Tucker Carlson turned a 20,000-word New York Times investigation of him published over the weekend into an occasion to mock the media — and fans of the Fox News host ate it up.
Liberal histrionics over Carlson just make him stronger.
The top-rated Fox News host told Axios Sunday he wouldn’t bother reading the four-part journalistic opus spearheaded by Times political reporter Nick Confessiore.
Also Sunday, Carlson tweeted a photo of himself smiling while holding up a print version of the Times with the series’ flagship story splashed across the front page.
- Online, an interactive data visualization purported to show how Carlson “has grown increasingly sympathetic to the nativist currents coursing through U.S. politics, and how intertwined his rise has been with the transformations of his network and of American conservatism.”
- Confessiore also reported that Carlson has strategically stoked viewers’ outrage and fear while monitoring real-time audience data to achieve his cable news ratings dominance.
“I’ve never read the ratings a single day in my life. I don’t even know how. Ask anyone at Fox,” Carlson told Axios.
- “Most of the big positions I’ve taken in the past five years — against the neocons, the vax and the war [in Ukraine] — have been very unpopular with our audience at first.”
While the Times investigation impressed many journalists and generated a lot of buzz online, Carlson’s defenders dismissed it as a transparent attempt to take down one of the media’s most effective critics.
- Others, like Newsweek editor Batya Ungar-Sargon, suggested that what really irks liberals is Carlson’s crusade against powerful elites.
- “The New York Times spent thousands and thousands of words and dollars to uncover the truth about Tucker Carlson: that he uses his platform to talk about the class divide and immigration depressing working class wages, views any Democrat would have proudly endorsed 15 years ago,” she tweeted Sunday.
Confessiore’s own analysis foreshadowed the way Carlson would come out on the top in the controversy.
- ”Here is the ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ playbook: Go straight for the third rail, be it race, immigration or another hot-button issue; harvest the inevitable backlash; return the next evening to skewer critics for how they responded. Then, do it all again,” Confessiore wrote.
- “This feedback loop drove up ratings and boosted loyalty to Fox and Mr. Carlson.”