The New York Times Series Attacking Tucker Carlson Buried a Pretty Important Disclaimer

Posted: Apr 30, 2022 2:30 PM
The New York Times Series Attacking Tucker Carlson Buried a Pretty Important Disclaimer

Source: Photo via Gage Skidmore

On Saturday morning, The New York Times engaged in quite the hackery against Fox News' Tucker Carlson with "American Nationalist." It's not just a hit piece, but an entire series, written by Nicholas Confessore, who is also a commentator for MSNBC. That Confessore is so involved with a direct competitor of Fox News is not mentioned until more than halfway through the first part of the series, which by itself is over 8,000 words. A source close to the matter confirmed for Townhall that Confessore had been working on the piece for a year. 

Here's how it was referenced, close to 50 paragraphs into the story:

At “Crossfire,” Mr. Carlson told colleagues he felt overproduced and trapped by the rigid left-right debate format. The show was drawing dwindling audiences, and after it was canceled in early 2005, he moved to MSNBC with a new show, “The Situation With Tucker Carlson.” (The writer of this article is an MSNBC contributor.) Mr. Carlson dropped his signature bow tie and took an even sharper turn against immigration, adopting the resentful, combative language of the Republican Party’s increasingly vocal nativist wing. “We didn’t take our lands from Mexico,” said Henry Miller’s great-great-great-grandson, adding: “This is our country. That is their country.”

It's an afterthought. It literally appears as a paranthesis a reader might miss if not reading carefully enough. 

The first part, "How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable," discusses Carlson's background in journalism and broadcasting. It also includes details about his painful family history, particularly to do with his late mother. This may make readers uncomfortable and have them wondering at times why include it at all. 

A significant portion of the piece takes place under the header of "Unhumble Beginnings," including this excerpt that arguably provides some context to Carlson's life today. 

Mr. Carlson was a heavy drinker until his 30s, something he has attributed in part to his early childhood. But by his own account, his mother’s abandonment also provided him with a kind of pre-emptive defense against the attacks that have rained down on his Fox show. “Criticism from people who hate me doesn’t really mean anything to me,” Mr. Carlson told Megyn Kelly, the former Fox anchor, on her podcast last fall. He went on to say: “I’m not giving those people emotional control over me. I’ve been through that. I lived through that as a child.” One lesson from his youth, Mr. Carlson told one interviewer, was that “you should only care about the opinions of people who care about you.”

Such is not the only mention of Carlson's late mother, though.

There isn't merely an overabundance of personal details in the first part, though. Again, Confessore's aim here is to portray Carlson as a racist. Confessore claims the host "regularly disparages Black women as stupid or undeserving of their positions." Among them is Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who Confessore does not mention has encouraged violence with her rhetoric and faced calls to be censured, though with Democrats in control, such efforts from last April were unsuccessful. 

Another is Vice President Kamala Harris, whose high unfavorable ratings are not mentioned. And another is Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), whose history of anti-Semitism is also not mentioned. 

Still, not even Confessore can avoid that Carlson provides Fox News with such a top-rated show. With Carlson having so many viewers, then, is Confessore implying that his viewers are racist?

Nevertheless, Confessore tries to portray the success as a smear against Fox News. "Every cable network cares about ratings, but none more so than Fox," he writes. 

When tweeting his article, Confessore himself referred to Carlson's show as "racist."

That's just the first part. The second part was also published on Saturday morning, the headline reading. "How Tucker Carlson Reshaped Fox News — and Became Trump’s Heir." It's even longer, and mostly describes segments Carlson has done and HR concerns at Fox News. 

One would think that a disclaimer from Confessore would be even more crucial here, but again, it doesn't appear until farther into the piece, when discussing HR concerns with Dan Gallo, "a producer in Fox’s Los Angeles bureau."

The following excerpt appears until close to 60 paragraphs into the story:

That night, Mr. Gallo wrote again to the human resources executives, asking who had told Mr. Carlson about his complaint. They promised to talk to Mr. Carlson. But pressed on the leak in a subsequent phone call, Mr. Lord refused to look into the matter. He blamed workplace gossip, and insinuated that Mr. Gallo himself was responsible for the leak. “That was insulting,” Mr. Gallo said. “I stuck to the proper channels and had moved on.” He left Fox that summer, and now works for MSNBC. (The writer of this article is an MSNBC contributor.)

Again in this piece, even Confessore can't help but acknowledge Carlson is on top. "Every year since 2018, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” has brought more annual ad revenue to Fox than any other show, according to estimates by iSpot," he wrote. 

Confessore notes in his first part that Carlson declined to be interviewed for the story. Carlson did address that the story was coming, in his Thursday night episode of "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Though Confessore references Carlson addressing the report, he does not link to it. 

He also fails to include Carlson's remarks responding to claims he is a racist. "The one thing we do not have exotic opinions on is race. Our view of race is really simple: we believe Martin Luther King. We don't think your skin color is the most important thing about you. We think all people were created by God and should therefore be judged by what they do, not by how they look. We say that a lot! And we mean it! Most Americans strongly agree with that. We in fact would assume most reporters with The New York Times agree with that." 

Confessore's report also neglected to mention topics that Carlson suggested in the clip embedded above, which he remarked were "supposedly controversial opinions on a million different topics," which include "big finances wrecking America, marijuana actually isn't medicine, Russiagate is totally idiotic, and so is the war it's now causing, feminism is a corporate lie, marriage makes you happy, so does raising your own children, and so on. We even think UFOs are real! So, in some ways, by the standards of The New York Times, we're pretty far out. But they never mention any of that."

Carlson did also have a fitting dig at Confessore, pointing out that "anyway, The New York Times is calling us racist again, and we're still on the air, which shows you how well it works." Carlson offered his critics keep calling him racist "to make us shut up, obviously," pointing out how figures like Trump and Elon Musk have been targeted. "If you don't obey them, they denounce you as a racist," Carlson said, who also added "it only works if you play along with it, and we don't plan to."

Included in Confessore's reporting are statements from a Fox News spokesperson. "FOX News Media has grown through strategic innovation, redirecting investments in journalism to encompass more than 50 percent of the budget while expanding our footprint beyond one legacy linear network to eight thriving platforms. As a result, we’ve doubled our audience, achieved unrivaled results, and have become the destination that more Democrats and Independents choose for their news coverage while our competitors have lost dramatic levels of viewership. We couldn’t be prouder of our entire team, whose commitment to excellence in journalism and opinion has led FOX News Media to all-time ratings records and delivered the best in class to our viewers," the spokesperson said. 

Justin Wells, Sr. EP, "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and VP of "Tucker Carlson Digital Products," also provided a statement. "Tucker Carlson programming embraces diversity of thought and presents various points of view in an industry where contrarian thought and the search for truth are often ignored. Stories in Tucker Carlson Tonight broadcasts and Tucker Carlson Originals documentaries undergo a rigorous editorial process. We’re also proud of our ongoing original reporting at a time when most in the media amplify only one point of view," he said. 

In the second part, the Fox News statement from above is mentioned once more.

The third part is an interactive piece analyzing content in 1,150 episodes of "Tucker Carlson Tonight" from 2017-2021. It's titled "Inside the Apocalyptic Worldview of ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’" as it reeks of obsession.