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OPINION

The NY Times Claims a Text Message Doomed Tucker

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Richard Drew

Following the surprising removal by Fox News of top-rated Tucker Carlson from the primetime lineup, there has been ceaseless speculation about what was behind the decision. The network was reticent to give details last week, and Tucker has spoken a few times while barely referencing the ouster. As the ratings have plunged by at least -50%, the wonderment only broadens in the second week following their divorce, but The New York Times feels as if they have glommed on to a key piece of evidence.

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They truly have not done so, however.

In a revelation of questionable legality, the news outlet has come into possession of a text message from the Dominion lawsuit in which Tucker was saying some introspective comments about the visuals in a video, and some allegedly disturbing language is found that The Times believes both led to the network settling its case with Dominion Voting Systems and to the firing of Carlson:

A text message sent by Tucker Carlson that set off a panic at the highest levels of Fox on the eve of its billion-dollar defamation trial showed its most popular host sharing his private, inflammatory views about violence and race. The discovery of the message contributed to a chain of events that ultimately led to Mr. Carlson’s firing. 

We will look at the contents, but first, there is the question of how they obtained this message. This text evidence was under seal by the court following the settlement agreement between Fox News and Dominion, yet it made its way into the hands of NY Times reporters. It seems probable that this was leaked from the Dominion side of the issue, but most likely, there will be no recriminations coming. This has been taking place throughout this case; look how many texts and other details were becoming public prior to the trial.

It follows a pattern, and it illuminates the slant in the media. When an agenda can be forwarded, this kind of information can be found and released. Multiple details from the Dominion suit can go public, but getting the manifesto from the Nashville shooter released cannot happen. Finding out who leaked the SCOTUS draft memo last year is an impossibility. The press cannot figure out who leaked Court documents…to the press.

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So, what about this Tucker text message? Well, we are told this is a deeply serious matter that likely rocked the foundation of Fox executives, according to the three reporters detailing this expose – Jeremy W. Peters, Michael S. Schmidt, and Jim Rutenberg. This trio explains how the contents of this exchange “Alarmed Fox Leaders” and what it led to, claiming, The discovery of the text message contributed to a chain of events that ultimately led to Tucker Carlson’s firing.” It is an article of all promise but little proof.

This text “set off a panic at the highest levels of Fox on the eve of its billion-dollar defamation trial,” and it allegedly “alarmed the Fox board, which saw the message a day before Fox was set to defend itself against Dominion Voting Systems before a jury.”  Also, this was supposedly “creating a sensational and damaging moment that would raise broader questions about the company.” So, The New York Times reporters are convinced – or more accurately, trying to convince others – Tucker’s text blew up the defamation defense, and he was fired over his comments. So let’s look at what is claimed to have done so – the actual text message:

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it. 

Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be. The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is? 

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It is a mostly reflective commentary, but of course, the pull quote The Times, and any Fox opponent, will focus upon is Tucker saying, “It’s not how white men fight.” The writers dutifully made a point of referencing what they called his “ideology of white nationalism.” On the surface, it appears racist, but is it really? Tucker is referring to his own kind, and he is not specifically calling out or targeting another race. If this is to be called “racist,” the disqualifying question is, “Racist toward whom?” Consider this – had a black person commented that “This is not how blacks fight,” who would take offense? To use one of the convenient dodges by the press, if anything, Tucker is guilty of speaking inartfully in that passage.

But looking at the larger point, how exactly is anything in this exchange impactful? Nothing presented here has any bearing on the defamation suit. Tucker was referencing a video about a street altercation, and Dominion was in no way a component. Then why would the Fox team be blanching upon seeing this text message? What is contained therein to compel the settlement payout? And what specifically is there to lead to Carlson suddenly and unceremoniously being pulled off the airwaves?

The Times desperately wants this to be a smoking gun bit of evidence, but there is nothing to link Tucker’s words to any of the actions. Laughably, it is said, “The text alarmed the Fox board” and that they “grew concerned that the message could become public at trial when Mr. Carlson was on the stand.” And yet, this text still somehow went public. Why this was considered a threat when so many previous text messages – including a number from Carlson – had already been leaked to the press makes little sense. 

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In relation to the Dominion suit, Carlson had to be seen as the least responsible on-air personality. He had repeatedly called into question the claims of the Trump team, and he challenged Syndey Powell directly to provide the evidence she stated they had regarding their voter fraud accusations. His previously-leaked texts had the host disparaging Trump, calling him a “destroyer,” as well as personally displaying animus. 

It is with some obliviousness that the writing team at The Times admits Tucker was a smaller factor in the lawsuit, yet “his personal texts were drawing outsize scrutiny.” This is an ironic assessment in an article that placed outsized import on comments made, which ultimately have no bearing at all on the claims being forwarded by the trio of scribes at the outlet.

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