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Tucker Carlson's Job Looks Safe Amid New Controversy

Fox host made controversial comments on white supremacy before leaving for vacation
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2019 10:30 AM CDT
Tucker Carlson Faces New Advertiser Heat
Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News studio in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(Newser) – Fox News' Tucker Carlson is once again in the hot seat over controversial comments, and Carlson is now on vacation until Aug. 19 as critics ramp up calls for an advertiser boycott. The latest flap is Carlson's assertion, in the wake of the El Paso mass shooting, that white supremacy is a "hoax" and not much of a problem in the US. Details and developments:

  • His comments: Watch the full clip from Tuesday here. “This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax," he says of white supremacy. "It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.” Watch a snippet from the next day here, in which Carlson asks people to "calm down" and acknowledges that while racism is a problem in the US, the country faces bigger issues, including a "fading middle class."
  • Advertisers: Nestle had advertised on Carlson's show the last three months, but it now says it has "no plans to do so in the future," reports the Hollywood Reporter. A spokesperson didn't specifically cite the new comments. Meal kit service HelloFresh also said it wouldn't renew its ad buy on the show. HuffPost notes that Long John Silver's is also out.
  • No firing expected: THR notes that Carlson isn't seeing the same advertiser exodus as late last year, when he asserted that immigrants made the US "poorer" and "dirtier." That's because the show now relies "more on smaller direct-marketing companies that are less likely to cut ties, though a few major brands—such as StarKist, Sandals Resorts, and Nutrisystem — have remained consistent advertisers." The bottom line: Carlson's job seems safe, writes Jeremy Barr.

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  • Vacation: On Wednesday, Carlson told viewers he was leaving for a fishing vacation with his son, and Fox tells CNN that the trip was planned before the controversy. However, CNN's Oliver Darcy notes that Fox hosts have a long history of abruptly going on vacation amid controversy; Bill O'Reilly famously never came back from his. Darcy adds that Fox board member Roland Hernandez hung up on him when Darcy asked about Carlson.
  • Mum: The network and the board of parent company Fox Corporation haven't responded to questions about Carlson's comments, per the Daily Beast.
  • In defense: White House adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Carlson in an interview with pundit Eric Bolling, saying the media gives disproportionate coverage to white supremacy. "I think perhaps what Tucker is saying, but you'd have to ask him, is that the outsized coverage it gets versus all forms of hate," she said, per Newsweek. Conway specifically referred to the far-left antifa movement.
  • Colleagues' rebuttal: Fox's Shepard Smith didn't mention Carlson by name, but on his own show, he seemed to rebut his colleague's comments. "White nationalism is without question a serious problem in America," Smith said, per AOL. He also referred to "the unmistakable rise of white nationalism and white racism in America."
  • Harsh critique: Media writer Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post calls out Carlson as being perhaps the worst purveyor of dangerous racist views on Fox. "The Fox-Trump feedback loop constantly reinforces the notion that black and brown people are to be feared and despised—whether they are in 'rat-infested' cities like Baltimore, as Trump would have it, or at the Mexico-Texas border." She also took note of Carlson's assertion that he'd never personally met a white supremacist: "He might want to take a searching look in the mirror."
  • Counter view: It's not right to go after Carlson, who is simply voicing "inconvenient truths," writes Victor Davis Hanson at the Hill. The first of those truths: "One, while white-supremacy ideology always must be monitored and can trigger the unhinged—as the El Paso shooting may turn out to suggest—it is no longer a ubiquitous movement as it once was in the 20th century."
(Read more Tucker Carlson stories.)

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