A new report in The New York Times claims some private musings from Tucker Carlson about the societal drift into violence and the divide shaping modern America were the key to his being fired by Fox News last month.
The Times report said that a text from Carlson on Jan. 7, 2021, the day after the Capitol incursion, “set off a panic at the highest levels of Fox” as it was facing a trial against Dominion Voting Systems.
The report said the text was unknown to Fox’s board of directors and even some senior executives until April 16, basing this claim on “two people with knowledge of Fox’s internal deliberations.”
It said the board planned to have outside legal counsel investigate Carlson and what the report called his “messages,” referring to other internal messages that were revealed as part of the discovery portion of Dominion's defamation lawsuit.
Carlson’s message goes like this, according to the Times:
“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*** 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."
At that point, Carlson said, his thought process kicked in, according to the Times.
“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,” the text continued.
“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?” Carlson wrote, according to the report.
The Times said the text was redacted in court filings but its full contents "were disclosed in interviews with several people close to the defamation lawsuit against Fox."
"The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a message that is protected by a court order," the report said. "In public filings, it remains hidden behind a block of black text."
Fox settled the Dominion lawsuit on April 18. Carlson was fired on April 24. Fox has not divulged the reasons for his dismissal.
If there had been sentiment percolating through Fox to oust him during that period, Carlson appeared publicly unaware of it. On April 21, he signed off as normal, and he was reported prepping for his show on the morning he was fired.
The Times' report drew a heated response on Twitter.
Fox News leaking to the left-wing New York Times to smear Tucker Carlson isn't just an attack on Tucker, it's an attack on all of his fans and conservatives everywhere!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 3, 2023
This is a beautiful, honest, self-critical & deeply compassionate anecdote from a man we would all be blessed to consider a friend or family member. The libs know that. They’re triggered because Tucker is humble & his moral integrity makes them feel deeply inadequate & ashamed. pic.twitter.com/QCHB2xS23P
— Aimee Terese (@aimeeterese) May 3, 2023
Wow. I literally cannot believe that Tucker Carlson...
... saw the humanity in an Antifa guy getting beat up. pic.twitter.com/Lj3DS86ggw
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 3, 2023
The only thing shocking about this text message is that it's way more thoughtful and interesting than the average text message https://t.co/D6No6LT9iI
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 3, 2023
The Times said the message “played a role in the company’s decision to settle with Dominion for $787.5 million, the highest known payout in a defamation case.” It did not elaborate.
Neither Fox nor Carlson responded to the Times' requests to discuss its report.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.