On the man who Fox News’ lawyers admit he doesn’t know what he is talking about, doesn’t tell the truth – and anyway, his employers don’t even expect him to.
First published: March 2022.
Dear Tucker Carlson,
First, I must confess that I’ve never watched your show. Of course, I’ve also never watched Fox News. Still, I believe that makes me as qualified to comment as you feel that you’re qualified to talk about international issues.
I have seen clips of your show and read news accounts when you make news – which I must note you do often by being outrageous.
Oh, and I also learned a lot when I read about Fox lawyers arguing in court that you were nothing but a talking head who makes things up.
Those Fox lawyers, if I recall, argued that nothing you say is to be believed and that anyone who watches you is smart enough to know you don’t deal in facts. As matter of fact, this is what Fox attorney Erin Murphy said about you in court:
“Would a reasonable viewer be coming here (to your show) and thinking, ‘This is where I’m going to be hearing the news of the day?’”
Again, Tuck (if I may call you Tuck) that was one of your employer’s lawyers making a defense of Fox against a slander suit. In which she said you, in effect, don’t know what you’re talking about.
So, to translate legal talk into plain talk: If anyone who watches your show thinks it has anything to do with fact-based news, that viewer just is not too bright, according to Fox lawyers.
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But you are – congratulations by the way – Fox’s number one talk show host! And I think the leading cable news host. And, how did you get there? You lied. And your lawyers admit you lie. And, apparently, your viewers don’t know that you lie. They think you speak the Gospel.
What a world. Oh yeah, it’s also kinda like when you won’t answer the question about whether or not you’re vaccinated (but you and I know the truth. Wink wink). It just wouldn’t fit your image to admit you have protection from a vaccine that guest after guest that you invite on your show says doesn’t work. By the way, they lie too.
It’s important to know, though, that that lawsuit, filed by former Playboy model Karen McDougal was thrown out by the judge. The judge ruled that McDougal’s claims that you defamed her didn’t pass the high bar of being defamatory.
The judge said the remarks: “were rhetorical hyperbole and opinion commentary to frame a political debate and, as such are not actionable as defamation.”
A key moment in the case came when the judge asked “Does somebody in Mr Carlson’s position have a duty of inquiry?” The answer was no.
Translation: you have no responsibility to check the facts before you start broadcasting. No need to check the facts when, well, you don’t use many facts. As such, the judge ruled, you didn’t defame Miss McDougal because, well, again according to Fox’s lawyers, you don’t tell the truth nor do your employers expect you to. They just want ratings because, well, ratings sell advertising.
Such a job! And you get to soak in the admiration of millions of viewers who actually think you are telling the truth!!
You also made a positive documentary about Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister. During his times in office, Mr Orban rolled back press freedom, pulled back on judicial independence and undermined multiparty democracy.
But that was just a warmup.
You recently have been talking more positively about Vladimir Putin, a murderer, thief and thug (among other things) who today is invading an independent sovereign country – and you side with him over not just the Ukrainian people but also over the government.
Just like your role model (Donald Trump) who called Putin a genius.
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But I’ve rambled on enough (you can understand how that happens, I know). Let’s just say, your own network should be putting warnings up on your show that “this show contains very few facts but many lies. And, it contains few morals.”
I don’t know if this is true or not but I read it on the internet so I assume it is true: you are worth $30 million thanks to books, inheritance and your multi-million dollar Fox salary.
Not bad for a guy whose bosses’ lawyers admitted in court that you lie on air and no one who watches your show should expect anything more.
I guess you made the right choice though – the truth doesn’t pay as much.
It just feels a whole lot better.
— AUTHOR —
▫ B. Jay Cooper, Former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Also headed communications offices at the RNC, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Yale University.
GET THEM INVOLVED:
- You Literally Can't Believe The Facts Tucker Carlson Tells You. So Say Fox's Lawyers | NPR
- Trump praises ‘genius’ Putin for moving troops to eastern Ukraine | The Guardian
- Text: This piece was originally published in The Screaming Moderate and re-published in PMP Magazine on 4 March 2022, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Flickr/Gage Skidmore. - Tucker Carlson speaking with attendees at the 2021 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. | 18 December 2021. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)