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Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson (born May 16, 1969) is an American conservative political commentator for Fox News. Carlson is also co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller website and formerly hosted MSNBC's Tucker and co-hosted CNN's Crossfire. Carlson hosts Tucker Carlson Tonight, which moved from 9 p.m. ET to 8 p.m., Fox News Channel's number one prime time spot where previously The O'Reilly Factor aired.Contents
Carlson was born in San Francisco, California. He is the elder son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former Los Angeles news anchor and U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles who was also president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and director of Voice of America. Carlson's mother is Lisa McNear Lombardi, who left the family when Carlson was 6 years old. His stepmother is Patricia Caroline Swanson, an heiress to the Swanson frozen-food fortune; Swanson is the daughter of Gilbert Carl Swanson, granddaughter of Carl A. Swanson, and niece of Senator J. William Fulbright. Carlson's father married Swanson when Carlson was 10 years of age.
Carlson has a brother, Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson. According to a profile in People magazine, "Tucker and younger brother Buckley were raised in La Jolla, California, by their father and stepmother, Patricia, after their mother left home..." His mother, who led a Bohemian lifestyle, abandoned the family and eventually moved to France. She had little presence in his childhood. While living in La Jolla, Tucker briefly attended La Jolla Country Day School before relocating to the East Coast.
Carlson attended St. George's School, a boarding school in Middletown, Rhode Island. After graduating high school, he studied at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in history.Career
Carlson began his journalism career as a fact-checker for Policy Review, a national conservative journal then published by The Heritage Foundation and since acquired by the Hoover Institution. He later worked as a reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper in Little Rock, Arkansas, before joining The Weekly Standard in 1995.
As a magazine and newspaper journalist, Carlson has reported from around the world. He has been a columnist for New York and Reader's Digest. He has also written for Esquire, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Daily Beast.CNN (2000-2005)
In 2000, Carlson co-hosted the short-lived show The Spin Room.
In 2001 Carlson was appointed co-host of Crossfire. On the show, Carlson represented the political right whereas his co-host Paul Begala represented the left. During the same period, he also hosted a weekly public affairs program on PBS, Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered.
One of Carlson's most memorable appearances on Crossfire was his October 2004 heated exchange with Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, prior to the 2004 presidential election. Stewart argued that Carlson and the nature of his show were harmful to political discourse in the United States. After their televised confrontation, Carlson recalls, Stewart stayed at CNN several hours after the show to discuss the issues that he raised on the air. "It was heartfelt," Carlson said, "He needed to do this."
In January 2005, CNN announced they were ending their relationship with Carlson and would soon cancel Crossfire. CNN chief Jonathan Klein told Carlson on January 4, 2005, that the network had decided not to renew his contract. Carlson has said that he had already resigned from CNN and Crossfire long before Stewart was booked as a guest, telling host Patricia Duff: "I resigned from Crossfire in April , many months before Jon Stewart came on our show, because I didn't like the partisanship, and I thought in some ways it was kind of a pointless conversation ... each side coming out, you know, 'Here's my argument', and no one listening to anyone else. was a frustrating place to work."MSNBC (2005-2008) Main article: Tucker (television program)
Carlson's early evening show, Tucker (originally titled The Situation With Tucker Carlson), premiered on June 13, 2005, on MSNBC.
Carlson also hosted a late afternoon weekday wrap-up for MSNBC during the 2006 Winter Olympics, during which he attempted to learn how to play various Olympic sports. In July 2006, he reported live for Tucker from Haifa, Israel, during the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. While in the Middle East, he also hosted MSNBC Special Report: Mideast Crisis. He appeared regularly on Verdict with Dan Abrams as a panelist in political discussions.
Tucker lasted fewer than three full seasons. The network announced its cancellation due to low ratings on March 10, 2008, and the final episode aired on March 14, 2008. Brian Stelter of The New York Times noted that "during Mr. Carlson's tenure, MSNBC's evening programming moved gradually to the left. His former time slots, 6 and 9 p.m., were then occupied by two liberals, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow." Carlson stated that the network had changed a lot and "they didn't have a role for me."Fox News Channel (2009-)
In May 2009, Fox News announced that Carlson was being hired as a Fox News contributor. He was a frequent guest panelist on Fox's late-night satire show Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld, made frequent appearances on the All-Star Panel segment of Special Report with Bret Baier, was a substitute host of Hannity in Sean Hannity's absence, and produced a Fox News special titled Fighting for Our Children's Minds.
In March 2013, it was announced that Carlson was tapped to co-host the weekend editions of Fox & Friends; he had been a contributor and frequent guest host on the program. He replaced Dave Briggs, who left the news channel to join the NBC Sports Network in January 2013. Beginning in April, Carlson officially joined co-hosts Alisyn Camerota and Clayton Morris on Saturday and Sunday mornings.Tucker Carlson Tonight (2016-) Main article: Tucker Carlson Tonight
On November 14, 2016, Carlson started hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. Tucker Carlson Tonight was created to replace the show On the Record. The show debuted as "the network's most watched telecast of the year in the time slot". The program's premiere episode, viewed by 3.7 million, was rated higher than previous editions of On the Record.
Tucker Carlson Tonight aired at 7 p.m. ET each weeknight until January 9, 2017, when Carlson's show replaced Megyn Kelly at the 9 p.m. ET time slot after she left Fox News. In March 2017, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the most watched cable program in the 9 p.m. time slot. On April 19, 2017, it was announced that Tucker Carlson Tonight would air at 8:00 p.m. following the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor.
Tucker Carlson Tonight was the number one cable news broadcast in its time slot as of April 2018. Carlson describes the show as "the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink."
Neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol described the views Carlson expressed on his show as "close now to racism, white — I mean, I don't know if it's racism exactly — but ethno-nationalism of some kind, let's call it." Carlson responded that Kristol "discredited himself years ago." White supremacists, such as Richard Spencer and David Duke, and the white nationalist website The Daily Stormer have lauded Carlson's show.The Daily Caller (2010-) Main article: The Daily Caller
On January 11, 2010, Carlson and former vice president Dick Cheney aide Neil Patel launched a political news website titled The Daily Caller. Carlson served as editor-in-chief, and occasionally wrote opinion pieces with Patel. The website was funded by the conservative activist Foster Freiss. By February The Daily Caller was part of the White House rotating press pool.
In an interview with Politico, Carlson said that The Daily Caller would not be tied to ideology but rather will be "breaking stories of importance". In a Washington Post article, Carlson added, "We're not enforcing any kind of ideological orthodoxy on anyone." Columnist Mickey Kaus quit after Carlson refused to run a column critical of Fox News's coverage of the immigration policy debate.Dancing with the Stars
Carlson was a participant in its fall 2006 Dancing with the Stars reality show. Carlson reportedly took four-hour-a-day ballroom dance classes in preparation for the competition, and mourned "missed classes" during an MSNBC assignment in Lebanon. "It's hard for me to remember the moves", he stated. Asked why he accepted ABC's invitation to perform, Carlson responded, "I'm not defending it as the smartest choice, but I think it's the most interesting. I think if you sat back and tried to plan my career, you might not choose this. But my only criterion is the interest level. I want to lead an interesting life... I'm 37. I've got four kids. I have a steady job. I don't do things that I'm not good at very often. I'm psyched to get to do that." Carlson was the first contestant eliminated, on September 13, 2006.Political views Conservatism
Carlson is considered a conservative. Carlson criticized 2000 presidential candidate John McCain for being insufficiently ideological. Speaking to Salon.com, Carlson stated:
I liked McCain. And I would have voted for McCain for president happily, not because I agree with his politics; I never took McCain's politics seriously enough even to have strong feelings about them. I don't think McCain has very strong politics. He's interested in ideas almost as little as George W. Bush is. McCain isn't intellectual, and doesn't have a strong ideology at all. He's wound up sort of as a liberal Republican because he's mad at other Republicans, not because he's a liberal.
Carlson has stated that former U.S. president George W. Bush is not a true conservative. In an August 27, 2004, Washington Post interview, Carlson expressed his "displeasure with Bush". Carlson asked: "Why do so many antiwar liberals give Kerry a pass when he adopts the Bush view on Iraq, as he has? The amount of team-playing on the left depresses me." Carlson did not vote in the 2004 election, citing his disgust with the Iraq War and his disillusionment with the once small-government Republican Party. He would go on to say:
I don't know what you consider conservative, but I'm not much of a liberal, at least as the word is currently defined. For instance, I'm utterly opposed to abortion, which I think is horrible and cruel. I think affirmative action is wrong. I'd like to slow immigration pretty dramatically. I hate all nanny state regulations, such as seat belt laws and smoking bans. I'm not for big government. I think the U.S. ought to hesitate before intervening abroad. I think these are conservative impulses. So by my criteria, Bush isn't much of a conservative.Immigration This section's representation of one or more viewpoints about a controversial issue may be unbalanced or inaccurate. Please improve the article or discuss the issue on the talk page. (September 2018)
Carlson has been accused of demonizing immigrants, both legal and undocumented. He has opposed demographic changes in the United States in the form of a declining share of whites and increasing share of Hispanics, saying that this "makes societies volatile". He has said that the demographic change seen in Hazleton, Pa., which saw Hispanics go from a small minority to a majority over a 15-year period is "more change than human beings are designed to digest." Some media have described Carlson's views on changing racial demographics in the U.S. as advocating the white genocide conspiracy theory, with Salon claiming he shared an obsession with the concept. The Anti-Defamation League's Jessica Reaves has analyzed his use of "white genocide" rhetoric in a 2018 monologue, while Southern Poverty Law Center have covered his website The Daily Caller's promotion of the conspiracy theory regarding South African farm attacks.Foreign policy
Carlson said in an interview with The Washington Post that he thinks "that the U.S. ought to hesitate before intervening abroad." Carlson is skeptical of foreign intervention.Iraq War
Carlson supported the U.S. war with Iraq during its first year. After a year, however, he began criticizing the war, telling the New York Observer, "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it. It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. No. I want things to work out, but I'm enraged by it, actually."Russia
Carlson has said he does not consider Russia a serious threat. Carlson has called for the United States to work with Russia in the Syrian Civil War. He opposes overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. Peter Beinart of the Atlantic said that Carlson has been an "apologist for Donald Trump on the Russia scandal". Carlson described the controversy in the wake of revelations that Donald Trump Jr. was willing to accept anti-Clinton information from a Russian government official as a "new level of hysteria" and said that Trump Jr. had only been "gossiping with foreigners."Syria
In April 2018, Carlson questioned whether Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical attack that occurred the same month and killed dozens. Carlson suggested that a similar attack that occurred the year before (the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack), which was widely attributed to Assad's forces, was a false flag attack perpetrated to falsely implicate the Assad government.Libertarianism Tucker Carlson at a 2007 Ron Paul presidential event.
Carlson voted for Ron Paul in 1988 when he was running as the Libertarian Party presidential candidate. On November 26, 2007, it was reported that Carlson lobbied Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof to support Paul's candidacy. Carlson said, "Dennis Hof is a good friend of mine, so when we got to Nevada, I decided to call him up and see if he wanted to come check this guy out."
On September 2, 2008, Carlson participated in Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty Rally for the Republic in Minneapolis, as the first speaker to introduce the rally and also acted as the MC by introducing nearly every guest speaker. On February 23, 2009, Carlson was introduced as a senior fellow for the Cato Institute; he is no longer a senior fellow there.South Africa
In August 2018, Carlson ran a segment about the South African government allegedly seizing land from white farmers due to anti-white racism. In the segment, Carlson criticized "elites" who are purportedly concerned about racism "paying no attention" to the "racist government of South Africa." Carlson's claim that land had been seized from white farmers in South Africa was described by BBC News, CBS News, The Associated Press, PolitiFact, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as false or misleading.
Following the segment, President Donald Trump stated in an August 23, 2018 tweet that he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "closely study the South Africa land and farm seizure and large scale killing of farmers." Carlson's segment had not alleged that farmers had been killed. In response to President Trump's tweet, the South African government tweeted: "'South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.'" Former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard "tweeted that Trump was 'attacking South Africa with the disproven racial myth of "large-scale killings of farmers"'". Politfact indicates that South African farmers are at no greater risk of being killed than the average South African. Some South African blacks have sought to retake land that they have claimed is rightfully theirs, but South African police have stopped such ad hoc efforts. The South African right-wing group AfriForum took credit for Carlson and Trump's statements, saying it believed that its campaign to influence American politics had succeeded.Public image
Carlson was known for wearing bow ties. In 2005 on the season-five episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, "The Bowtie", a character refers to Larry David as "Tucker Carlson" for wearing one. On April 11, 2006, Carlson announced on his MSNBC show that he would no longer be wearing a bow-tie, adding, "I just decided I wanted to give my neck a break. A little change is good once in a while, and I feel better already." He now wears long neckties on the air, and on the February 28, 2014, edition of The Alex Jones Show, while talking about his reasons for returning to wearing a long necktie, Carlson said that "if you wear a bow tie, it's like a middle finger around your neck; you're just inviting scorn and ridicule ... the number of people screaming the F-word at me ... it wore me down after a while so I gave in and became conventional."Sexism allegation
Carlson endorsed controversial comments made by his brother, Buckley, about a spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The spokesperson had asked for corrections to a story, and Buckley called her a "whiny little self-righteous bitch" and made sexually derogatory remarks. Tucker wrote that Buckley "meant it in the nicest way." Former speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn called on both Carlsons to apologize for the "offensive" and "sexist" comments.Personal life
Carlson is married to Susan Carlson, née Andrews. Together, they have four children, three girls and one boy.
Carlson is an Episcopalian and "loves the liturgy, though he abhors the liberals who run the denomination".
Carlson quit drinking alcohol in 2002, "having decided that neither the pleasant nights nor the unpleasant mornings were improving his life". Years earlier, he had quit smoking, replacing it with nicotine gum, a product he buys in bulk from New Zealand and "chews constantly".Books Autobiography
In 2003, Carlson authored an autobiography, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, about his television news experiences; the publisher was Warner Books. One of the book's revelations was Carlson's description of being falsely accused of raping by a woman he did not know who suffered from severe mental illness and displayed stalker-like behavior. Carlson wrote in the book that the incident was emotionally traumatic.Forthcoming
In May 2017, Carlson, represented by the literary and creative agency Javelin, signed an eight-figure, two-book deal with Simon & Schuster's Threshold Editions.References