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Tucker Carlson

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Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson 2013 cropped noise rem lighting color correction.jpg
Carlson in 2013
Tucker McNear Carlson[1]

(1969-05-16) May 16, 1969 (age 51)
EducationTrinity College (BA)
OccupationTalk show host, commentator, columnist
EmployerCNN (2000–2005)
MSNBC (2005–2008)
Fox News (2009–present)
Home townLa Jolla, San Diego, California, U.S.
Spouse(s)Susan Andrews
RelativesDick Carlson (father)

Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson (born May 16, 1969) is an American conservative journalist, author, and political commentator 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. He was a commentator on CNN from 2000 to 2005 and co-hosted the primetime news debate program 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, appearing as guest or guest host on various programs before the launch of his current show. 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).

Early life and education

Carlson was born Tucker McNear Carlson in San Francisco, California. He is the elder son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former "gonzo reporter"[2] who became the director of the Voice of America, the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Ambassador to the Seychelles.[3] Carlson's paternal grandparents were Richard Boynton and Dorothy Anderson, teenagers who placed his father in an orphanage where he was adopted when he was two years old by the Carlsons. Richard Carlson's adoptive father was a wool broker.[4][2][5]

Carlson's mother was artist Lisa McNear (née Lombardi). He also has a brother, Buckley Peck Carlson (later, Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson), who is nearly two years younger and was born two months premature.[6]

In 1976, Carlson's parents divorced after the nine-year marriage reportedly "turned sour."[6][7] Carlson's father was granted custody of him and his brother. Carlson's mother left the family when he was six, wanting to pursue a "bohemian" lifestyle.[8][3] She eventually split her time between Beaufort County, South Carolina and Cazac, France, where she had little contact with Carlson's family and later married artist Michael Vaughn.[9][10][11][12]

Dick Carlson was said to be an active father who had a specific outlook in raising his sons:

I want them to be self-disciplined to the degree that I think is necessary to find satisfaction ... you measure a person on how far they go, on how far they've sprung. My parents, the Carlsons, they instilled a modesty in me that, at times, gets in my way ... I know it's immodest of me to say it, but it's difficult sometimes when you want to beat your own drum and say what you really think.

In 1979, Carlson's father married divorcée Patricia Caroline Swanson, an heiress to Swanson Enterprises. Swanson is the daughter of Gilbert Carl Swanson and the niece of Senator J. William Fulbright.[3][13] This was the third marriage for Swanson, who legally adopted Carlson and his brother.[11][13]

When Carlson was in first grade, his father moved him and his brother to La Jolla, California and raised them there.[14][15] In La Jolla, Carlson attended La Jolla Country Day School and grew up in a home overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.[16] His father owned property in Nevada, Vermont, and islands in Maine and Nova Scotia.[16][2]

Carlson attained his secondary education at St. George's School, a boarding school in Middletown, Rhode Island. He then went to Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he graduated in 1991 with a BA in history.[3] After college, Carlson tried to join the Central Intelligence Agency, but his application was denied, after which he decided to pursue a career in journalism with the encouragement of his father.[17][18]

Television career

Carlson began his journalism career as a fact-checker for Policy Review,[3] 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 newsmagazine in 1995.[3]

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 also wrote for Esquire, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Daily Beast.[3]

CNN (2000–2005)

Paul Begala, Thomas McDevitt, and Carlson, 2012

In 2000, Carlson co-hosted the short-lived show The Spin Room.[3] 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.[3] During the same period, he also hosted a weekly public affairs program on PBS, Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered.

In October 2004, comedian Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, appeared on Crossfire, ostensibly to promote his book America (The Book), but instead launching into a critique of Crossfire, saying that the show was harmful to political discourse in the United States.[3][19] Carlson represented the right-wing side on that episode, and Stewart singled him out for criticism, with Carlson in turn criticizing Stewart for being biased toward the left.[3] Carlson later recalled that Stewart had stayed at CNN for hours after the show to discuss the issues he had raised on the air. "It was heartfelt," Carlson said, "He [Stewart] needed to do this."[20] In 2017, The New York Times referred to Stewart's "on-air dressing-down" of Carlson as an "ignominious career [moment]" for Carlson.[21] In the view of The New York Times, Stewart's criticism led to the cancellation of the show.[21]

In January 2005, CNN announced they were ending their relationship with Carlson and would soon cancel Crossfire.[22][23] CNN chief Jonathan Klein told Carlson on January 4, 2005, that the network had decided not to renew his contract.[24] 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 [2004], 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."[25]

MSNBC (2005–2008)

Carlson's early evening show, Tucker (originally titled The Situation With Tucker Carlson) premiered on June 13, 2005, on MSNBC. He 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 was cancelled by the network on March 10, 2008, due to low ratings,[26] 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 said the network had changed a lot and "they didn't have a role for me."[27]

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 entitled Fighting for Our Children's Minds.

In April 2013, Carlson replaced Dave Briggs as a co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend, joining Alisyn Camerota and Clayton Morris on Saturday and Sunday mornings.[28]

Tucker Carlson Tonight (2016–present)

On November 14, 2016, Carlson began hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. Tucker Carlson Tonight was created to replace the show On the Record.[29] The show debuted as "the network's most watched telecast of the year in the time slot".[30] The program's premiere episode, viewed by 3.7 million,[30] 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 [2016].[31] In March 2017, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the most watched cable program in the 9 p.m. time slot.[citation needed]

On April 19, 2017, it was announced that Tucker Carlson Tonight would air at 8 p.m. following the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor.[32] Tucker Carlson Tonight was the third-highest-rated cable news show as of March 2018.[33]

In October 2018, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the second-highest rated cable news show in prime time, after The Sean Hannity Show with Sean Hannity, with 3.2 million nightly viewers.[34] By the end of 2018, the show had begun to be boycotted by at least 20 advertisers after Carlson said U.S. immigration makes the country "poorer, dirtier and more divided". According to Fox News, the advertisers only moved their ad buys to other programs.[35]

By January 2019, his show dropped to third with 2.8 million nightly viewers, down six percent from the previous year.[36] The show had lost at least 26 advertisers.[37][38] There were calls to fire Carlson from Fox News, but his ratings had risen 8 percent despite the boycotts.[39] By August 2019, Media Matters calculated that some companies had fulfilled their media buy contracts and advertising inventory for the time slot and had now begun their purchases for other time slots on Fox News.[40][41]

As of the close of 2019, Fox News had it highest ratings in the company's 23-year history, its ratings up 2 percent from 2018 while other competing networks were down 2 percent (CNN and MSNBC). According to Nielsen Ratings, Carlson's ratings among all viewers 25-54 placed him second overall only to Fox's The Sean Hannity Show. Rachael Maddow of The Rachael Maddow Show on MSNBC placed third, and another Fox News journalist, Laura Ingraham of The Laura Ingraham Show placed fourth. Ratings for all three of the networks were down compared to 2018, with Fox News showing the least of the decline at 16 percent, MSNBC down 20 percent and CNN down 21 percent overall.[42]

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.[43] The website was funded by the conservative activist Foster Freiss.[3] By February The Daily Caller was part of the White House rotating press pool.[44]

In an interview with Politico, Carlson said 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.[45][46][3]

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."[47] 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."[47] Carlson was the first contestant eliminated, on September 13, 2006.[3]


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.[48] 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.[49]

In February 2012, The Daily Caller published an "investigative series" of articles co-authored by Carlson, purporting to be an insiders' exposé of Media Matters for America (MMfA), a liberal watchdog group that monitors and scrutinizes conservative media outlets, and its founder David Brock.[50] Citing "current and former" MMfA employees, "friends" of Brock's and a "prominent liberal" — none of whom are named — the article characterized MMfA as having "an atmosphere of tension and paranoia" and portraying Brock as "erratic, unstable and disturbing," who "struggles with mental illness," in fear of "right-wing assassins," a regular cocaine user and would "close [local bars] and party till six in the morning." Reuters media critic and libertarian Jack Shafer, while noting "I've never thought much of Media Matters' style of watchdogging or Brock's journalism," nevertheless sharply criticized The Daily Caller piece as "anonymously sourced crap," adding "Daily Caller is attacking Media Matters with bad journalism and lame propaganda."[51]

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.[52] 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.[53] It debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[54]

Political views

Carlson is generally described as a conservative[55][56] or paleoconservative.[57][58] Writing for New York's Intelligencer, Park MacDougald called Carlson a "Middle American radical", which he described as someone who holds populist economic beliefs, hostililty to corporatocracy, fervent positions on nationalism, race and immigration, and a preference for strongmen in political authority. MacDouglad identified this form of radicalism as the ideological core of "Trumpism."[59]


2007 Ron Paul event

Early in his career, Carlson espoused a libertarian view of economics. He supported Ron Paul's 1988 presidential candidacy, when Paul ran the candidate for the Libertarian Party, along with his 2008 presidential candidacy, when Paul ran as a Republican.[60][61]

In 2009, Carlson became a senior fellow at libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute.[62] As of 2017, he is no longer affiliated with the organization.[63]

In 2018, Carlson began to promote a more populist view of economics,[64] attacking libertarianism and saying "market capitalism is not a religion."[65] In an interview, he warned that economic and technological change that occurs too quickly can cause widespread social and political upheaval, and stated his belief that a 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.[66]

In 2019, in his monologue on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson said America's "ruling class" are, in effect, the "mercenaries" behind the decline of the American middle class:

[A]ny economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.[67]

He also criticized what he called the "private equity model" of capitalism, using the example of Bain Capital to describe a pattern of corporate behavior in such organizations:

Take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run up the debt, extract the wealth and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions ... Meanwhile, a remarkable number of the companies are now bankrupt or extinct.[68]

He attacked payday lenders for "loan[ing] people money they can't possibly repay ... [and] charg[ing] them interest that impoverishes them."[68]

Carlson has also praised Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's economic plan and her book The Two Income Trap as "one of the best books I've ever read on Economics."[69][70]


Carlson has argued that the extent to which humans contribute to climate change is "an open question",[71] "not settled"[72][73] and "unknowable."[74]

On his show, Carlson frequently hosts guests who downplay the scientific consensus on climate change.[75]

Views on Republicans and Democrats

Carlson with Charlie Kirk, 2018

Carlson did not vote in the 2004 election, citing his disgust with the Iraq War, his disillusionment with the once small-government Republican Party and his disappointment with President George W. Bush along with likeminded conservatives:[76]

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.[76]

In 2003, speaking about John McCain and his failed 2000 presidential bid, Carlson stated:

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.[77]

In January 2019, Carlson used an op-ed by Mitt Romney, in The Washington Post, to criticize what he described as the "mainstream Republican" worldview, consisting of "unwavering support for a finance-based economy and an internationalist foreign policy," which he argued was also supported by the bulk of Democrats.[68] He cited parallels, in regard to economic and social problems which had befallen inner cities and rural areas, despite cultural and demographic differences between their respective populations, as evidence that the "culture of poverty", which had been cited by conservatives as the cause of urban decline, "wasn't the whole story":

[Both parties] miss the obvious point: Culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible.[68]

Carlson is a registered member of the Democratic Party in Washington D.C.[78] In 2017, Carlson said he registered for the Democratic Party to gain the right to vote in mayoral elections in the district and that he "always votes for the more corrupt candidate over the idealist."[79]

Foreign policy

Carlson is skeptical of foreign intervention, and has stated that he thinks "the U.S. ought to hesitate before intervening abroad."[80][81]


Carlson initially supported the Iraq War. However, a year after the invasion of Iraq, 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.[82]

In June 2019, Carlson remained critical of the war, stating:

We killed hundreds of thousands of people, lost thousands of our own troops, spent more than $1 trillion — all to eliminate a WMD threat that, despite John Bolton's assurances, never existed in the first place.[83]


In July 2017, Carlson said that "[w]e actually don't face any domestic threat from Iran." He asked Max Boot to "tell me how many Americans in the United States have been murdered by terrorists backed by Iran since 9/11?"[84] According to The New York Times, Carlson played an influential role in dissuading Trump from launching military strikes against Iran in response to the shooting down of an American drone in June 2019. Carlson reportedly told Trump that if he listened to his hawkish advisors and went ahead with the strikes, he would not win re-election.[85]

Carlson referred to the 2020 assassination of Qasem Soleimani as a "quagmire." He criticized the "chest-beaters" who promote foreign interventions, particularly Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), and asked, "By the way, if we're still in Afghanistan, 19 years, sad years, later, what makes us think there's a quick way out of Iran?"[86]


Carlson supported the proposed expansion of the Mexico–United States barrier – citing the Israeli West Bank barrier as an example. Carlson argued: "The estimated cost of a border wall is about $25 billion. That is estimated so let's say it is twice that. That is still a tiny fraction of the price of the pointless stalemate we're now waging in Afghanistan. That costs about $45 billion every year, not including the human cost. Compare that to $25 billion needed to restore sovereignty with the wall."[87]

In a July 2018 interview about Russian involvement in U.S. elections, Carlson said Mexico has interfered in U.S. elections "more successfully" than Russia by "packing our electorate" through mass immigration.[88] This assertion 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?".[89]

In May 2019, Carlson defended Trump's decision to place tariffs on Mexico unless Mexico stopped illegal immigration to the United States. Carlson said, "When the United States is attacked by a hostile foreign power it must strike back, and make no mistake Mexico is a hostile foreign power."[90]


Carlson has said he does not consider Russia a serious threat.[84] Carlson has called for the United States to work with Russia in the American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War against a common enemy like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).[91][92] Peter Beinart of The Atlantic said Carlson has been an "apologist for Donald Trump on the Russia scandal".[84] 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".[84]

In May 2019, after Robert Mueller gave a statement saying the Special Counsel investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election did not exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, Carlson said Mueller was "sleazy and dishonest."[93]

At the beginning of December 2019, Carlson stated "the irony, of course, is that Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do" meaning liberals. "They really dislike our country. And they call other people traitors, because they’re mouthing the talking points of Putin." He was criticized by Michael McFaul former US ambassador during the Obama administration, "You are wrong Mr. Carlson. Putin does hate America" urging him to "Stop attacking Americans & defending Putin."[94][95]


Carlson opposes overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[84] In April 2018, Carlson questioned whether Assad was responsible for the Douma chemical attack that had occurred a few days earlier and killed dozens.[96][97] In November 2019, Carlson repeated this claim and queried whether the attack had actually happened at all.[98]

Carlson suggested that a similar attack that occurred the year before (the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack), which was attributed to Assad's forces and which the OPCW JIM indicated was carried out with sarin that bore the regime's signature, was a false flag attack perpetrated to falsely implicate the Assad government. Carlson compared Assad's war crimes during the Syrian Civil War to Saudi Arabia's war crimes in Yemen.[96]

North Korea

When President Trump met the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the country's border with the South in June 2019, Carlson told Fox & Friends said "there's no defending the North Korean regime, it’s the last real Stalinist regime in the world. It’s a disgusting place obviously", but "you've got to be honest about what it means to lead a country, it means killing people."[99] Carlson went on to argue that although "not on the scale that the North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that [the United States] are closely allied with."[100][101][102][103]


Carlson criticized LeBron James for speaking out against Daryl Morey, who had tweeted in support of the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests.[104][105]

Immigration and race

Immigrants' Rights Rally in Washington Mall, 2006

Carlson is a frequent critic of immigration.[106] Carlson has been accused by Erik Wemple of The Washington Post and by writers for Vox of demonizing immigrants, both legal and illegal.[107][108][109][110] He has opposed demographic changes in the United States, writing that the demographic change seen in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, 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".[110] In 2018, Carlson suggested that mass immigration makes the United States "dirtier", "poorer" and "more divided".[111][112] In response to criticism of this, he has said that "we're not intimidated" and "we plan to try to say what's true until the last day. And the truth is, unregulated mass immigration has badly hurt this country's natural landscape".[113] Of illegal immigration, Carlson said in May 2019, "The flood of illegal workers into the United States has damaged our communities, ruined our schools, burdened our healthcare system and fractured our national unity."[90] In December 2019, he falsely claimed that immigrants were responsible for making the Potomac River "dirtier and dirtier".[114][115]

Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center said that "Carlson probably has been the No. 1 commentator mainstreaming bedrock principles of white nationalism in [the US]," and accused him of promoting the white genocide conspiracy theory, the idea that white people are under attack by minorities and immigrants.[116] Anti-Defamation League's Jessica Reaves has compared Carlson's defense of the nuclear family to white supremacist anti-immigrant rhetoric.[117]

According to CNN, Business Insider, Vox, and GQ, Carlson's show has promoted and echoed white supremacist discourse.[118][119][120][121] Neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol described the views Carlson expressed on his show as "ethno-nationalism of some kind";[122] Carlson responded that Kristol had "discredited himself years ago."[123] Carlson has denied being a racist and has said he hates racism.[3]

In call-in segments Carlson made from 2006 to 2008 on the radio show Bubba the Love Sponge, Carlson said Iraq was not worth invading because it was a country made up of "semiliterate primitive monkeys" who "don't use toilet paper or forks." He also criticized "lunatic Muslims who are behaving like animals", and said that any presidential candidate who vowed to "kill as many of them as [they] can" would be "elected king". Recordings of these segments were released online on March 2019 by the progressive Media Matters for America. The Washington Post labelled these comments racist.[124] Carlson also made demeaning remarks towards women, argued against the 2007 conviction of Warren Jeffs, and used homophobic slurs.[125][124] Carlson declined to apologize for his comments.[126]

When Mitt Romney condemned then-candidate Donald Trump after Trump evaded questions about David Duke's support,[127] saying it was a "disqualifying and disgusting response [...]," Carlson criticized Romney. Carlson said "Obama could have written" that.[128]

Carlson concluded his July 9, 2019 Tucker Carlson Tonight episode with a 3-minute monologue about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); he criticized Omar for being ungrateful to the United States, where she had been granted asylum, and called her "living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country." His monologue was described by The Guardian as "scathing", "racially loaded", and "full of anti-immigrant rhetoric".[129] Congresswoman Omar responded on Twitter, saying that "advertisers should not be underwriting this kind of dangerous, hateful rhetoric."[130] In their July 10 article on the incident, The Daily Beast commented that, mainly because of "right-wing attacks that have then been amplified by members of Congress and the president", Omar has been receiving death threats since she was elected to Congress.[131] According to the article, while Carlson "has devoted numerous segments" of his show to criticizing her, this time Carlson "took his anti-Omar stance even further."[131]

Days after the 2019 El Paso shooting which was committed by a man who released an anti-immigrant manifesto complaining of a "Hispanic invasion", Carlson described white supremacy as a "hoax" and "a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power". He asked rhetorically, "the combined membership of every white supremacist group in America - would they be able to fit inside a college football stadium?"[132][133][134] According to The Washington Post, "Carlson's argument is belied by many experts and seemingly contradicted by a recent wave of deadly attacks by men motivated by those views."[135]

South Africa

In August 2018, Carlson ran a segment in which he alleged that the South African government was targeting white farmers during its ongoing land reform efforts due to anti-white racism.[136][137][138] He interviewed Marian Tupy, an analyst at the Cato Institute, who likened South African farmers facing land seizures to white farmers in Zimbabwe who lost their farms in a controversial land reform policy under the President Robert Mugabe.[139] In the segment, Carlson criticized "elites" who were purportedly concerned about racism "paying no attention" to the "racist government of South Africa".[136] He accused South African President Cyril Ramaphosa of changing the country's constitution to enable land theft of whites, and without compensation, because "they are the wrong skin color."[140]

CBS News, Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal described Carlson's segment on South Africa's corrective reparations as false or misleading. In addition to presenting statistics that violence against farmers had reached an all-time low, they noted that the reforms had yet to pass and were primarily aimed at land that had fallen into disuse.[141][137][138][142][140][143][144][137]

Following the Carlson segment, President Trump tweeted that he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "closely study the South Africa land and farm seizure and large scale killing of farmers."[136][137][138] Trump's tweet was denounced as "'misinformed'" by the South African government, which stated that it would address the matter through diplomatic channels.[138] AfriForum, a South African non-governmental organisation focused mainly on the interests of Afrikaners, took credit for Carlson and Trump's statements, saying it believed that its campaign to influence American politics had succeeded.[138]

The evening following the segment, Carlson corrected the statements he had made about the South African land reform, though he did not admit to having made errors. He said the proposed constitutional amendment was still being debated in South Africa and added that no farms had yet been expropriated.[140] 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".[140]

COVID-19 pandemic

Carlson has criticized government officials and other media for not taking the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States seriously enough, while blaming China for causing the pandemic.[145][146] On March 9, 2020, Carlson opened his show by saying, "People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem. ... But they're wrong. It's definitely not just the flu."[147] Two anonymous sources in the White House told the Washington Post that Carlson's statements had caused President Donald Trump to reconsider his position.[147] Carlson also told Vanity Fair that he spoke to Trump and encouraged him to take the coronavirus outbreak seriously.[148][145]

However, Carlson has also criticized the lockdown in the United States brought on by the pandemic and NIAID director Anthony Fauci.[149] He also defended the protests against the nationwide lockdown within rural areas of the country, stating "[n]ot everywhere is New York or New Jersey. The threat to rural America from this virus is minuscule, so why are we punishing the people who live outside the cities?"[150]

Personal life

Carlson is married to Susan Carlson (née Andrews).[3] They met while in high school at St. George's School and were married in 1991 in the high school chapel.[151] They have three daughters and one son, including Lillie (b. 1995), Buckley (b. 1997), Hopie (b. 1999), and Dorothy.[15][152]

Carlson is an Episcopalian and "loves the liturgy, though [he] abhors the liberals who run the denomination".[153]

Carlson quit drinking alcohol in 2002, "having decided that neither the pleasant nights nor the unpleasant mornings were improving his life".[153] Years earlier, he had quit smoking and replaced cigarettes with nicotine gum, which he buys in bulk from New Zealand and "chews constantly".[153]

Carlson is a Deadhead (a fan of the rock band the Grateful Dead), and said in a 2005 interview that he had attended more than 50 of their concerts.[154] He was also good friends with the Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof.[61]

Carlson's estranged mother, Lisa Vaughn, died in October 2011. Vaughn was thought to have died intestate, and in 2012, Carlson and his brother, Buckley, filed a lawsuit to determine succession of her oil and gas royalties in several counties in California, initially valued at over $125,000[11][12] but later found to be over $2.5 million. However, in 2013 a one-page handwritten will was discovered in which Vaughn explicitly stated that she wished her estate to go solely to her husband and left one dollar each for Carlson and his brother.[11][12] As of March 2019, the lawsuit was still under appeal.[11][12]

In 2018, a group of about 20 activists from Smash Racism D.C. protested outside Carlson's Washington, D.C., home.[155] Carlson's driveway was vandalized with a spray-painted anarchist symbol. Police responded within minutes and the protesters were dispersed.[156]


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Further reading

External links