For those who have long hated Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the week that has followed his surprise firing by the network has been one of unbridled schadenfreude. Not only was it delicious to find out that Carlson didn't know he was on the outs until the morning his next show episode was scheduled to air, but now we're privy to some of the direct causes of the firing—including one spectacular text message that made leadership at the network nervous.
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As the New York Times reported this week, an embarrassing text that came out during the Dominion lawsuit against the network found Tucker contemplating the Jan. 6, 2021 capitol invasion. We're going to share with you Exhibit 276 in Carlson's own words in full because, y'all, it is a journey:
- "January 7, 2021: A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living s**t out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it. Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be. The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?"
So much to unpack here! First off, how do white men fight, exactly? They never gang up on people in groups? They always fight with honor? Hmm, that doesn't seem to jibe with, oh, thousands of years of history?
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The odder thing about this ruminating text message, which Carlson sent to one of his producers, is the way he's trying to discover his own humanity amid these ugly, gross, racist, murderous thoughts, almost like a man who's been drowning in a giant vat of feces for a whole decade and who suddenly decides that he should perhaps rise to the surface and take a breath of fresh air. But, then, he stays at Fox News for another two years, so clearly his conscience did not win out.
Other outlets have been digging in even further to his text messaging history, discovering that Carlson helped Republican Kevin McCarthy get a deal to become House speaker, and that Carlson's behavior and other text messages created an embarrassing pattern of behavior that Fox, in the end, couldn't ignore.
For any employers looking to hire Carlson in the future, here's a bit of advice: Take away his smartphone.