Fresh Scrutiny For Fox's Tucker Carlson After Writer's Bigoted Posts A top writer for Fox News' Tucker Carlson resigns after CNN revealed his racist and sexist posts, reviving criticism of Carlson's commentaries. Carlson is set to address the controversy Monday.

Fresh Scrutiny For Fox's Tucker Carlson As Top Writer Quits Over Bigoted Posts

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Tucker Carlson is enjoying the best ratings for any cable news host in U.S. history. He also has faced a wave of advertiser boycotts over his remarks on people of color, immigrants and women. On Friday, Carlson's longtime chief writer resigned over revelations he had written bigoted posts for years. Carlson addressed the controversy on his tonight. NPR's David Folkenflik reports on the stakes for Fox's brightest star.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: This moment is - how do we say this? - nothing new for Tucker Carlson. Carlson has, in the past, referred to Iraqis as, quote, "semi-literate primitive monkeys." On a radio show, he insulted Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's looks. Immigrants, Carlson argued on his Fox show back in 2018 - they don't get the job done.


TUCKER CARLSON: Our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world's poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.

FOLKENFLIK: A slew of advertisers dropped after that.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Listen. He's anti-immigrant. He's frequently racist.

FOLKENFLIK: This is former NBC News and CNN host Soledad O'Brien, who is Black and Latina and a first-generation American.

O'BRIEN: He says despicable things about women. He says despicable things about Asians. He says despicable things about Latinos.

FOLKENFLIK: And there is an irony. For the past three months, Carlson has drawn an estimated 4.3 million American viewers each night, a record for cable news. President Trump frequently watches Carlson and tweets praise of him. Yet major advertisers are peeling away again. In June, Disney, Papa John's and T-Mobile were among the companies that said they would avoid his show, though their commercials still appear on Fox. They cited his commentary about the Black Lives Matter movement.


CARLSON: This may be a lot of things, this moment we're living through, but it is definitely not about Black lives. And remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will.

FOLKENFLIK: A Fox spokesperson told reporters the they Carlson was referring to was Democrats not protesters, not Black Americans. Carlson most recently questioned the patriotism of two Democrats, both women of color who were born abroad. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar had both criticized President Trump's Mount Rushmore speech.


CARLSON: The problem is there are many of us here who do like this country. We live here. We don't want to destroy it. We have every right to fight to preserve our nation and our heritage and our culture.

FOLKENFLIK: That from last Monday. Duckworth is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who lost her legs in 2004 after the helicopter she was piloting was shot down by Iraqi insurgents. Duckworth tweeted that Carlson should walk a mile in her legs, which happen to be made of steel and titanium. Then on Friday came the resignation of Carlson's top writer Blake Neff. CNN's Oliver Darcy revealed that Neff had posted racist, homophobic and sexist commentaries online under a pseudonym for at least five years. Carlson didn't address it last Friday but instead condemned cancel culture, in which he said liberals silence people they oppose. Soledad O'Brien nevertheless notes that several white supremacists, including David Duke and Richard Spencer, have embraced Carlson's show.

O'BRIEN: That is an indication that he says the kinds of things that they like to hear. He frames arguments that are basically white supremacist arguments. He's not going to use the N-word on TV, certainly, but I think he goes right up to that line.

FOLKENFLIK: This evening, Carlson spoke directly about Neff for the first time, distancing himself from the hateful remarks.


CARLSON: What Blake wrote anonymously was wrong. We don't endorse those words. They have no connection to this show. It is wrong to attack people for qualities they cannot control.

FOLKENFLIK: Carlson did not back down or address his own rhetoric, which remains under attack.

David Folkenflik, NPR News.


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