At the time, a Fox News spokeswoman said neither host had been aware that their tips were receiving preferential treatment.

Since leaving office, Trump has vociferously complained about Fox, particularly its coverage of the election and what he views as increasingly negative coverage about him. But he has kept in close touch with many of the hosts and even sees some of them at his Florida resort.

The Jan. 6 committee has asked Hannity to cooperate with its investigation, and he has hired Jay Sekulow, a longtime Trump attorney, to represent him. “We are evaluating the letter from the committee. We remain very concerned about the constitutional implications especially as it relates to the First Amendment. We will respond as appropriate,” Sekulow said in a statement last week.

But some former senior White House officials said the texts make the role of Hannity and others seem more outsize than it was. The former president appreciated that the Fox crew was fighting on his behalf on a daily basis, this person said, “but he would not be like, ‘Let me call Larry Kudlow and change our economic plan because Laura Ingraham said that.’ ”

Of course, Kudlow, who now hosts a show on Fox Business, came to Trump’s attention as a top economic adviser in part because of the business show he previously hosted on CNBC.

 

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson 

January 19, 2022 

heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

And yet, here at home, Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson is echoing Russian propaganda, suggesting that the U.S. is the aggressor against Russia rather than that Russia is moving against Ukraine without provocation.

He appears to be taking a stand against the U.S. president, who is standing with NATO and our traditional democratic allies, and instead standing with Russia much as Trump did.

Kremlin TV Worries Tucker Carlson’s Pro-Putin Bias Has Gone Too Far

Top Russian state propagandists are concerned that no one will take the Fox News host seriously any more.

[Excerpt:]
Last Wednesday, Russia’s English-language state media outlet RT published an op-ed by Irish commentator Graham Dockery, who marveled:
“Once considered a sewer pipe of neoconservative jingoism, Fox News is now anti-war—or at least its top-rated host is… The picture is clear: When it comes to Ukraine, pundits and commentators from the establishment left to the neocon right only disagree on how quickly and strongly the U.S. should wade in to stop a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. Only Carlson, considered far-right by American liberals, is in complete opposition to U.S. involvement.” RT’s writer complained “the sole anti-war voice on prime-time cable happens to belong to a man whom liberals believe is a “white supremacist,” thus undermining his considerable influence.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson donated to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s campaign

Jeremy Barr

February 1, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/02/01/fox-news-host-tucker-carlson-donated-marjorie-taylor-greenes-campaign/

[Excerpt:]
Television news hosts are generally prohibited, or at least strongly discouraged, from donating to political campaigns — though there’s a long history of on-air hosts and journalists making such contributions. Asked on Tuesday night whether Fox News hosts are permitted to make campaign contributions, network representatives did not respond.

 

Now is the time to remember what Fox’s own lawyers said about Tucker Carlson

His ugly defense of Vladimir Putin should be seen in the light of his employer’s argument that no one should take him seriously

By Margaret Sullivan, Columnist

February 24, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/02/24/tucker-carlson-ukraine-fox-news-lawyers/

As Russia prepared to invade Ukraine, the biggest star on Fox News was busy doing what he does best: being thoroughly and appallingly wrong.

He defended the murderous instigator Vladimir Putin while disparaging legitimate heroes like Alexander Vindman, the Ukrainian-born retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former White House national security aide who was a key witness to Donald Trump’s abuses of power in his first impeachment and who has warned of Putin’s aggressions — but whom Carlson preferred to paint as some kind of sanctimonious warmonger.

Carlson glibly broad-brushed Vindman’s criticism of the GOP’s Putin apologists with his usual schoolboy sarcasm: “Your job is to take up arms in defense of Alexander Vindman’s home country, or else you’re evil.”

Carlson insisted that Ukraine was not a democracy but a “pure client state” of the U.S. government. And, in a particularly obnoxious rant, he suggested that Putin is morally superior to “permanent Washington,” some vaguely malign force that Carlson claims is manufacturing a global pandemic, teaching children to embrace racial discrimination and trying to snuff out Christianity.

Tucker Carlson, downplaying Russia-Ukraine conflict, urges Americans to ask, ‘Why do I hate Putin?’

Carlson’s pro-Putin act is so helpful that Russian state television has been rebroadcasting it with Russian subtitles. Carlson “urged Americans to turn against their government on the grounds that higher costs for them, in exchange for a pointless stand against Putin, is a ‘terrible deal for you,’” as Will Saletan summed it up in a Bulwark story comparing him to Charles Coughlin, the WWII-era radio host who defended the Nazis and painted Jews as a conniving force pushing the United States into the European conflict.

Carlson is dangerous because he has a cultlike following who believe his nightly rants. I would love to see the Murdochs put decency above dollars and remove him from the airwaves.

Congressional Republicans have blamed President Biden’s actions and “weakness” for leaving an opening for Russia to attack Ukraine. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

But it’s important to remember what Carlson is: nothing more than an outrage machine. What he offers is not political commentary. It’s Fox-approved nonsense meant to juice ratings — and it works.

Don’t take my word for it. In 2020, Fox’s own lawyers successfully made the case in court that Carlson shouldn’t be taken seriously. And a Trump-appointed federal judge agreed.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil echoed Fox’s own arguments in finding that Carlson didn’t commit slander when he accused a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, of extortion, after the National Enquirer bought her story of an affair with Trump and then promptly shelved it on his behalf.

Why not? Because, Vyskocil decided, the whole tenor of Carlson’s show makes it clear to viewers that he is not stating “actual facts” about his topics.

“Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as ‘exaggeration,’ ‘non-literal commentary,’ or simply bloviating for his audience,” she wrote, “the conclusion remains the same — the statements are not actionable.”

She added: “Fox persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”

That’s the problem, of course. Too many in Carlson’s audience simply don’t arrive with that measure of doubt or disbelief. They swallow his nonsense whole.

“He’s dangerous because millions & millions of Americans are nodding in agreement with him tonight,” tweeted Joe Walsh, the conservative talk-radio host and former Illinois congressman, on Tuesday.

Given the First Amendment, Carlson has the right to say what he wants on his opinion show. Judge Vyskocil made that clear in her opinion, using Fox’s own rationale. This is entertainment — of a particularly ugly and dark variety — but it’s not news and shouldn’t be mistaken for it.

Nevertheless, whether he’s talking trash about Anthony S. Fauci, Democrats, the reality-based press, or educators who want to teach history to children, Carlson does harm. The only defense against it is informed knowledge of exactly what he’s up to.

The millions who tune in to Carlson every night to get their outrage on should remember what their favorite host traffics in: bloviation, demagoguery and unrighteous indignation.

And they should remember what he isn’t obligated to deal in: the truth.

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

March 4, 2022

Graham was not the only one to bolster Putin’s position today. Tucker Carlson tonight told his audience that indeed he was wrong in his earlier defense of the Russian president but then continued to stoke the same racist and sexist fires he has fed all along, blaming his misreading of the situation on Vice President Kamala Harris.

 

I’m a Former Russian TV Anchor. Fox News Mimics State TV.

Liz Wahl, who quit a Kremlin-funded network in disgust in 2014, writes that right-wing media stars like Tucker Carlson are at times indistinguishable from Russia’s own propaganda.

Liz Wahl

Updated Feb. 27, 2022  Published Feb. 27, 2022 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/im-a-former-russian-tv-anchor-right-wing-media-mimics-russian-media

[Excerpts:]

Working in a Russian newsroom nearly a decade ago prepared me for modern day America. In both environments, conspiracy theories, false equivalencies, and half-truths infect the discourse and deform reality. In this current environment, truth and fact struggle to break through the paranoid and misinformed noise.

One thing that is clear to me: Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson, along with other right-wing media figures, are at times indistinguishable from the propaganda on my former network, RT, a Kremlin-funded cable news channel that eagerly uses American voices to push a pro-Russia agenda.

What these figures don’t seem to understand or ignore is that RT uses their stateside fame and clout to drive eyeballs to its YouTube channel and legitimacy to its brand.

During the Trump years, the channel routinely featured videos and friendly headlines of Trump himself and his radical supporters. Popular themes on the channel were Trump’s denigration of NATO and the European Union. One video on RT’s YouTube channel features Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn at an RT event, being interviewed by the channel’s Russia-based host, wearing an RT lanyard. The video of the event, which originally took place in 2015, was posted after Trump was elected, with the credulous headline “2013 gas attack in Syria a ‘false flag?’: Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor at RT10.” The video ostensibly served two functions: to show Flynn’s support of the Kremlin-backed station, and to use the prestige of a U.S. national security adviser to push a conspiracy theory about the origin of chemical weapons in Syria. Just this week, Flynn once again helpfully advanced Russia’s agenda by releasing a statement where he blamed President Joe Biden for “ignoring Putin’s legitimate security concerns, and the legitimate ethnic problems in Ukraine” as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine and began a full-scale invasion.

RT Anchor: Here’s Why I Quit

James Kirchick

 Even as Russian forces surrounded Ukraine, Russian media played clips of Trump calling Putin’s military strategy “genius” and “wonderful.” And to strengthen Russia’s case for invading a democracy, it played footage of Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praising Putin and clips from Fox News host Tucker Carlson proudly siding with Russia.

In fact, Carlson’s praise of Putin has been a recurring theme on his show in recent weeks. “Why would we take Ukraine’s side and not Russia’s side? I’m totally confused,” asked Carlson, seemingly unsatisfied when his guest reminded him that the U.S. is for democracies and against authoritarian regimes.

In another bizarre attempt to defend Putin as morally superior to Democrats, Carlson asked his audience, “Has Putin ever called me racist? Has he ever threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle class job in my town to Russia?” The question appealed to his audience’s aversion to all things liberalism and its right-wing populist grievances about immigration and the economy.

This sort of blunt support for Putin was atypical of even a Russian newsroom.

While the American voices Russian media uses to influence Western audiences hail from the far-left and the far-right, the poison of disinformation asymmetrically originates on the ideological right. Research has demonstrated that followers of the former president stick to hyper-partisan and conspiracy-laden sources such as Breitbart, Info Wars, and Fox News. During Trump’s election and throughout his presidency, the rightwing ecosystem grew more conspiratorial, extreme, and anti-democratic. It is during this time that Russian media and right-wing media became indistinguishable.

Today, the chief purveyors of pro-Russian disinformation in the U.S. are now on Fox News. I have warned that quite often the pro-Putin claims on Fox and RT essentially mimic each other. But much of the American public, and even many in the mainstream media, fail to realize the extent to which this disinformation has become part of the fabric of the new media landscape, and therefore, American political discourse.

At this point, zeroing in on RT as the source of authoritarian disinformation is a red herring. Pro-Putin, pro-Trump, and anti-democratic messaging has been ingrained into our government through conspiracy theorists and useful idiots currently sitting in U.S. Congress, like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn. The narratives blare into the homes of millions through television channels like Newsmax, One America News, and most consequentially, Fox News, the most-watched cable news channel on the planet. Far from being a problem that impacts both political parties equally, the alt-right media ecosystem including mainstream figures like Carlson air Putin-brand messaging aimed to break down democracy.

How Tucker Carlson Is Boosting Russia’s New Propaganda War

Julia Davis

 Today, pro-Putin and pro-Trump media sources online and on cable TV promote each other’s anti-democratic agendas. The messages are amplified on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and newer to the scene, TikTok, where false or misleading videos about the invasion of Ukraine have racked up millions of views. Authoritarian disinformation is amorphous, diffuse, and has very real impacts on America’s beliefs. Recent polling shows Republicans view Putin more favorably than Democrats, perceiving him to be a “stronger leader” than President Biden. Such polling further shows how both Putin and American right-wing media’s messaging appeals to Christian nationalism, white supremacy, and admiration for strong-man authoritarians.

Of course, another narrative that is guaranteed to circulate on social media and even among academic circles is the fallacy that all narratives are created equal; that the pro-democracy U.S. is ultimately no better than the authoritarian Russian regime. These voices and these narratives get spotlighted on Russian state media and among a sprawling network of sympathetic outlets, bots, and trolls; and will be parroted by the likes of Carlson to millions of viewers that have already drifted towards authoritarianism.

Fox and RT have both already used the conflict to score political points against Biden and his allies. As the pro-democracy world watches Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s bravery and resolve defending against the invasion of his country, the far-right/Putin media alliance has accused him of being a “globalist puppet of Soros and the Clintons.”

And that’s just a preview of the coming deluge of “whataboutism,” a tactic I saw weaponized inside a Russian newsroom. It holds power by tapping its ability to draw support for false equivalencies, in which U.S. and NATO’s attempted takedown of the Taliban in Afghanistan is equal to Russia’s hostile takeover of a democracy. There will be attempts to change the subject and absolve Putin of accountability by asking, “What about Iraq? What about Afghanistan?” Engaging in this sort of discourse holds powerful propaganda value because of its element of truth: that the U.S. is not historically blameless.

Russia Is Begging for a Putin Interview with Tucker Carlson

Julia Davis

 Another propaganda tactic already being mobilized is the false accusations that pro-democracy voices are engaging in some sort of new McCarthyism. Similarly, there are accusations of a “Red Scare,” accusing those who call out Putin apologists as being “Russophobes.”

The intermixed right-wing media and Russian media will attempt to gaslight you. They will point to some of its truthful coverage in Ukraine to deny the fact that its most-watched propagandists praised Putin in the lead-up to the invasion and continue to undermine his opponents.

Responding to Russia’s invasion of her country, former member of Ukrainian Parliament, Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska, explained to me what’s at stake. She has spent her career working to build democracy in Ukraine and accelerating the country toward renewable energy. “This is an existential crisis, the struggle of the past against the future, democracy and autocracy, truth and lies.” It’s a struggle all democracies now face.

 

Tucker Carlson goes full blame-America on Russia’s Ukraine invasion

March 8, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/08/tucker-carlson-goes-full-blame-america-russias-ukraine-invasion 

[Excerpt:]

Carlson then turned to his favored rhetorical trick of treating his conspiratorial supposition — that the United States wanted this war — as established fact as he pivoted to related questions: “Why in the world would the United States intentionally seek war with Russia? How could we possibly benefit from that war?”

 

From: Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>
Date: March 9, 2022

Another person pushing the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson, paradoxically strengthened a lawsuit against the network. Smartmatic, a company that makes voting machines, has sued FNC over the many instances of FNC personalities falsely claiming that the voting machines had been part of a massive voter fraud in 2020. FNC says the lawsuit is “baseless” and an assault upon the First Amendment.

Today, New York Supreme Court Judge David B. Cohen ruled that the case against FNC can go forward because the statements of its personalities were baseless and reckless. One of the key points in the decision was Carlson’s own initial dismissal of Powell’s outrageous claims. Carlson’s repeated demands for proof of her claims and her inability to provide any suggest that FNC knew, or should have known, that Powell was lying.

 

From: Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>
Date: March 13, 2022

David Corn of Mother Jones today broke another news story: a Russian government agency distributed a 12-page document to media outlets telling them, “It is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally….” 

The call to feature Carlson is in the section titled “Victory in Information War.”

 

Satire from The Borowitz Report

Putin Clarifies That His Ban on Journalists Does Not Include Tucker Carlson

By Andy Borowitz

March 13, 2022

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/putin-clarifies-that-his-ban-on-journalists-does-not-include-tucker-carlson

 

Leaked Kremlin Memo to Russian Media: It Is “Essential” to Feature Tucker Carlson

The Russian government has pressed outlets to highlight the Fox host’s Putin-helping broadcasts.

DAVID CORN, Washington, DC, Bureau Chief

 March 14, 2022

{Excerpt:]

On March 3, as Russian military forces bombed Ukrainian cities as part of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of his neighbor, the Kremlin sent out talking points to state-friendly media outlets with a request: Use more Tucker Carlson.

“It is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally,” advises the 12-page document written in Russian.

It sums up Carlson’s position: “Russia is only protecting its interests and security.” The memo includes a quote from Carlson: “And how would the US behave if such a situation developed in neighboring Mexico or Canada?”

The document—titled “For Media and Commentators (recommendations for coverage of events as of 03.03)”—was produced, according to its metadata, at a Russian government agency called the Department of Information and Telecommunications Support, which is part of the Russian security apparatus. It was provided to Mother Jones by a contributor to a national Russian media outlet who asked not to be identified. The source said memos like this one have been regularly sent by Putin’s administration to media organizations during the war.

Independent media outlets in Russia have been forced to shut down since the start of the conflict. 

 

Letters from an AmericanHeather Cox Richardson,

March 16, 2022

Meanwhile, a deepfake video of Zelensky calling for Ukrainians to surrender to Russia made the rounds on social media today. The false video used artificial intelligence to graft words onto Zelensky’s image.

Tonight, Russia specialist Julia Ioffe told MSNBC: “Every time I’m asked by Americans do Russians really believe this stuff… as if we don’t have the same thing happening here. You have 40% of the American population that was convinced in just one year that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election….”

And, indeed, Trump loyalists like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Fox News personality Tucker Carlson continue to echo Russian talking points to undercut Ukraine’s war effort. Media scholar Eric Boehlert noted that “the anti-democratic, authoritarian bonds are becoming tighter as the Trump movement now turns to the Kremlin for its messaging cues. The overlap is undeniable, and the implications are grave.” (Boldface added)

Even more striking was white nationalist Nick Fuentes’s encouragement for people to pray for what he called the brave Russian soldiers fighting to “liberate Ukraine from the Great Satan and from the evil empire in the world, which is the United States.” Fuentes is an extremist but not an isolated one; both Greene and Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) spoke at a recent conference he organized (Greene in person; Gosar virtually), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took no action to disavow their participation.

After Zelensky spoke today, Biden announced another $800 million in military equipment for Ukraine, including 800 anti-aircraft systems. “What’s at stake here are the principles that the United States and the united nations across the world stand for,” he said. “It’s about freedom. It’s about the right of people to determine their own future.”

Opinion: Hey, Tucker Carlson, are you still rooting for Russia over Ukraine?

 

AMERICAN NATIONALIST: PART 1

 

AMERICAN NATIONALIST: PART 2

 

AMERICAN NATIONALIST: PART 3
Inside the Apocalyptic World of Tucker Carlson
April 30, 2022

 

To the Editor:

Re “How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable News” and “Tucker Carlson Reshaped Fox News, and Became Trump’s Heir” (“American Nationalist” series, front page, May 1 and 2):

Congratulations to The New York Times for an exceptional piece of journalism exposing Tucker Carlson for what he is — an insidious infection coursing through the veins of America.

It’s been said that the demise of America will come not from without but from within. We have survived Father Coughlin, Joseph McCarthy and others like them.

Fortunately there are more people in America like Mister Rogers than Tucker Carlson.

Aaron R. Eshman
Santa Monica, Calif.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/05/opinion/letters/tucker-carlson

 

Ms. Hemmer is an associate research scholar at Columbia and the author of the forthcoming “Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s.”

[Excerpt:] [Boldface added]

So how should we think about Mr. Carlson’s show and the radicalization around the great replacement conspiracy theory?

As a prime-time host on Fox News, Mr. Carlson has refashioned himself into a right-wing economic populist who emphasized and empathizes with people’s financial struggles, then offers pungent conspiracy theories to explain their plight. It’s a familiar figure in American politics. There was Tom Watson, the Georgia congressman who, after first attempting to build biracial alliances in the South, became an ardent white supremacist and antisemite in the early 20th century. And there was Father Charles Coughlin, who fought for a bountiful economic security program during the Great Depression while becoming increasingly antisemitic.

By arguing that white Americans face economic and cultural decline purposefully engineered by political elites, Mr. Carlson’s show plays an important role in spreading and legitimating the great replacement conspiracy theory and other white-supremacist ideas. He has regularly invoked great replacement, even after that same theory inspired a number of massacres. Rather than backing away, he has doubled down, insisting that white supremacy does not exist and that the great replacement conspiracy theory isn’t racist. On his Tuesday night show, Mr. Carlson first professed ignorance of the conspiracy theory, then said it was true, then insisted, “The great replacement theory is coming from the left.”

All of this has had an effect. In the years since Mr. Carlson began talking about the conspiracy theory, it has spread rapidly on the right, not just in the dark hollows of the violent white-power movement, but also among Republican politicians and voters. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Representative Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the current House, have echoed the theory, and a recent Associated Press-NORC poll showed that nearly a third of Fox News viewers believe in the tenets of the great replacement conspiracy theory (for viewers of the far-right cable channels Newsmax and OANN, that number is even higher).

If Mr. Carlson truly were opposed to spreading the conspiracy theory, he could easily stop. As Ms. Winfrey showed, it is possible to opt out of far-right co-optation. While there will always be bad-faith actors ready to twist innocuous statements into weapons of radicalization, television hosts and producers have the ability to limit the usefulness of their programs to these extremist groups. All of which suggests that Mr. Carlson has no desire to remove his show from the infrastructure of radicalization, no matter how important a role it plays. And as the massacres continue, that becomes an ever more damning decision.

[Excerpt:]

More than $65 million of that will go to a privately managed education foundation that last year hosted the Fox News host Tucker Carlson at a festival of right-wing pundits in Hungary. It has also provided stipends and fellowships to conservative Americans and Europeans looking for a safe haven from what they bemoan as the spread of “cancel culture” back home.

Some of them featured this week at the first Hungarian edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, a gathering of the right wing of American politics. The event, at which Mr. Orban gave the keynote speech, opened in Budapest on Thursday under the slogan “God, Homeland, Family.”

Hungary has for years served as a beacon for foreign conservatives who admire Mr. Orban’s hostility to immigrants, L.G.B.T.Q. rights, George Soros and liberals in general. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, has put severe strain on that role, stirring anger among some conservatives about Mr. Orban’s cozying up to the Kremlin.

 

 

Team Putin Dishes on the Moment They Could Win It All

WAITING GAME

And they’re betting on America to lock in a path to victory.

[Excerpts:]

But if Russian state TV is any indication, another reason Putin’s regime is now rejecting the idea of a diplomatic resolution has to do with the approaching midterm elections in the United States.

During the latest broadcast of state TV show Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, . . . Andrey Sidorov, deputy dean of world politics at Moscow State University, asked: “Are we going to count on their electoral issues? Will anything change if Republicans prevail in November in the United States?”

The host, Vladimir Solovyov, responded enthusiastically. “Yes, yes, a lot will change. They will calmly say, ‘Why do we need to be involved and send so much of our own money?’” Russian state media has been frequently airing statements showing dissent within the Republican party with respect to U.S. support for Ukraine, often featuring clips from Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News, as well as comments made during public hearings and media appearances by former U.S. President Donald Trump, former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Rand Paul, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Congressman Matt Gaetz.

Echoing popular Republican talking points on Ukraine, Solovyov predicted: “Republicans will come and say, why the hell do we need a corrupt, Nazi Ukraine?

[T]he host introduced a clip from an old favorite of Russian state media—Tucker Carlson: “Let me show you how Biden is being kicked around by Tucker Carlson of Fox News.”

In the clip, Carlson ridiculed U.S. President Joe Biden for being unable to destroy the Russian economy, “in retaliation for installing Donald Trump as president.”

Solovyov compared Carlson’s diatribe to that of the Chinese government officials—a dubious honor for any self-respecting American television host.

Aside from the statement about Trump’s election, the rhetoric cited by Solovyov nearly mimicked Carlson’s claims about the booming Russian economy, allegedly thriving despite Western sanctions.

While the Russian economy is struggling, Kremlin-funded media re-broadcasts useful agitprop from foreign entities to convince the public that everything is going according to plan.

“I’ll start by talking about who is losing the war, in terms of our confrontation with the West, although the main battles are only starting… just read the Western press, they’re all convinced that they’ve already lost . . . .” 

ALEX JONES’S TEXTS WITH SOME OF TRUMP’S CLOSEST ALLIES JUST GOT TURNED OVER TO THE JAN. 6 COMMITTEE

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/08/alex-jones-texts

[Excerpts:]

Last week, as conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was being questioned in court for spreading lies about the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the trial took a turn: attorney Mark Bankston, who is representing the victims’ parents, revealed that Jones’s own legal team had accidentally sent Bankston a digital copy of his entire cell phone.

The disclosure—which raised questions about perjury, since Jones had claimed under oath that he didn’t have Sandy Hook messages on his phone—got the attention of the January 6 committee, which has for months been trying to get its hands on Jones’s phone records and other documents as part of its investigation into the Capitol riot. 

The nearly two years’ worth of text messages may not end up being of much interest to the committee after all: Bankston previously said that the most recent message on the phone was from mid-2020, CNN noted, before Jones started helping organize the rally at the Ellipse that preceded the Capitol riot.

However, the New York Times reported that while most of the recipients of the Jones’s texts are InfoWars staffers and contractors or family members, some show the conspiracy theorist was in contact with Donald Trump’s allies, including Roger Stone. Both Jones and Stone were among the Trump allies who gathered in the hours before the Capitol riot at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, near the White House, to devise a scheme to keep Trump in power.

Stone isn’t the only big name potentially implicated in Jones’s lawyer’s colossal mistake. Fox News star Tucker Carlson is “shitting himself” over the potential disclosure of messages between him and Jones, a source told the Daily Beast on Monday. The conspiracy-inclined duo reportedly “trade text messages on a daily basis,” and sources told the outlet it would be “highly embarrassing” for Carlson if their texts got out. Given what both Carlson and Jones have beenwillingtosaypublicly, one can only imagine what the longtime friends talk about while off-air.

Chris Stirewalt was part of a pivotal decision to declare Joe Biden the winner of Arizona in 2020. Now he’s speaking out about a network he says incites “black-helicopter-level paranoia and hatred.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/19/us/politics/chris-stirewalt-fox-news

Stirewalt names names, taking particular aim at Tucker Carlson, the host of Fox’s highest-rated prime time show and a frequent fanner of flames in the nation’s cultural battles. He paints Carlson and Fox management as hypocrites who claim to be standing up against big corporate media despite being part of a gigantic corporate media enterprise.

“Carlson is rich and famous,” Stirewalt writes. “Yet he regularly rails about the ‘big, legacy media outlets.’ Guests denounce the ‘corporate media’ on his show and Fox’s C.E.O. calls Carlson ‘brave’ for discussing controversial topics. Yet somehow, nobody even giggles.”

He adds, “It does not take any kind of journalistic courage to pump out night after night exactly what your audience wants to hear.”

Stirewalt also offers a counterintuitive take on what Fox News ultimately wants to achieve by offering content that tilts hard to the right. It’s not to elect Republicans or really even to help them at all, he says.

Rather, it’s about making money.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/25/business/media/sean-hannity-fox-dominion-defamation

Some of the biggest names at Fox News have been questioned, or are scheduled to be questioned in the coming days, by lawyers representing Dominion Voting Systems in its $1.6 billion defamation suit against the network, as the election technology company presses ahead with a case that First Amendment scholars say is extraordinary in its scope and significance.

Sean Hannity became the latest Fox star to be called for a deposition by Dominion’s legal team, according to a new filing in Delaware Superior Court. He is scheduled to appear on Wednesday.

Tucker Carlson is set to face questioning on Friday. Lou Dobbs, whose Fox Business show was canceled last year, is scheduled to appear on Tuesday. Others who have been deposed recently include Jeanine Pirro, Steve Doocy and a number of high-level Fox producers, court records show.

People with knowledge of the case, who would speak only anonymously, said they expected that the chief executive of Fox News Media, Suzanne Scott, could be one of the next to be deposed, along with the president of Fox News, Jay Wallace. Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, whose family owns Fox, could follow in the coming weeks.

The depositions are among the clearest indications yet of how aggressively Dominion is moving forward with its suit, which is set to go to trial early next year, and of the legal pressure building on the nation’s most powerful conservative media company. There have been no moves from either side to discuss a possible settlement, people with knowledge of the case have said.

Letters from an American, Heather Scott SmithOctober 12, 2022Meanwhile, the $1.6 billion lawsuit in which Dominion Voting Systems is suing the Fox News Corporation [FNC] for its lies about Dominion’s voting machines in the 2020 election is moving forward. The FNC is apparently planning to argue that FNC personalities were simply expressing opinions when they said the machines were rigged, much as FNC has argued to defend host Tucker Carlson from lawsuits, saying that he was not reporting facts and that no “reasonable viewer” would take him seriously.

Before the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection held its first prime-time hearing in June, Suzanne Scott, the chief executive of Fox News Media, called Lachlan Murdoch, her boss, to tell him how her network planned to broadcast the event.

They wouldn’t, she said. The channel would stick with its usual prime-time lineup of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Mr. Murdoch, the executive chairman of Fox Corporation, was fine with Ms. Scott’s decision, according to an executive with knowledge of their conversation.

As a business move, Ms. Scott’s call was the right one for Fox News in the end. As many viewers tuned in as they would on a regular night. And Fox still managed to best CNN in the ratings.

The decision was true to form, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former colleagues. Since Ms. Scott took over the top job at Fox News in 2018, her colleagues said, she has managed from behind the scenes with a simple mantra: Respect Fox’s audience. Often, that involves sparing conservative viewers what they don’t want to hear — even when that means ignoring one of the biggest stories of the year.

That strategy has helped Fox News succeed not just as the most-watched cable news network in the country but also as a multibillion-dollar consumer brand with a suite of businesses that, according to a recent company promo for one product, offers fans “The World According to Fox.” In addition to the Fox News and Fox Business cable channels, Ms. Scott has introduced Fox News Books, a publisher of meditations on Christianity; Fox Nation, a $5.99-per-month streaming service that produces a reboot of “Cops” and an original special from Mr. Carlson, “The End of Men,” that purports to explore a nationwide decline in testosterone rates; and Fox Weather, a new app and cable channel.

But Ms. Scott’s Fox News — a sanctuary for conservatives where few unpleasant facts intrude and political misinformation has spread — also looms large in a case that threatens Fox’s business, and possibly Ms. Scott herself. She has emerged as one of the central figures in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems, in which the voting company accuses Fox executives of juicing ratings and profits by repeatedly airing false information about Dominion machines siphoning votes away from former President Donald J. Trump.

According to several people closely involved in the case, lawyers for Dominion are expected to depose her soon. A judge has granted Dominion access to her emails and text messages from the period after the 2020 election when Fox anchors and guests amplified some of the most outrageous falsehoods about Dominion and its supposed role in a plot to steal the election.

So far, those messages contained at least one instance in which Ms. Scott expressed skepticism about the dubious claims of voter fraud that her network had been promoting, a recent court proceeding revealed. That kind of evidence is what Dominion hopes will ultimately convince a jury that Fox broadcast information it knew to be false, which would leave the company on the hook for significant damages.

Jeremy W. Peters covers media and its intersection with politics, law and culture. He is the author of “Insurgency: How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted.” He is a contributor to MSNBC. @jwpetersnytFacebook

Rachel Abrams is a media reporter for The Times. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting that exposed sexual harassment and misconduct. @rachelabramsny

 

 

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