In the 1991 edition of the Trinity College yearbook, Tucker Carlson — who would go on to become a prominent far-right media figure — was identified as affiliated with the “Dan White Society.” In 1978, a man named Dan White murdered San Francisco city board member Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official in the city. A spokesperson for Trinity College informed The Wrap that the so-called Dan White Society “didn’t seem to exist at the school and was only mentioned in Carlson’s entry,” as summarized by the publication.
When asked if Carlson was the source for the “Dan White Society” reference, the spokesperson said that they could “not speak” to the process for finalizing info included in yearbooks in 1991. Assuming that the yearbook note refers to the man who murdered Harvey Milk, then theoretically, the reference could have been some kind of despicable joke about White’s crime, although it’s unclear where the reference originated.
In the same college yearbook entry for Carlson from that year, the eventual Fox News host was identified as affiliated with the Jesse Helms Society, which describes itself as “a non-profit, non-political foundation which provides quality educational lectures, training schools and events focused on the principles of our founding fathers” and “traditional American values” in line with the career of the late Senator Jesse Helms. During his time in office, Helms opposed LGBTQ rights, opposed the civil rights movement, and even launched a 16-day filibuster against the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national holiday!
On Tuesday night, Carlson went on a familiarly unhinged rant, insisting that Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos “had one of his minions, a mentally unbalanced middle-aged man called Erik Wemple, pull our dusty college yearbook and call around and see if we’d done anything naughty at the age of 19.” Does Carlson mean to imply that being middle-aged is… somehow detrimental? Carlson himself is 51 years old!
Recently, Carlson openly pushed the idea that Democrats are “trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” as he put it, which is racist in the sense of demeaning voters from the “Third World” and racist in the sense of deceptively depicting (generally) white Americans as under some kind of existential threat, among other serious problems. Fundamentally, it’s a delusional conspiracy theory — trying to support immigrants, as Democrats have done, does not in any meaningful way somehow equate to a scheme to “replace” white American voters.
Carlson isn’t the only current far-right thought leader with questionable comments in his background. As a 15-year-old in the 1990s, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote an article for his hometown newspaper in defense of militia members in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, which was perpetrated by individuals with militia ties. Hawley defensively wrote, among other things, that militia members have been “[dismissed] by the media and treated with disdain by their elected leaders,” adding a defensive elaboration that “these citizens come together and form groups that often draw more media fire as anti-government hate gatherings.”