(UPDATED with New York Times statement) “We’re off last week, it’s good to be back,” declared a plucky Tucker Carlson at the outset tonight of his Fox News Channel show.
And if viewers or critics were expecting the top-rated host to dive into controversies like a new lawsuit that alleges sexual harassment and retaliation by Carlson, they were barking up the wrong cable news tree. Neither that just filed complaint from former Fox Business Network associate producer Jennifer Eckhart and former FNC guest Cathy Areu nor one of Tucker Carlson Tonight’s top and now ex-writers being exposed on July 11 for frequently posting racist, sexist and homophobic comments on a legal message board made the polemic cut on FNC on Monday.
Fox News, Ed Henry, Sean Hannity & Tucker Carlson Sued In Sex Trafficking, Sexual Harassment & Retaliation Suit
What did make the cut was a sharp bombardment of a major media rival that has never had many fans in Rupert Murdoch’s empire.
Proclaiming modestly that he has long tried “not to talk about myself on the air,” Carlson actually did discuss himself at length near the end of Monday’s show. Perhaps in a move to distract from the topics of the vivid lawsuit and an axed writer’s bigotry, Carlson unleashed a barrage against the New York Times for a supposed yet unpublished story about “where my family and I live.”
Having suffered the understandably unsettling experience of protestors on his D.C. front lawn in November 2018, the Daily Caller co-founder tonight claimed the Gray Lady and reporter Murry Carpenter, who he both named and showed a picture of on-air, are trying to “hurt” him and his kin so the politically ambitious Carlson will “shut up and stop disagreeing with them – they believe in force.” As Carlson was delivering his closing remarks, the lower third of the screen bluntly read “Tucker Responds To Intrusive Reporting By NYT.”
“They hate my politics, they want this show off the air,” he said of the “soulless robot editors of the New York Times.” Holding his last card close to the chest, Carlson also threatened to make public Carpenter’s home address, the photographer working on the story and others at the paper – “We could do that, we know who they are.”
The NYT replied dispassionately and with brevity, eventually.
“While we do not confirm what may or may publish in future editions, The Times has not and does not plan to expose any residence of Tucker Carlson’s, which Carlson was aware of before tonight’s broadcast,” said the publication later on Monday night in response to Carlson’s allegations and remarks.
As is often the case on Carlson’s four-year old FNC show, the scorched Earth conclusion was a far and yet expected shift from the cheery opening.
“One thing we learned while gone is that America’s national parks are outstanding, they’re tremendous,” Carlson enthusiastically told his audience at the top of the broadcast after several days of trout fishing that conveniently followed the unveiling of one-time writer Blake Neff’s vile behavior. “So, most of the time, by the way, is our interstate highway system,” the Ship of Fools author added. “We should be proud of all those things.”
Ignoring the non-Republican elephants on the dial, so to speak, Carlson instead went headlong into a set list of government overreach, the rise of the “Left Mob” to “destroy” modern “capitalist democracy,” to quote first guest Mark McCloskey, and the so-called anarchy of protests in Portland and Seattle – which, of course, was tossed around the neck of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign too. A brief item on a possible “promising,” to quote guest and FNC Medical Contributor Dr Marc Siegel, COVID-19 vaccine out of the UK came next, with a look at how Ghislaine Maxwell supposedly fears she will be killed in prison like ex-lover Jeffrey Epstein and Kanye West’s opening and often bizarre presidential campaign rally yesterday in South Carolina.
“A celebrity musician telling you that freedom does not come from porn or drugs or pulling a gun on people, it comes from God,” Carlson noted of the West event. “Here you have one of the most famous people in the world attacking the porn industry and big Pharma in one speech,” the TCT host went on to say, pointing out with an almost giggle that the ‘Power’ rapper said a “lot of things, some of which we wouldn’t agree with at all.” Before bringing on another guest and later old Jimmy Kimmel partner Adam Carolla, Carlson went on to praise POTUS candidate West’s stance against abortion and condemned those who assessed the Grammy winner as off his rocker in a mental health downward spiral.
Swinging into talking points that frequent watcher Donald Trump was pushing earlier today, Carlson then took aim at crime and violence in Chicago. “We can definitively say that there are people alive tonight who will be dead next week in Chicago,” Carlson said in a statement that is of course true, in realties unrelated to the wedge topic at hand. Claiming chaos in the streets and blaming Democrats like Mayor Lori Lightfoot, called a “total incompetent” by Carlson, Trump has promised to send federal law enforcement agents to the Windy City – a pledge being affirmed in the echo chamber of FNC.
The very detailed and graphic sex trafficking, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed today claimed Carlson supposedly propositioned the full-time job seeking Areu in December 2018. “Mr. Carlson, hardly making any effort to hide his intentions, began telling Ms. Areu that he would be alone in New York City that night, and specifically said that he would be staying alone in his hotel room without any wife or kids,” the 39-page and jury trial complaint detailed. It also noted Areu “awkwardly sidestepped Mr. Carlson’s advances and declined to spend the night at his hotel” that evening.
The suit states also states: “According to Mr. Carlson’s producer, it is Mr. Carlson himself who consistently rejects proposals to have Ms. Areu on his show, notwithstanding the fact that her segments were, or were among, his most popular.” And goes on to add: “Indeed, as a decades-tenured cameraman explained to Ms. Areu, it is well known that the way for women to get ahead at Fox News is to sleep with the male anchors and executives.”
Sean Hannity and Howard Kurtz are also named as defendants in the suit, with now fired FNC anchor Ed Henry and the outlet itself.
“Based on the findings of a comprehensive independent investigation conducted by an outside law firm, including interviews with numerous eyewitnesses, we have determined that all of Cathy Areu’s claims against FOX News, including its management as well as its hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity & Howard Kurtz and its contributor Gianno Caldwell, are false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit,” said a Fox News spokesperson on Monday.
BTW – Railing against “far left mayors” and “decades of failure” in Chicago, where gun violence is admittedly out of control, Hannity doesn’t seem to be inclined to discuss the lawsuit on his FNC show either – but he agrees with the former Celebrity Apprentice host that the Windy City is a “war zone” and the new talking point that it’s time for Homeland Security agnets to come in.