The Tucker Text That Panicked Fox’s Top Brass: “It’s Not How White Men Fight”
A Tucker Carlson text message captured during the discovery phase of the Dominion Voting Systems defamation suit against Fox News alarmed the network’s top brass and “contributed to a chain of events that ultimately led to [his] firing,” according to The New York Times.
The content of Carlson’s text, which was first reported and published by the Times on Tuesday night, was given to the paper by “several people close to the defamation suit.” They did so in violation of a court order protecting various communications that surfaced in discovery.
The text in question was sent by Carlson to one of his producers on the afternoon of Jan. 7, 2021 — the day after the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill. In the lengthy message, a candid Carlson introspectively shares the feelings he had when, a few weeks earlier, he’d seen video of “at least three” Trump supporters surrounding a single Antifa “kid” and severely beating him. Referring to the ratio of attackers to victim, Carlson said:
“Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight.”
He went on to confess that he’d initially found himself “rooting for the mob…hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him.” Then, Carlson said, he’d realized he was “becoming something I don’t want to be…I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it…If I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?”
According to Times sources, the Fox board saw the provocative text just one day before the network was to begin defending itself in the Dominion lawsuit, and feared the network’s reputation could be harmed by Carlson’s implicit assertion that white people generally fight more honorably than others, and by his candid admission of his cheering on political violence — however fleeting that latter feeling was, as his conscience apparently prevailed over ideologically-driven bloodlust.
The day after the board saw Carlson’s text, it notified executives it would be tasking an outside law firm, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz, to investigate Carlson. The Times notes that other Carlson messages “referred to women — including a senior Fox executive — in crude and misogynistic terms.”
Fox hasn’t commented on the reason the network and Carlson “agreed to part ways.” The Times didn’t disclose the affiliations of the people “close to the defamation suit” who turned over the text message, but it’s easy to imagine that — along with the behind-the-scenes views of Fox — it came from a network employee or associate. With its ratings suffering from Carlson’s departure — and legal wrangling with Tucker in the offing — Fox has a motive to shed unflattering light on the dethroned king of prime time network news.
Wow, Tucker Carlson talks and texts like a normal human being in private.
Devastating Fox News, absolutely devastating.
— The Columbia Bugle ?? (@ColumbiaBugle) May 3, 2023
Carlson was asked about the text during a deposition, according to the Times, which — along with other outlets — has asked the judge in the defamation suit to release messages that remain under seal.
Fox avoided trial by settling the suit for $787.5 million. However, even if the case went to trial, the newly-published text may not have become public. First, Dominion lawyers would had to decide they want to introduce it, and the judge would then have to rule it admissible.
In the now-settled case, Dominion had accused Fox of knowingly airing false information suggesting Dominion machines were rigged to help President Biden win in 2020.
While we’re certainly not endorsing the view, Tucker’s suggestion that non-whites are more prone to mounting group violence against outnumbered victims — or aggressing in otherwise dishonorable ways — may indicate he’d been exposed to an ongoing stream of viral videos that anecdotally reinforce such beliefs.
— Clown World ™ ? (@ClownWorld_) April 17, 2023
Graphic video from Oakland, Calif. at a street occupation on April 30 shows a mob beating a victim on the ground until he is unconscious. The man’s car was hit & he got out of the vehicle before being jumped. The mob then continue performing street stunts. pic.twitter.com/5Iif2aU36O
— Andy Ngô ?️? (@MrAndyNgo) May 1, 2023
Wed, 05/03/2023 – 11:05