Donald Trump hated by Tucker Carlson until 2021, lawsuit reveals

“We’re living through one of these candid moments,” Tucker Carlson said on the air Wednesday, “where we’re really learning who the liars are.”

It was a brilliant blast of irony that was lost, perhaps, only on the personality of Fox News itself.

Unlike the vast majority of the political and media world in the United States, he was not speaking about the $1.6 billion lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against its employer, Fox Corp., which claims the network is false and defamatory. broadcasts allegations of The 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Republican incumbent Donald Trump.

Instead, Carlsen was playing a new trumpet Video Footage from the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. He said they were images that proved the pro-Trump supporters trying to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory were more like patriotic blinders than the traitorous rebels a congressional committee suggested were. They were

Not surprisingly, Carlson was silent on the revelations headlined by court filings this week that, two days before the Capitol Hill riot, he texted a Fox News colleague to predict that the end of Trump would soon come. Will be on them.

“I really can’t wait,” Carlsen typed on Jan. 4, 2021. “I absolutely hate him.”

Trump may feel the exact same way about Carlson, though he’s never been shy about roasting those who fall out of favor with him. And rather than retaliate, Trump this week published videos on social media praising Carlson in which he said he acquitted his rowdy supporters on Jan. 6.

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“Congratulations,” he wrote with characteristic exaggeration, “on one of the biggest ‘scoops’ in American history as a reporter.”

Testimony released as part of the Dominion defamation lawsuit and open revelations in correspondence created a snapshot of Fox News at a time of crisis, when the network and its stars who had been riding Trump’s political coattails were about to be pulled under his political downfall. There was apprehension. ,

Two years later, the relationship between Trump and Fox News is less parasitic, more symbiotic.

In today’s polarized media and political universe, cable television needs a political star as much as a prominent politician needs a media platform. And with Trump and Fox News out, it now looks like both parties are ready to hold their noses and do what needs to be done.

Trump was Fox News’ most loyal viewer during his four years in the White House. He was also its ratings driver, as Fox executives were well aware. Network hosts Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and others were happy to engage with the Republican leader and amplify his messages.

And the defamation lawsuit alleges that all were instrumental in spreading Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, even though court filings suggest that in private they had serious misgivings.

“Hannity,” Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch wrote in an email disclosed in the suit, “had been privately loathed by Trump for weeks, but was scared of losing viewers.”

Hannity remains a Trump cheerleader today – at least when the cameras are on – even though Fox News has been conspicuous in its attempt to diversify its original coverage.

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The network downplayed Trump’s election-campaign launch last November, while the Murdoch-owned New York Post carried news of Trump’s bid on inside pages.

The lawsuit shows that it’s a big change from panic after the 2020 election when executives realized their pro-Trump audience was starting to migrate to conspiracy-theoretic and deep-state-hating news sources . Also right from the bet-out area of ​​the channel.

Trump crying foul in protest of the network’s display of affection for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, an alt-right Republican, is making all moves to run against Trump, even though he hasn’t seen any of his presidential ambitions.

And this week, in addition to congratulating Carlson by name, Trump took pains to remind Fox News that he continues to contribute to their strange marriage of convenience.

In case ratings-obsessed Fox News hadn’t noticed, Trump posted a tally showing that his speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee drew 1.6 million viewers to Fox News, which topped last Saturday’s cable news rankings. I was on top.

Trump won’t be getting his old Fox News free pass back, especially not if DeSantis decides to move forward with a White House bid. But it still seems possible to revive that cozy camaraderie, the mutual aid that was so often on display when Trump was president.

In a radio interview with Hannity this week, Trump repeated his claim that he could quickly negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine. But he controversially went ahead to say that he may have prompted Russia to annex Russian-speaking areas of the country.

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“You could have made a deal and now Ukraine is being blown to pieces,” he said.

But when Hannity repudiated the interview on his Fox show that night, any suggestion of Ukraine dismembering and handing it over to Vladimir Putin was curiously removed from the tapes.

It’s not exactly an example of the “fake news” that Donald Trump loves so much to rail against using Fox News as a vehicle for the famous taunt. It’s more along the lines of “some news that’s fit to print,” defaming the famous New York Times slogan.

It may have to do for now, as revelations about that anti-Trump tilt from Fox News’ biggest names make it hard to put much stock in its original tag line: “Real news. Real honest opinion.”

Alan Woods is a staff reporter based in Montreal for The Star. He covers global and national affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @WoodsAllan

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