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Thursday, June 8, 2023
MRC Continued Fretting Over Tucker Carlson's Firing, Defending His Extreme Views
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center had a sad about Fox News firing Tucker Carlson, but it cheered CNN's firing of Don Lemon, then falsely tried to conflate the two even though they didn't have equivalent jobs. It was ultimately more concerned about Carlson's firing though. An April 24 post by Curtis Houck examined speculation over the firings -- but he gushed more about the speculation over Lemon while dismissing specuation about Carlson as coming from "liberal journalists" and "the ever-hacktastic Daily Beast." An April 26 post by Alex Christy -- who previously played joke policeman by whining that late-night comedy shows told too many jokes about Carlson -- complained that NBC's Seth Meyers "piled on Tucker Carlson" with Democratic Rep. Katie Porter.

Kevin Tober breathlessly hyped Carlson issuing a brief mesage after his firing:

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson broke his silence Wednesday night in a two-minute-long video posted to Twitter. In it, he torched the establishment media and what he describes as both political parties and their donors reaching "consensus on what benefits them and they actively collude to shut down any conversation about it." He ended the video with a hint that his future in conservative media was far from over. 

Tucker started the video by remarking about his perspective since leaving Fox News: "One of the first things you realize, when you step outside the noise for a few days, is how many genuinely nice people there are in this country. Kind and decent people. People who really care about what’s true and a bunch of hilarious people also. A lot of those! It’s got to be the majority of the population even now. So that’s heartening."


Maybe Carlson will release a nightly monologue on Twitter. His monologues on his former Fox News show frequently made news and got people talking on Twitter. He can easily do that again by going directly to the newly liberated Elon Musk-owned Twitter.

It should be noted that as of publication, Carlson's video had over six million impressions, which was double what his old cable news show received on an average night. 

Jeffrey Lord tried to manufacture a conspiracy about Fox News not being right-wing enough in his April 29 column:

One can only wonder, as many have, why in the world Fox would shut down its number one host. Tucker Carlson is a very popular conservative and a decidedly smart guy as well. All of which has been evident on his nightly show, and all of which his audience both understands and loves.


It boggles the mind that the people who created, own and run Fox News could be this far along in their creation and ownership of this network and not understand in a blink that the “blowback” from silencing Tucker could in fact be “this bad.”

All of which leads to the larger questions of what, exactly, Americans are really seeing as all of this drama unfolds. Is Fox deliberately turning its sights into becoming an “establishment” network? 

That, I suspect, gets right to the real reason the Fox management cut Tucker loose. He was saying things on air that went against the grain of Establishment “truths”. Whether it was his opposition to the war in Ukraine, his thoughts on the transgender obsessions or saying that illegal immigrants were literally littering the countryside of the American Southwest, Tucker was fearless.

Notably he happily showed the January 6 inside-the-Capitol videos given to him by Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Tellingly others in the GOP leadership - like Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell - were livid at Tucker’s presentation of internal videos that directly contradicted the presentations of the House January 6 Committee. Tellingly, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was so incensed that he demanded Rupert Murdoch take him off the air. And also tellingly, Schumer has now been granted his wish.

In fact, it's been proven that Carlson's cherry-picked videos don't accurately reflect the reality of the riot.

Luis Cornelio spent a May 1 post hyping speculation from podcaster Joe Rogan that Carlson might be moving to right-wing video site Rumble. MRC executive Tim Graham, meanwhile, ran to Newsmax to complain about leaked audio of unflattering behavior by Carlson and defending his right to be a nasty whiner:

NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham appeared on the Newsmax evening show Eric Bolling The Balance to discuss Tucker Carlson's dismissal and the aftermath at Fox News, and whether Fox is becoming too "establishment."

Bolling ran video of the latest leak of Tucker running down the Fox Nation website, saying it's dysfunctional and it drives him crazy. Bolling said "the speculation is that Fox is leaking that stuff from the inside."

TIM GRAHAM: Well that's the weirdest stuff. It's like we're sitting here on a day where Trump is going to do a live town hall on CNN and Fox is leaking stuff to Media Matters? (Laughs) Where are we living?!

Look, I think, just like we heard Tucker saying nasty things about Trump in the text messages or emails in the Dominion suit. People should have a right to have moments where they're upset with people. Right? I mean, we all have this inside our own office. Sometimes where we're not happy with the way things are going, But there's just you blow off steam. It doesn't mean that you're going to be a disloyal employee. I mean, the people that should be seen as the disloyal employees are all the Fox people who talked to Brian Stelter for his nasty books!

BOLLING: Yeah, and Gabe Sherman back in the day. 

Graham didn't explain what, if anything, in Stelter's book about Fox News was "nasty," or why those who spoke to him for the book were "disloyal" while Carlson wasn't.

After one leaked audio clip showed Carlson making racist-leaning comments, Mark Finkelstein took offense when "Morning Joe" featured it, using whataboutism to distract from it:

In the course of a long Morning Joe segment today focusing on an exposed Tucker Carlson text message to a colleague that the way some January 6th rioters were beating up an Antifa guy isn't "how white men fight," Michael Steele commented:

The fact that something like that could be sent to a colleague and it sort of sits there, and nothing happens or comes from it, and it's not until you get into this sort of adversarial, prosecutorial setting in which it becomes public or potentially becomes public that they see some reaction. So it really speaks to the culture inside the building in many respects that that type of communication doesn't rise to a point where, you know, he's brought in by the leadership of the company saying, what the hell are you talking about, how white men fight?"

If Steele is shocked that there would be no immediate corporate repercussions for Tucker saying that in a private communication between two people, how about a TV host bragging—live on the air—about how he would threaten and attack someone merely doing something he didn't approve of? Steele need look no further than across the morning's panel, at certified very-white-man Joe Scarborough.

Want to know "how white men fight," Michael?  Last year, we caught Macho Joe, commenting on tourists in the Capitol the day before January 6th, bragging about how he'd attack one. Mind you: not someone who had confronted or attacked Joe. Just someone doing something Scarborough didn't approve of[.]

Graham complained more about the leaks in his May 3 podcast:

Don Lemon's firing at CNN was not mysterious, but we're in week two of trying to figure out why Fox News parted ways with Tucker Carlson. Was he too insubordinate with the Murdochs? Did he use the C-word for women too often? It seems like nobody really knows yet. 

New leaks to Tucker-hating liberal outlets and "watchdog groups" seemed intended to damage the ex-Fox host's standing, but conservatives largely found they liked him more. One video showed Carlson complaining about flaws on the Fox Nation website. Another showed him suggesting one man's wife looked "yummy"....then he took it back when he thought someone might find it from a satellite transmission. He told one Fox-hating watchdog group to...."GFY."

Graham ranted about the leaked Tucker videos again in a May 7 post, with added indignance that Carlson was labeled (accurately, it can be argued) as a racist:

On Wednesday's World News Tonight, ABC reporter Terry Moran reveled in a leaked Tucker Carlson text message about a mob of white men beating up an "antifa kid." He claimed "For years...Tucker Carlson promoted racist views on his show, the highest-rated program on Fox...viewers had long heard Carlson give voice to a message of white supremacy, especially on the issue of immigration."

ABC anchor David Muir introduced the story with these words behind him on screen: "NYT UNCOVERS RACIST CARLSON TEXT."


To describe Carlson's show as "racist" in general is a smear not only of the host, but the audience that makes it "the highest rated program on Fox." In The New York Times, A.O. Scott said the same thing, only fancier: "His most successful on-air persona, perfected on Fox after the departure of Bill O’Reilly, has been a volatile mixture of upper crust and salt of the earth. Whiteness was the glue that held the package together, and in this text you can see it coming unstuck, even as Carlson tries to work through some inherent contradictions."

Graham went on to play whataboutism rather than actually try and prove Carlson isn't racist. You may remember that the MRC tried to lamely insist that the Carlson-promoted racist replacement conspiracy theory -- which seems to have inspired a gun massacre -- wasn't racist or a conspiracy theory.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:47 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 9, 2023 9:56 PM EDT

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