Tucker Carlson's Bread and Butter: 'White Grievance'

In deep dive into Fox host's history, 'WaPo' explores Carlson's role as the 'voice of white America'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2021 12:28 PM CDT
Tucker Carlson, the 'Voice of Angry White America'
Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos on March 2, 2017, in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

From an outsider's perspective, Tucker Carlson, host of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, could be seen as a man of ambition who rose to become one of conservative media's biggest stars, now boasting a nightly audience of nearly 3 million, with millions more fans on social media. From Carlson's perspective, however, he's a "victim," repeatedly sharing his ire on such subjects as diversity and anti-racism efforts and how they adversely affect white people, to the point where he's become the "preeminent voice of angry white America." That's how Michael Kranish paints the 52-year-old pundit in his new piece for the Washington Post, which takes a deep dive into Carlson's life and career, and a disdain for liberals that Carlson suggests stretches back to his elementary school days. In his 2018 book, Ship of Fools, for instance, Carlson claimed his first grade teacher was a "parody of earth-mother liberalism" who cried at her desk. (The now-77-year-old teacher denies his account, noting to the Post, "That is the most embellished, crazy thing I ever heard.")

Fast forward to Carlson's current Fox News program, where Kranish notes he tackles myriad eyebrow-raising subjects—from pushing Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was rigged to stirring up doubt that the coronavirus vaccine works. But it's Carlson's "White grievance that dominates the show," Kranish writes. Carlson has called Black Lives Matter "poison"; spread conspiracy theories about the murder of George Floyd; embraced claims popular with white nationalists; and pushed back on anti-racism efforts and similar topics (especially, of late, critical race theory), saying that Black people and white allies who promote these initiatives are spreading "race hate." Kranish adds that Carlson has spent a good portion of his career claiming that Black people want to blame white people for everything and have an unfair upper hand. Carlson's response to the Post's request for comment, via a Fox News statement: "You want to make me shut up, so you call me a racist. I've seen it before." Read Kranish's full piece here, including Carlson's eerie foreshadowing of sorts, in 2006, of Trump's presidency. (More Longform stories.)

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