Schiff Puts Fox’s Tucker Carlson On Notice For Threatening U.S. Democracy

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) joined those criticizing Tucker Carlson of Fox News this weekend as observers continue to pore over some of the information made available by Dominion Voting Systems amid its defamation litigation against Fox about inner workings there.

“Weak men peddle false election lies while privately dismissing them as absurd,” Schiff said on Twitter this Friday. “Weak men use fear and hate to motivate their followers. Weak men value money and notoriety over truth and decency. Tucker Carlson is a weak, weak man.” The lies about U.S. elections — besides the fear and hate targeted towards groups like marginalized ethnic communities and immigrants — can connect to real-world violence, as the riot at the Capitol and incidents like the recent or semi-recent mass shootings in El Paso and Buffalo exemplify. In both of those situations, the attackers were motivated by racist ideologies. The El Paso attacker used some of the exact same language — discussing a so-called invasion perpetrated by non-whites — also used by figures like Trump, although the then-president predictably wouldn’t distance himself from the rhetoric in the attack’s aftermath.

As for Carlson specifically, a text from shortly after the 2020 election has been made available in which he clamored to fellow hosts on Fox for the firing of network journalist Jacqui Heinrich after she provided a fact-check for some of then-President Trump’s lies about the presidential election that happened that year. Unsurprisingly, Carlson specifically tied his concerns about Heinrich to impacts on Fox’s financial standing. “Please get her fired,” Carlson told Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham about Heinrich. “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” Separately, Carlson and Ingraham shared a text conversation within a week of that chain in which both distanced themselves from claims about the election coming from figures like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

The specifics of the discrepancy between what figures at Fox were saying privately and what was on the air — or website — at the network could help Dominion prove actual malice on the outlet’s part, depending no doubt on specifics like who was controlling what broadcast and who was appearing. The distancing seems to go all the way up, though, with Rupert Murdoch himself pushing back on the claims of a stolen election under oath with Dominion for a deposition.