Carlson in 2013
|Born||Tucker McNear Carlson|
May 16, 1969
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Education||St. George's School|
|Alma mater||Trinity College (BA)|
|Occupation||News anchor, commentator, pundit, and columnist|
|Home town||La Jolla, California, U.S.|
Susan Andrews (m. 1991)
|Parent(s)||Dick Carlson |
Lisa McNear Lombardi
Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson (born May 16, 1969) is an American Conservative political commentator, reporter, author, and columnist who has hosted the nightly political talk show Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News since 2016. Carlson became a print journalist in the 1990s, writing for the magazine The Weekly Standard and others. He was a commentator on CNN from 2000 to 2005; while there, he served as co-host of Crossfire. Carlson then hosted the nightly program Tucker on MSNBC from 2005 to 2008. He has been a political analyst for Fox News since 2009. In 2010, Carlson co-founded and served as the initial editor-in-chief of the conservative news and opinion website The Daily Caller.
Carlson has written two books: the memoir Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News (2003) and Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (2018).
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Political views
- 4 Public image
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Books
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Early life and education
Carlson was born in San Francisco, California and grew up on Laurel Terrace Drive in Studio City. He is the elder son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former Los Angeles news anchor and U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles who was also president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and director of Voice of America. Carlson’s father had been born Richard Boynton and was adopted by the Carlsons at age three. Carlson's mother is Lisa McNear Lombardi; she left the family when Carlson was 6 years old, wanting to pursue a Bohemian lifestyle. She eventually moved to France, and had little contact with any of the family after that. Carlson has a younger brother, Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson.
In 1979, when Tucker was 10 years old, his father married Patricia Caroline Swanson, an heiress to the Swanson frozen-food fortune. Swanson is the daughter of Gilbert Carl Swanson, granddaughter of Carl A. Swanson, and niece of Senator J. William Fulbright.
Tucker and his younger brother grew up in La Jolla, California. While living in La Jolla, Tucker briefly attended La Jolla Country Day School. He then attended high school at St. George's School, a boarding school in Middletown, Rhode Island. After graduating high school, he studied at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in history.
Carlson began his journalism career as a fact-checker for Policy Review, a national conservative journal then published by The Heritage Foundation and since acquired by the Hoover Institution. He later worked as a reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper in Little Rock, Arkansas, before joining The Weekly Standard in 1995.
As a magazine and newspaper journalist, Carlson has reported from around the world. He has been a columnist for New York and Reader's Digest. He has also written for Esquire, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Daily Beast.
In 2000, Carlson co-hosted the short-lived show The Spin Room.
In 2001, Carlson was appointed co-host of Crossfire. On the show, Carlson and Robert Novak represented the political right (alternating on different nights), while James Carville and Paul Begala, also alternating as hosts, represented the left. During the same period, he also hosted a weekly public affairs program on PBS, Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered.
One of Carlson's most memorable appearances on Crossfire was his October 2004 heated exchange with Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, prior to the 2004 presidential election. Stewart argued that Carlson and the nature of his show were harmful to political discourse in the United States. After their televised confrontation, Carlson recalls, Stewart stayed at CNN several hours after the show to discuss the issues that he raised on the air. "It was heartfelt," Carlson said, "He [Stewart] needed to do this."
In January 2005, CNN announced they were ending their relationship with Carlson and would soon cancel Crossfire. CNN chief Jonathan Klein told Carlson on January 4, 2005, that the network had decided not to renew his contract. Carlson has said that he had already resigned from CNN and Crossfire long before Stewart was booked as a guest, telling host Patricia Duff: "I resigned from Crossfire in April , many months before Jon Stewart came on our show, because I didn't like the partisanship, and I thought in some ways it was kind of a pointless conversation ... each side coming out, you know, 'Here's my argument', and no one listening to anyone else. [CNN] was a frustrating place to work."
Carlson's early evening show, Tucker (originally titled The Situation With Tucker Carlson) premiered on June 13, 2005, on MSNBC.
Carlson also hosted a late afternoon weekday wrap-up for MSNBC during the 2006 Winter Olympics, during which he attempted to learn how to play various Olympic sports. In July 2006, he reported live for Tucker from Haifa, Israel, during the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. While in the Middle East, he also hosted MSNBC Special Report: Mideast Crisis. He appeared regularly on Verdict with Dan Abrams as a panelist in political discussions.
Tucker lasted fewer than three full seasons. The network announced its cancellation due to low ratings on March 10, 2008, and the final episode aired on March 14, 2008. Brian Stelter of The New York Times wrote that "during Mr. Carlson's tenure, MSNBC's evening programming moved gradually to the left. His former time slots, 6 and 9 p.m., were then occupied by two liberals, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow." Carlson stated that the network had changed a lot and "they didn't have a role for me."
Fox News Channel (2009–present)
In May 2009, Fox News announced that Carlson was being hired as a Fox News contributor. He was a frequent guest panelist on Fox's late-night satire show Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld, made frequent appearances on the All-Star Panel segment of Special Report with Bret Baier, was a substitute host of Hannity in Sean Hannity's absence, and produced a Fox News special titled Fighting for Our Children's Minds.
In March 2013, it was announced that Carlson was tapped to co-host the weekend editions of Fox & Friends; he had been a contributor and frequent guest host on the program. He replaced Dave Briggs, who left the news channel to join the NBC Sports Network in January 2013. Beginning in April, Carlson officially joined co-hosts Alisyn Camerota and Clayton Morris on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Tucker Carlson Tonight (2016–present)
On November 14, 2016, Carlson started hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. Tucker Carlson Tonight was created to replace the show On the Record. The show debuted as "the network's most watched telecast of the year in the time slot". The program's premiere episode, viewed by 3.7 million, was rated higher than previous editions of On the Record.
Tucker Carlson Tonight aired at 7 p.m. ET each weeknight until January 9, 2017, when Carlson's show replaced Megyn Kelly at the 9 p.m. ET time slot after she left Fox News. In January 2017, Forbes reported that the show had "scored consistently high ratings, averaging 2.8 million viewers per night and ranking as the number two cable news program behind The O'Reilly Factor in December . In March 2017, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the most watched cable program in the 9 p.m. time slot.
On April 19, 2017, it was announced that Tucker Carlson Tonight would air at 8:00 p.m. following the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. Tucker Carlson Tonight was the third-highest-rated cable news show as of March 2018.
According to CNN, Business Insider, Vox and GQ, Carlson's show has promoted and echoed white supremacist discourse. Neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol described the views Carlson expressed on his show as "ethno-nationalism of some kind"; Carlson responded that Kristol had "discredited himself years ago." Carlson has denied being a racist and has said that he hates racism.
The Daily Caller (2010–present)
On January 11, 2010, Carlson and former vice president Dick Cheney aide Neil Patel launched a political news website titled The Daily Caller. Carlson served as editor-in-chief, and occasionally wrote opinion pieces with Patel. The website was funded by the conservative activist Foster Freiss. By February The Daily Caller was part of the White House rotating press pool.
In an interview with Politico, Carlson said that The Daily Caller would not be tied to ideology but rather will be "breaking stories of importance". In a Washington Post article, Carlson added, "We're not enforcing any kind of ideological orthodoxy on anyone." Columnist Mickey Kaus quit after Carlson refused to run a column critical of Fox News's coverage of the immigration policy debate due to his contractual obligations to Fox News.
Dancing with the Stars
Carlson was a contestant on season 3 of the reality show Dancing with the Stars, which aired in 2006; he was paired with professional dancer Elena Grinenko. Carlson took four-hour-a-day ballroom dance classes in preparation for the competition. In an interview a month before the show began, he lamented that he would miss classes during a two-week-long MSNBC assignment in Lebanon, noting that "It's hard for me to remember the moves." Carlson said he accepted ABC's invitation to perform because "I don't do things that I'm not good at very often. I'm psyched to get to do that." Carlson was the first contestant eliminated, on September 13, 2006.
I liked McCain. And I would have voted for McCain for president happily, not because I agree with his politics; I never took McCain's politics seriously enough even to have strong feelings about them. I don't think McCain has very strong politics. He's interested in ideas almost as little as George W. Bush is. McCain isn't intellectual, and doesn't have a strong ideology at all. He's wound up sort of as a liberal Republican because he's mad at other Republicans, not because he's a liberal.
Carlson has stated that former U.S. president George W. Bush is not a true conservative. In an August 27, 2004, Washington Post interview, Carlson expressed his "displeasure with Bush". Carlson did not vote in the 2004 election, citing his disgust with the Iraq War and his disillusionment with the once small-government Republican Party. He would go on to say:
I don't know what you consider conservative, but I'm not much of a liberal, at least as the word is currently defined. For instance, I'm utterly opposed to abortion, which I think is horrible and cruel. I think affirmative action is wrong. I'd like to slow immigration pretty dramatically. I hate all nanny state regulations, such as seat belt laws and smoking bans. I'm not for big government. I think the U.S. ought to hesitate before intervening abroad. I think these are conservative impulses. So by my criteria, Bush isn't much of a conservative.
Immigration, race and diversity
Carlson has been accused by Erik Wemple of The Washington Post and by writers for Vox.com of demonizing immigrants, both those who immigrated to the U.S. legally and illegally. He has opposed demographic changes in the United States, writing that the demographic change seen in Hazleton, Pa., which saw Hispanics go from a small minority to a majority over a 15-year period is "more change than human beings are designed to digest." Salon.com has described Carlson's views on changing racial demographics in the U.S. as advocating the white genocide conspiracy theory, opining that Carlson is obsessed with the concept. The Anti-Defamation League's Jessica Reaves has analyzed his use of "white genocide" rhetoric in a 2018 monologue.
When Mitt Romney condemned then-candidate Donald Trump for his refusal to condemn the Ku Klux Klan, saying it was a "disqualifying and disgusting response... His coddling of repugnant bigotry is not in the character of America," Carlson criticized Romney. Carlson said, "Obama could have written" that.
In September 2018, Carlson said that sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh demonstrated "the left's war on old white men", and suggested that there could be a race war in the United States.
This section's representation of one or more viewpoints about a controversial issue may be unbalanced or inaccurate.(November 2018)
In August 2018, Carlson ran a segment where he alleged that the South African government was targeting white farmers due to anti-white racism. In the segment, Carlson criticized "elites" who were purportedly concerned about racism "paying no attention" to the "racist government of South Africa." Carlson said that "South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had 'changed the country's constitution to make it possible to steal land from people because they are the wrong skin color.' He also said that the government had begun seizing land from people without compensation." BBC News, CBS News, The Associated Press, PolitiFact, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal described Carlson's segment as false or misleading.
Following the Carlson segment, U.S. President Donald Trump instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "closely study the South Africa land and farm seizure and large scale killing of farmers." Trump's tweet was denounced as "'misinformed'" by the South African government, which stated that it would address the matter through diplomatic channels. There are no reliable figures that suggest that farmers are at greater risk of being killed than the average South African. Some South African blacks have sought to retake land to which they have made claims, but South African police have stopped such ad hoc attempts at appropriating land. The South African right-wing group AfriForum took credit for Carlson and Trump's statements, saying it believed that its campaign to influence American politics had succeeded.
On August 23, 2018, Carlson corrected certain statements about South Africa that he had made the previous evening, but did not admit having made errors. He said that the proposed constitutional amendment was still being debated in South Africa and added that no farms had yet been expropriated. Carlson later stated in an interview that he "doesn't believe anyone should be rewarded or punished based upon characteristics they can't control" and added that his South Africa segment made "'an argument against tribalism'".
Carlson initially supported the U.S. war with Iraq during its first year. After a year, however, he began criticizing the war, telling the New York Observer, "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it. It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. No. I want things to work out, but I'm enraged by it, actually."
Carlson has said he does not consider Russia a serious threat. Carlson has called for the United States to work with Russia in the Syrian Civil War. He opposes overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. Peter Beinart of the Atlantic said that Carlson has been an "apologist for Donald Trump on the Russia scandal". Carlson described the controversy in the wake of revelations that Donald Trump Jr. was willing to accept anti-Clinton information from a Russian government official as a "new level of hysteria" and said that Trump Jr. had only been "gossiping with foreigners."
In April 2018, Carlson questioned whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical attack that occurred the same month and killed dozens. Carlson suggested, alluding to various conspiracy theories, that a similar attack that occurred the year before (the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack), which was widely attributed to Assad's forces, was a false flag attack perpetrated to falsely implicate the Assad government.
In a July 2018 interview about Russian involvement in U.S. elections, Carlson said that Mexico has interfered in U.S. elections "more successfully" than Russia by "packing our electorate" through mass immigration. This was disputed by journalist Philip Bump, who wrote that the number of Mexicans in the U.S. had decreased since 2009, and asked rhetorically, "What good has it done Mexico to have a number of its citizens move to the United States and gain the right to vote?"
Although in favor of conservative economic policies, Carlson is critical of pure libertarian free market ideals, saying that economic and technological change that occurs too quickly can cause widespread social and political upheaval. He has stated that one model to follow is that of President Theodore Roosevelt, whose interventionist role in the economy in the early 1900s may have, in Carlson's view, prevented a Communist revolution in the United States.
Carlson voted for Ron Paul in 1988 when he was running as the Libertarian Party presidential candidate. On November 26, 2007, it was reported that Carlson lobbied Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof to support Paul's candidacy. Carlson said, "Dennis Hof is a good friend of mine, so when we got to Nevada, I decided to call him up and see if he wanted to come check this guy out."
On September 2, 2008, Carlson participated in Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty Rally for the Republic in Minneapolis, as the first speaker to introduce the rally and also acted as the MC by introducing nearly every guest speaker.
Carlson was known for wearing bow ties both on- and off-air until 2006. In 2005 on the season-five episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, "The Bowtie", a character refers to Larry David as "Tucker Carlson" for wearing one. On April 11, 2006, Carlson announced on his MSNBC show that he would no longer be wearing either a bow tie or a regular tie, adding, "I just decided I wanted to give my neck a break. A little change is good once in a while, and I feel better already." He now wears long neckties on the air, and on the February 28, 2014, edition of The Alex Jones Show, while talking about his reasons for returning to wearing a long necktie, Carlson said that "if you wear a bow tie, it's like [wearing] a middle finger around your neck; you're just inviting scorn and ridicule ... the number of people screaming the F-word at me ... it wore me down after a while so I gave in and became conventional."
Carlson endorsed controversial comments made by his brother, Buckley, about a spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The spokesperson had asked for corrections to a story, and Buckley called her a "whiny little self-righteous bitch" and made sexually derogatory remarks. Tucker wrote that Buckley "meant it in the nicest way." Former speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn called on both Carlsons to apologize for the "offensive" and "sexist" comments.
Carlson quit drinking alcohol in 2002, "having decided that neither the pleasant nights nor the unpleasant mornings were improving his life". Years earlier, he had quit smoking, replacing it with nicotine gum, a product he buys in bulk from New Zealand and "chews constantly".
On November 8, 2018, a group of between twelve and twenty Antifa activists gathered outside of Carlson's house in Washington, D.C. and led chants such as "Tucker Carlson, we will fight, we know where you sleep at night!" for about ten minutes. Carlson's driveway was also vandalized. The police were called, and a hate crime investigation was launched.
In 2003, Carlson authored the memoir Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, about his television news experiences; the publisher was Warner Books. One of the book's revelations was Carlson's description of being falsely accused of rape by a woman he did not know who suffered from severe mental illness and displayed stalker-like behavior. Carlson wrote in the book that the incident was emotionally traumatic.
In May 2017, Carlson, represented by the literary and creative agency Javelin, signed an eight-figure, two-book deal with Simon & Schuster's Threshold Editions. His first book in the series, Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution, was released in October 2018. It debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.
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Well, if you watched this show before you may have noticed that I look different tonight. I'm not wearing a bow tie. This is odd for me. I have worn a bow tie on television every night for the past six years and for 15 years off air before that, since I was in 10th grade. I like bow ties, and I certainly spent a lot of time defending them. But from now on I'm going without: no ties at all. I didn't lose a bet. It is not a political statement. I didn't ditch the bow tie in protest or in solidarity with any oppressed group. It's not a ratings ploy but decided. I just decided I wanted to give my neck a break. A little change is good once in awhile [sic], and I feel better already. So to all three of you who watch this show for the bow tie, I'm sorry. For the rest of you who don't take a position on neckwear one way or the other we now returned to our regularly scheduled programming
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