ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

The Tucker-Lovers At The MRC

The Media Research Center has long been a fierce defender of anything and everything Tucker Carlson says -- and that defense only grew after Fox News fired him.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/9/2023

Tucker Carlson

The Media Research Center has been a longtime defender of anything Tucker Carlson does -- and an angry critic of anyone who tries to hold him accountable for his words.

Following a 2018 protest at Carlson's house by antifa activists, the MRC unsurprisingly rushed to his defense, painting the protesters in the most negative terms. For instance, Nicholas Fondacaro declared that "a mob of Antifa protestors descended on his Washington, D.C. area home to threaten him and his family with violence," further attacking the protesters as "radical leftists," and Kyle Drennen highlighted the "mob of left-wing Antifa activists surrounding the home of Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and terrorizing his family."

The MRC also uncritically promoted claims about the amount of damage the protesters allegedly caused. Curtis Houck asserted that the protest resulted in the "front door being busted and vandalism on his car, house, and driveway." His proof was a tweet by noted plagiarist Benny Johnson, who linked to an article at the Carlson-founded Daily Caller, which described the "vandalism" as "signs left on the vehicles parked in the driveway as well as a sign left on the front door of the home." The only apparent actual vandalism was the anarchy symbol spray-painted on the driveway.

Fondacaro returned in another post -- again referencing the "radical leftist mob" who committed an "assault on Carlson's home" -- to uncritically repeat a claim from Fox News’ media reporter Howard Kurtz that "the radical mob 'pushed against his front door until it cracked.'" Similarly, Corinne Weaver claimed that the protesters "smashed [Carlson's] oak door."

But no proof has ever been offered that the door on Carlson's house was damaged in any way.

Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple actually went to Carlson's house after the attack and found that the front door "appeared to be in working condition," and that a person he talked to at the house offered no evidence of damage. A week later, Wemple pointed out again that the door "seemed sturdy and fully intact. A woman who answered a knock looked it up and down and appeared to conclude it was in fine shape," and a police report on the incident mentioned no damage to the front door. Carlson has ignored repeated requests to corroborate the damage he claims was made to the door, Wemple says.

Meanwhile, Alan Pyke, writing at Think Progress, was at the protest and observed what happened: "One of the protesters knocked firmly on Carlson’s front door three times then trotted back down the steps to join the rest of the group in the street. This person did not throw their body against the door, as Carlson has claimed to newspapers." Pyke also observed: "Right-wing media have characterized Wednesday’s group of fewer than 15 activists shadowed by four legal observers as a violent mob. In reality, a small group knocked on Carlson’s door, shook a tambourine, and chanted slogans aimed at his chosen career hyping hateful speech aimed at racial minorities and political opponents, then left."

Despite all of this, the MRC continued to hyperbolically overstate the protest. Another post by Weaver claimed that protesters "attacked Tucker Carlson’s house," and the next day she asserted the protest was carried out by a "violent antifa group."

Despite this, the MRC insisted on repeating the false claim about the door months later, though it was also unironically citing the hated "liberal media" to try and give it a veneer of credibility:

  • A June 2019 post by Alexander Hall stated: "As USA Today wrote in 2018, Carlson said that far left activists broke his door in their 2018 attack. The security video caught one of the activists mentioning a pipe bomb. Carlson’s wife Suzie who was at home by herself that evening, locked herself into a pantry and called police."
  • A July 2019 post by Weaver pulled the same dishonest trick: "The group 'cracked the front door,' according to CNN."
  • Hall repeated it again in Septmeber 2019 post: 'As USA Today wrote, Carlson said that far left activists broke his door.
  • Nearly three years after the fact, Hall was still pushing the false claim in a September 2021 post: "Tucker Carlson claimed that Smash Racism DC had '[broken] his oak door and one person mentioned a pipe bomb, as heard on a security video,' USA Today summarized."

By uncritically repeating Carlson's apparently embellished claims about what happened at the protest, the MRC published fake news. But since that fake news helps the MRC's right-wing agenda, don't expect an apology or correction.

Cheering Tucker-incited harassment

But when Carlson's words resulted in threats against others -- especially certain unfavored reporters -- the MRC was totally cool with that. (Which is not a surprise.) In July 2020, Carlson claimed to be unnerved by the New York Times doing a story on him -- or, in the words of the MRC's Fondacaro, "he exposed how the radically leftist New York Times had assigned a so-called 'journalist' and photographer to hunt him down, find out where he lives, and print it for all his haters to find him." In fact, the Times never published Carlson's address -- but Carlson's viewers unearthed personal information about the Times reporters working on the story and harassed them. Apparently Fondacaro is totally cool with that.

In March 2021, Clay Waters huffed that another Times reporter, "self-appointed social media hall monitor" Taylor Lorenz, was a "hypocritical snitch" for complaining about being an online target, playing the blame-the-victim card by highlighting a right-wing Washington Examiner commentary headlined "Taylor Lorenz Did This To Herself."

What did Lorenz do to warrant such attacks? She apparently committed a minor act of misattribution that kicked off a campaign of hate against her, which kicked off an online hate campaign against her. A month earlier, Waters went after Lorenz for being a "politically correct hall-monitor" because that misattribution came in a story about politically incorrect speech on the invitation-only social media app Clubhouse, which she found a way to infiltrate.

In another March 2021 post, Fondacaro touted Carlson's attack on Lorenz for complaining that Carlson sicced his followers on them:

What started out as a small section of a larger segment about elites claiming they were somehow oppressed during Tuesday’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, blew up Wednesday after The New York Times and social media reporter Taylor Lorenz claimed the Fox News host directed online harassment at her. But during his show later that night, Carlson shot back at the newspaper for absurdly equating criticism to harassment when they were the ones who harassed his family last summer by trying to dox them.

In fact, no evidence was presented that the Times ever tried to dox Carlson, and Fondacaro did not explain how, exactly, the Times "harassed" Carlson's family. And he forgot to mention that Carlson effectively sicced his followers on the Times reporters to dox them.

Fondacaro pretended that no reporter has ever been unjustly criticized by anyone on Fox News and scyophantically repeated Carlson's defense and his attack on a Times statement defending Lorenz:

In the statement in question, The Times claimed “Tucker Carlson opened his show last night by attacking a journalist” and described it as “a calculated and cruel tactic, which he regularly deploys to unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol at his intended target.”

“We were embarrassed for Taylor Lorenz. She spends her entire life on the internet, so, of course, after a while, you become a deeply unhappy narcissist. That’s what the internet does to people,” Carlson explained. “And we assumed her bosses would be embarrassed for her too. Little did we know, that they are all exactly like she is.”

After denouncing harassment and saying he would condemn a mob bearing down on her home (which happened to him), Carlson debunked what she claimed was harassment:

So Carlson -- and, thus, Fondacaro -- doesn't think that doxxing reporters and sending them death threats because they didn't like something that was reported constitutes "harassment"? Interesting.

Jeffrey Lord tried on pile on in a March 13 column with more blame-the-victim ranting: "One doesn’t know whether to laugh at the ridiculous Lorenz tweet or The Times statement. It is The Times itself, not to mention all manner of left-wing television and print/Internet outlets that routinely 'unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol' at Tucker. The Times loves to write articles reporting on Tucker advertisers who have been intimidated by leftists into leaving. It has outright lied in saying that he 'derides immigrants.' On and on go the attacks. Even on his home, with his wife quivering inside." He concluding by spouting a right-wing talking point: that this episode proves "the American left - in particular The New York Times - wants to silence conservative media. Period and for good." As if silencing non-right-wing media isn't the goal of the MRC.

(The following year, the MRC lashed out anew at Lorenz for reporting the identity of Chaya Raichik, the operator of the homophobic Libs of TikTok Twitter account.)

Then, in a March 15 post, Donovan Newkirk pretended the undisputed claim that Carlson's attacks on journalists result in threats isn't true. When a CNN analyst noted that "when Tucker Carlson puts you on his target board, people throw out crazy threats and death threats, he sneered in response, "Apparently stating someone’s name more than once in a sentence constitutes endangering the welfare of 'a lot' of people."

Another target of both MRC and Carlson has been NBC tech reporter Brandy Zadrozny. In September 2020, the MRC's Alex Christy complained that Zadrozny "trash[ed] Facebook for not being bossy enough with its stupider (i.e. conservative) consumers" by pointing out that its policy to stop election ads a week before the election was meaningless, huffing in response: "Nobody in this conversation acknowledged that candidates have been airing controversial ads on television for decades, and no one needed a moderator like Facebook to rule one side was airing 'disinformation.' That was hashed out by the opposing candidates."

In an April 2021 post, Alexander Hall tried to counter Zadrozny with a lot of whiny whataboutism:

NBC investigative reporter Brandy Zadrozny is one of the internet's most famous Cancel Vulture journalists ruining the lives of everyday Americans. She blasted Fox News and right-wing commentators in an interview with the Nieman Journalism Lab.

On Thursday, Zadrozny was introduced by Nieman Lab writer Brad Esposito in an interview as a “librarian turned reporter,” and she indeed has no qualms about nagging Americans to hush. While Zadrozny claimed that “[t]here’s so few monsters in the world,” she said she has “never felt so secure in my critique of a place” as calling Fox News “trash.” She mentioned “Fox” seven times during the interview.

One segment that oddly enraged her was when former Fox News host Eric Bolling used “doughnuts” to explain the crisis of America’s national deficit= under then-President Barack Obama. “That was actually an Eric Bolling segment that actually aired and I remember just screaming at the TV — like, we had all of these TVs, and I was like, nooooooooooo. So a lot of screaming.”

What apparently doesn’t outrage Zadrozny though? Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters, it seems.

Despite a history of reporting on extremism on social media platforms, Zadrozny only mentioned Antifa in the context of paranoia by certain “Facebook groups.” She also merely described Black Lives Matter protestors as people “saying the names of Black men and women who were killed for no reason.” Meanwhile, she described white counter demonstrators, who likely came to prevent the destruction of the local area, as an “army of white people [in fatigues] with huge guns everywhere.”

Esposito brought up the January 6 Capitol riot. Neither Esposito nor Zadrozny mentioned the Black Lives Matter riots that destroyed property in multiple cities including $500 million in damages in Minneapolis alone, according to Fox News. The two journalists also failed to mention the more recent Capitol attack where an aspiring Nation of Islam member reportedly attacked multiple police officers, resulting in the death of one officer and himself.

Hall didn't mention that Bolling's doughnut-deficit analogy did not reflect reality (or why he's a former Fox News host). Nor did Hall explain why he does not find the Capitol riot offensive. He then touted how the right-wing website Revolver News described Zadrozny as "The Woman In Charge of Doxxing and Destroying Trump Supporters" (no comment on the underhanded methods of the right-wing Project Veritas for comparison).

Then, it was Carlson's turn to target Zadrozny, citing the Revolver News report and having one of the writers of that story, Darren Beattie, on to talk about it. No mention that Beattie got fired from the Trump White House for hanging out with white nationalists. NBC responded by stating that Carlson's "smear" of Zadrozny "ha[s] shamefully encouraged harassment and worse."

Shortly thereafter, the Washington Post did an article on how Carlson targets journalists, prompting Tim Graham to complain:

Friday’s Washington Post splashed a big headline on the front of the Style section with a picture of number-one Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the words “The bully pundit: Fox News host Tucker Carlson often launches attacks on journalists. And once he’s off the air, the zealots who follow him start lobbing hate tweets and death threats.”

Radio host Chris Plante made fun on his Friday morning radio show with the obvious point: So it’s dangerous to launch attacks on journalists, but what is this story but a 43-paragraph attack on a journalist? Apparently, no Fox News host can be identified as a journalist. The Washington Post implies conservatives are propagandists, not journalists.

This is just the latest in a pile of stories campaigning for Carlson to be canceled by Fox.

Wait -- Graham thinks Carlson is a "journalist"? And that right-wingers like himself and Carlson are not propagandists? They both get paid quite well to push propaganda. And if Carlson is not an effective propagandist -- er, journalist, why is he and the MRC so concerned that Carlson is being held accountable for what he says and obsessing about what the Post is saying about him?

Graham then decided to wildly read into the Post reproducing Fox News' defense of Carlson as "legitimate criticism": "They printed that like it was hate speech, like it was offensive. This is a common liberal-media tactic: disparaging conservative media criticism by saying it only encouraged violent Twitter trolls. CNN commonly claimed any attempt to criticize them or chant 'CNN sucks' at Trump rallies encouraged violence against journalists." Graham gets paid well to disparage any legitimate criticism of conservative media.

Graham then complained of the "threatened liberal journalists" listed in the article, including Zadrozny and Lorenz who got death threats as a result of Carlson's targeting, then whined: "So getting a Twitter death threat is serious, but a mob outside your home is just a 'boisterous protest'? Was it 'mostly peaceful'? His wife called the cops." Graham forgot the part about Carlson lying that his front door was damaged by the protesters, suggesting that calling the cops may have been an overreaction -- or was done so right-wing defenders like Graham could attack the protesters as more dangerous than they actually were.

Graham concluded by huffing: "The point of this article is that Fox News is a menacing threat, not a news network. It's as anti-Fox as a Brian Stelter rant at CNN." Stelter, of course, was another MRC (and Fox News) target.

Yep, the MRC would be quite happy if a deranged Tucker fan followed through on threats and harmed a reporter Tucker targeted.

Replacement theory

Meanwhile, as ConWebWatch has documented, Carlson was becoming an enthusiastic promoter of "replacement theory," a racist-leaning right-wing conspiracy theory claiming that Democrats want to use increased immigration to place white people with, um, non-white people. The MRC defended that, of course, while downplaying the racist aspect. For instance, Curtis Houck spent a 2021 post whining about Carlson being criticized by the Washington Post over it; he didn't deny Carlson's remarks were racist, but he reframed them as Carlson would, insisting they were merely "about immigration and liberals wanting to create a system in which new immigrants would become dependent upon the state and the Democratic Party for their well being."

But in the wake of a 2022 mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store in which the shooter targeted black people and referenced replacement theory in a manifesto, the MRC had to rush to Carlson's defense, distancing him from the massacre while also insisting it wasn't a conspiracy theory. Graham used a post-massacre podcast to try and mislead about what replacement theory is, then complained that the media "saw opportunity" in the shooting by blaming Carlson, even though "there's no indication that [the shooter] watched Carlson's program. " Then he played gun-massacre whataboutism and victimhood: "We all know -- and this was all over conservative Twitter -- they cannot prove that this thug shooter has ever paid attention to Tucker Carlson anywhere at any time, whereas the guy who shot at the Republicans on the softball field in Alexandria, Virginia, had professed his love for Rachel Maddow's show. Does that mean Rachel Maddow encouraged the shooting of Republicans? That was generally not the conservative spin." As Graham surely know, even the "conservative Twitter" pushing that spin never found anything beyond a Facebook like to link the softball shooting to Maddow, whereas the replacement theory promoted by Carlson closely echoed the shooter's replacement theory.

Of course, whataboutism is a distraction, not an argument, and if that's all you have to defend Carlson, you don't have much.

Still, the MRC loved Carlson so much that it would dedicate entire posts to transcribing his rants. Here's a sampling of its Tucker stenography in late 2022 and early 2023:

Note how the MRC feels so close to Carlson that it's quite comfortable identifying him by only his first name in headlines.

The MRC would also defend Carlson as well from any criticism, as shown in a Feb, 26 post by Mark Finkelstein whining that Carlson was called a "bomb-throwing whack job" and a March 23 post by Alex Christy lashing out at a discussion on "The Daily Show" in which Carlson was called a "world-class asshole." Neither writer made an effort to prove those assertions wrong.

The firing

So when Fox News abruptly fired Carlson on April 24 and killed his TV show, the MRC was shocked (and, apparently, fearing the loss of easy clickbait). Curtis Houck declared his firing to be part of "one of the more bizarre and consequential days in modern cable news" along with the firing of CNN's Don Lemon the same day, and he had nothing but gushy things to say about the guy:

Carlson’s ouster gripped social media and conservative circles Monday, leaving many baffled by Fox’s decision to oust the most-watched cable news host, who had not only a weeknight primetime show Tucker Carlson Tonight (which averaged 3.3 million viewers in 2022), but a daytime show on its streaming network Fox Nation called Tucker Carlson Today, and an investigative series Tucker Carlson Originals.

A Fox News spokeswoman broke the news in a statement: “FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”

The statement concluded by revealing Carlson would not be given a farewell show and instead the timeslot will be filled by a placeholder show Fox News Tonight and helmed on a “rotating” basis by various “FOX News personalities until a new host is named.”


Going back to Carlson, it’ll remain an open question as to why Carlson was unceremoniously axed (so long as no further reporting is provided). Last week, Fox News agreed to a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems and avoid trial over its “false” coverage about the aftermath of the 2020 election.

Carlson’s final segment will go down without much fanfare as he ended Friday’s show by bringing in Pennsylvania pizza deliveryman Tyler Morrell to eat pizzas from the shop, Coco's Pizza in Delaware County, and discuss Morrell’s heroic action to trip up an alleged car thief.

Carlson wrapped by teasing the latest episode of Tucker Carlson Originals and telling viewers he’d be back on Monday: “That’s it for us, for the week....And we’ll be back on Monday. In the meantime, have the best weekend with the ones that you love and we’ll see you then.”

That was followed shortly after by a post from Tierin-Rose Mandelburg raging at anyone who dared to criticize Carlson:

The left has a tendency to marvel when the right seems weak. Typical for those who have no moral backbone.

Moments after Fox News and Tucker Carlson broke up, numerous celebrities posted in celebration. Though no confirmation as to why the split took place, Hollywood elites used it as an opportunity to bash Carlson and Fox News itself.

Mandelburg didn't actually rebut any of the criticism of Carlson of course; instead, she concluded by huffing:

The irony is that while the left was busy cheering Carlson not working with Fox News anymore, one of their own, Don Lemon, was fired from CNN.

All this to say, celebrities and much of the left are so dedicated to harassing, bashing and being evil towards others that at this point, it’s simply all they seem to know.

That's right -- the person whose paycheck depends on her harassing, bashing and being evil towards anyone who's not heterosexual and, in particular, is transgender is whining about other people being mean.

Nicholas Fondacaro lashed out at more Carlson critics:

With news breaking during their Monday show that Tucker Carlson was out at Fox News, the liberal and faux-conservative cast members of ABC’s The View celebrated the development by doing the wave and leading the audience in singing goodbye. One of the ladies even praised God.

As they were coming back from a commercial break late in the show, moderator Whoopi Goldberg broke the news. “Welcome back. Word has just come down that Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” she said as the audience erupted into cheers and applause.

“They thanked him for his service to the network as a host and as a prior contributor,” she read from the Fox News Media statement as she stood up and instructed the rest of the cast to do the wave with her.


Racist co-host Sunny Hostin then sarcastically gloated that, “I don’t think anyone likes to celebrate the demise of someone’s career” and quickly suggested Carlson was singularly “responsible for the degradation that we see somewhat of our democracy in this country.”

Then, speaking “as a faithful person,” the self-proclaimed devout Catholic thanked God for Carlson no longer having his gig at Fox News. “Look at God! Look at God!” she proclaimed.

For her part, co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin declared it “a good day for the Ukrainians” because Carlson was “the biggest purveyor of pro-Russian talking points” and “Russian propaganda hardest hit” by the departure.

“Karma doesn't lose anyone's address,” Hostin bragged, with Goldberg adding: “No. Well, it may misplace the address, but it doesn't lose it.”

(Yes, Fondacaro still thinks Hostin is "racist" because he doesn't understand how metaphors work.)

The next day, Finkelstein groused that a commentator said Fox News viewers want to be spoon-fed by hosts like Carlson -- then actually tried to defend Carlson's pro-Putin stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

The late, great Rush Limbaugh often made a point of refuting the liberal-elite notion that his listeners were "mind-numbed robots" who took all of their political marching orders from El Rushbo. He insisted "You may learn some things, but in terms of your core beliefs you had ’em long before I came along. You’re just now having them reinforced."

On today's Morning Joe, George Conway of the disgraced Lincoln Project echoed that robotic line as he commented on Tucker Carlson's abrupt departure from Fox News. Said Conway:
That's the appeal of him to the MAGA base. Because they want to, they want to make things simpler for themselves. They don't want to think for themselves.

Democracy is complicated. Democracy is messy. Democracy is diversity. We don't like that, these people who watch Fox News. And Tucker appeals to that.

Not just the authoritarian streak, but also, you know, the great replacement theory. He wants to gin up, gin up the right, you know, with racism.
It's true that Carlson has been a critic of Biden's Ukraine position. But Conway overstated things in saying Carlson believes that it is up to Putin to define the situation there. On the first anniversary of Russia's invasion, Carlson wrote that limited objectives were reasonable:
To push Russia back to where it was a year ago before it invaded Ukraine . . . seemed like a reasonable and measurable objective."
Today, Scarborough sounded like the Biden campaign announcement, that the Democrats were for freedom and democracy, while Tucker and Trump were autocrats who liked Putin.

Of course, Carlson wasn't just "a critic of Biden's Ukraine position" -- he was enough of a supporter of Russia that his rants were played on Russian state TV (and Russian propagandists offered him a job following his Fox News firing).

Back to the original claim Conway made, Finkelstein played whataboutism:

If ever there were a viewership that slavishly follows the pronouncements of TV hosts, it's that of MSNBC, where Conway is a regular. The likes of Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid, et. al, set the agenda for liberal groupthink. Heck, many viewers apparently even take Joe Scarborough seriously! But not all: on Twitter, Scarborough was trending last night when when lefties were mad that Chris Hayes was replaced by a Scarborough softball interview with Bill Clinton.

He didn't actually prove any of that, of course. Finkelstein's soft treatment of Carlson's pro-Russia stance tells us he's a true Tucker believer and dead-ender -- you know, like the rest of the MRC.

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2023 Terry Krepel