Tucker Carlson Delights in NBC’s Weinstein Coverage, Neglecting Fox News’ Own Sordid Past
If there is one common trait among nearly all cable news outlets, it is the eagerness to celebrate when the competition makes a misstep. As I’ve written about before, schadenfreude is not an admirable quality in the news media, but it’s a quality that even the most disciplined hosts and analysts seem unable to avoid.
The latest example? Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who appears to be barely holding back a smile as he lays into NBC’s widely accepted journalistic miscue in passing on Ronan Farrow‘s bombshell story outlining Harvey Weinstein’s disgusting behavior. As more details have emerged, it seems fairly clear that NBC executives spiked the negative story on Weinstein, which has emboldened critics of many political stripes to ridicule NBC’s situational journalistic standards.
But lest we forget that another notorious and outrageously powerful media figure just endured a similar set of accusations: Roger Ailes, aka Tucker’s former boss, who stepped down as CEO of Fox News amid numerous allegations of sexual harassment and suggestions that Ailes paid off contributors with whom he had a sexual relationship ostensibly in return for air time.
At the root of Carlson’s critique is the suggestion that executives at NBC lied in their explanation. The chyron of last night’s segment read “POWERFUL PEOPLE STAYED SILENT ON WEINSTEIN,” suggesting that NBC honchos were complicit in Weinstein’s ongoing media cover-up.
But is Tucker really in the best position to judge NBC, when he himself was a top-earning talent for an outlet that was, by many accounts, a cesspool of sexual harassment? The past behavior of his former cohorts and boss should not preclude him from covering such an enormous story. But a little self-awareness of the reputation and recent legacy of his own network should at least be in order.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, as the old axiom goes — and that applies here too. Carlson is likely reacting to the relentless pounding Fox News has received since July 2016 when the Ailes story initially broke. There was no network, no website and no print outlet that didn’t tear Fox News to shreds. And to be fair, Ailes was gone in two and a half weeks from when the initial report surfaced. Similarly, O’Reilly was fired in three weeks from when his story broke.
In the interest of fairness, Mr. Carlson is based in Washington DC, a four hour drive from Fox News’ Manhattan headquarters. And most anyone familiar with Fox News newsroom culture of the past decade will tell you (off the record) that the NY offices were the primary source of allegations that led to the downfall of Ailes, O’Reilly, and Eric Bolling stepping down in disgrace.
And Fox News deserves credit for covering the less -attractive side of their own story. Media critic Howard Kurtz consistently mentions the big FNC stories (albeit briefly) in much the same manner that Brian Stelter often doesn’t shy way from CNN stories. Side note, where is NBC’s newly hired Senior Media Reporter Claire Atkinson on this story?)
This is a classic “Hollywood Hypocrisy” story that is one of Tucker Carlson’s classics. And in many ways, it is entirely predictable that, after seeing his own network being targeted and blamed for behavior not of his own doing, Carlson would hit back harder — especially when FNC was the lead story on The Today Show, MSNBC and NBC Nightly News. But as Gandhi is credited with saying, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of Fox News.
–image via screencap–
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.