Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
It’s been a rough few weeks for Fox News host and commentator, Tucker Carlson. First, his own comments on-air led several big-name advertisers to pull their support from his program. Then, one of his top writers had to be fired when it was learned he was posting racist and sexist diatribes online. Now, Carlson is saying his family has been endangered by reporting coming from the New York Times.
Carlson’s complaint stems from a story he says the Times is working on that details where he and his family live. That, Carlson argues, is unjustified: “Why is the New York Times doing a story on the location of my family’s home? You know why? To hurt us, to injure my wife and kids so I will shut up… they believe in force.”
In response, the Times said it would not confirm what it may or may not be working on or what stories it may publish, and the newspaper has “no plan to expose any residence of Tucker Carlson’s, which Carlson was aware of before his broadcast…”
Carlson says he has good reason to be concerned, relating a time two years ago when protesters showed up at his home in Washington, DC. He says they “damaged” his front door and frightened his wife, who was home alone at the time. She hid in the closet and called the police. The protesters left, though they returned another time.
The family eventually moved, something Carlson says was the last resort: “We tried to ignore it… It felt cowardly to sell our house and leave. We’d raised our kids in the neighborhood and loved it. But, in the end, that’s what we did. We have four children. It just wasn’t worth it…”
In a subsequent interview, Carlson reported to a local newspaper in Maine that he lives there for much of the year, though he also has a home in Florida. Then, on his program, during a segment about the alleged story the Times was working on, Carlson named names, supposedly those of the reporter and photographer that, he says, we’re working on the story, adding that he thought the story was an “incitement to violence.”
Instead, though, it was Carlson’s fans who posted addresses they claimed were those of the reporters in question, spreading them on social media without any confirmation of accuracy. Some of these included threats.
At this point, the Times still says it had no intention of putting Carlson or his family at risk. Critics are saying the on-air rant was meant as a distraction from his previous PR problems. If so, it certainly shifted the narrative among Carlson’s fans, though perhaps not among his critics.