It turns out that “mob” was a small group, “less than 15 people chanting in the dark, with a tambourine,” according to someone who was there. A video and police records back him up.
Before going further, I want to make two things clear: One, I despise Tucker Carlson and think he deserves to be confronted over the poison he spreads every day; and two, I do not support a protest going to his house, no matter how peaceful. If nothing else, I think it’s counter-productive and only lets him and his conservative cronies play the victim. More importantly, I think a protest outside his office would be more effective, garner more positive attention and, possibly, a bigger crowd and affect Carlson’s co-workers who are complicit in spreading the poison. But going to his house, scaring his wife and children, ticking off the neighbors? I think we can do better and that we should be better.
That said, Carlson is not a right-wing martyr. Think Progress reporter Alan Pyke attended the protest outside Carlson’s home and wrote a detailed account of it. He summarized it as, “Less than 15 people chanting in the dark, with a tambourine.” There were also signs and a megaphone. Below are some excerpts from Pyke’s report:
A group numbering 13 or 14 protesters trailed by four protest observers, some in the bright green hats often worn by trained First Amendment legal observers when monitoring police-protester interactions, walked up Carlson’s street just after dark on Wednesday.
One of the protesters knocked firmly on Carlson’s front door three times then trotted back down the steps to join the rest of the group in the street. This person did not throw their body against the door, as Carlson has claimed to newspapers. A police report on the incident makes no mention of damage to the Carlsons’ front door from the three stiff knocks, contradicting Carlson’s claim that the demonstrators had cracked the door.
Video posted on LiveLeak shows portions of the event, which lasted less than 10 minutes. It also illustrates Carlson’s other embellishment — that one person was caught on a security video saying they wanted to return to his home with a pipe bomb. In fact, the person filming is heard saying “Pipe bombs! Synagogue victims!” as the speaker with the amplifying device wraps up their initial statement and begins to lead chants.
The video Pyke refers to is below.
That’s not to say that Carlson’s wife, who reportedly called the police and locked herself in a pantry, had no reason to feel menaced. Pyke said one member of the group leaned a poster board sign against the front door with Carlson’s name and address on it; He also reported that one member of the group spray painted an anarchist “A” on the driveway, to the disgust and dismay of some of the others. Also, Pyke says the group chanted, “We’ll be back! We won’t tell you when!” as they left.
Again, this is not the kind of behavior I condone but Fox News’ description of this as a mob chanting threats, “mentioning a pipe bomb” and breaking a door looks more like another excuse to demonize the left than an effort to get at the truth.
But here’s the thing: Carlson and his pals at Fox News never seem to care about the threats to liberals that their right-wing rhetoric and/or behavior engenders. Just a few weeks ago, Carlson laughed with derision when a guest suggested a connection between a pipe bomb sent to George Soros and Donald Trump’s recent demonization of Soros. At no time did Carlson indicate any concern or sympathy for Soros who was far more gravely threatened than Carlson was. Two days later, a rabid Trump fan was arrested for the crime. As far as I know, Carlson has yet to show any contrition for his callousness.
And let’s not forget Fox was fine with harassing the president of Hampshire College at home – and broadcasting the episode on national TV as news – because he had the audacity to remove the flag from campus. Fox producer Jesse Watters literally stuck his foot in the president’s door in order to keep badgering him. Watters now hosts two Fox News shows.
Also, if Fox really cares about threats, why did it allow a Fox Nation reader to repeatedly offer money to assassinate various figures demonized by the network? You may recall that that reader was eventually arrested and sent to jail after WE notified the authorities. I don’t recall any remorse from the network over that, either.
I would like to hope that this would be a teachable moment for Carlson that inspires him to dial down some of his rhetoric. But his whole brand is about selling hate, division and bigotry. So far, it doesn’t look like he sees anything wrong with that.
So I would encourage people who live in the vicinity of Fox News, either in New York or Washington, D.C. or wherever there’s a bureau to get out and protest in front of the business, during daylight when they can be seen, and let the world – and the people who work there – know what we think of a business model based on demonization for political gain. Heck, if I can make it, I’d be happy to join in. But not at anyone’s home.
See what really happened at Carlson’s house below, via LiveLeak.
(Carlson image via screen grab)
Actually, it could have been worse if only an accordion player showed up.