One of the most shocking revelations in the Dominion brief filed last week is how Tucker Carlson tried to get correspondent Jacqui Heinrich fired for telling what he knew was the truth about 2020 election lies. Yet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just gave this charlatan thousands of hours of sensitive Jan. 6 video footage.
As I wrote last week, a nearly 200-page legal brief from Dominion seeking summary judgment in its $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News is full of jaw-dropping information about how top people at the network knew that it was pushing lies about the 2020 election.
Perhaps nothing is more jaw-dropping than Tucker Carlson’s effort to get a reporter fired for telling the truth about Dominion:
From Pages 31-32 of Dominion’s brief in support of its summary judgement motion (citations removed):
Meanwhile, later that night of November 12, [Laura] Ingraham was still texting with [Sean] Hannity and Carlson. In their group text thread, Carlson pointed Hannity to a tweet by Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich. Heinrich was “fact checking” a tweet by Trump that mentioned Dominion—and specifically mentioned Hannity’s and [Lou] Dobbs’ broadcasts that evening discussing Dominion. Heinrich correctly fact-checked the tweet, pointing out that “top election infrastructure officials” said that “‘There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’”
Carlson told Hannity: “Please get her fired. Seriously….What the fuck? I’m actually shocked…It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” Tucker added: “I just went crazy on Meade [Cooper, executive VP] over it.” Hannity said he had “already sent to [CEO Suzanne Scott] with a really?” He then added: “I’m 3 strikes. Wallace shit debate[.] Election night a disaster[.] Now this BS? Nope. Not gonna fly. Did I mention Cavuto?”
Hannity indeed had discussed with Scott. Hannity texted his team: “I just dropped a bomb.” Suzanne Scott received the message. She told Jay Wallace and Fox News’ SVP for Corporate Communications.
Irena Briganti [senior exec. VP]: “Sean texted me—he’s standing down on responding but not happy about this and doesn’t understand how this is allowed to happen from anyone in news. She [Heinrich] has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted.” By the next morning, Heinrich had deleted her fact-checking tweet.
Heinrich was not fired. She’s currently a White House correspondent for Fox. Media Matters notes there is still a tweet in Heinrich’s feed rebutting Trump’s claim, saying, “Dominion Voting AND top election infrastructure officials categorically deny this. ‘The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history... There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’”
Dominion Voting AND top election infrastructure officials categorically deny this. “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history... There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” https://t.co/anS8c94AJ1— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) November 13, 2020
This is appalling on so many levels. For one thing, it exposes Carlson as a fraud again. In this case, it makes a mockery of his claim that his show is the “sworn enemy of lying.” While Carlson wanted Heinrich fired for telling the truth, he was privately acknowledging it. The very next night, November 13, “Carlson wrote privately that Trump needed to concede and agreed that ‘there wasn’t enough fraud to change the outcome’ of the election.” (Page 145). On November 16, “Carlson (again, privately) confirmed his belief that ‘Sidney Powell is lying’ about having evidence for election fraud.” (Page 145)
This is far from the first time Carlson has gone after those who dared to contradict his propaganda. In my May 7, 2022 post, I noted that he attacked Fox correspondent Kristin Fisher for saying that much of what Rudy Giuliani said about the 2020 election "was simply not true or has already been thrown out in court.” Fisher's appearances declined and she was reportedly warned afterward to keep her head down. She is now at CNN.
Carlson also reportedly berated a producer who dared to tweet that “white supremacy is real,” after he had said otherwise. From The New York Times:
In August 2019, days after a 21-year-old white man killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart to protest what he called the “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” Mr. Carlson declared on the air that white supremacy was largely a “hoax.” Even more advertisers fled; Mr. Carlson embarked on what Fox described as a preplanned vacation. While he was gone, a Fox producer named Cristina Corbin tweeted an indirect rejoinder to the prime-time star. “White supremacy is real, as evidenced by fact,” Ms. Corbin wrote. “Claims that it is a ‘hoax’ do not represent my views.”
She had not mentioned Fox’s star by name, but Mr. Carlson appeared to catch wind of her tweet almost immediately. A few hours later, while still on vacation, he called Ms. Corbin at work from a blocked number, then berated her for airing her disagreement publicly. “Shut your mouth,” he yelled, according to a former Fox executive briefed on the episode. Ms. Corbin did not respond to an email seeking comment for this article; Fox declined to comment, citing confidentiality requirements pertaining to human resources matters.
When Ms. Corbin reported the incident to Fox management, Mr. Carlson denied making such a call, according to the former executive.
As I also wrote in my May, 2022 post, Carlson pushed out anchor Shepard Smith, too. Smith committed the sin of calling it "repugnant" for an outside guest on Carlson's show to call a mutual Fox colleague, one who had dared to criticize Donald Trump, "a fool." Carlson attacked Smith on the air, management sided with Carlson, and Smith resigned shortly thereafter.
That leads me to another level of appalling: Fox News management seems to side with Carlson’s treachery and dishonesty every time.
Perhaps most appalling of all is that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just gave Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours* of Capitol footage of the January 6 insurrection, as Axios scooped Monday. Carlson was quoted as saying, "If there was ever a question that's in the public's interest to know, it's what actually happened on January 6. By definition, this video will reveal it. It's impossible for me to understand why any honest person would be bothered by that." It's sickening to read that this lying propagandist still pretends to care about honesty.
Carlson has told such lies about January 6 that respected host Chris Wallace and two long-time contributors quit Fox over them. Wallace and anchor Bret Baier went to top Fox management and – you guessed it – management sided with Carlson. (Baier is quoted several times in Dominion’s brief as someone who knew the allegations about Dominion were false. Yet, he remains at Fox.) And, of course, Carlson regularly promotes racial, gender and other violence.
From The Washington Post:
The decision by McCarthy to provide the video to Carlson raised serious questions about whether the release of the footage would force U.S. Capitol Police to change the location of security cameras and why the speaker would give the material to a Fox News host who has peddled conspiracy theories about the attack and not share it with other news organizations.
McCarthy told reporters last month that he supported the idea of additional footage from the riot being made public. “I think the public should see what has happened on that,” he said.
If McCarthy really cared about the public seeing the footage, he'd make it available either online or to a reputable reporter or researcher. Giving it to Carlson means he only wants it used for propagandistic purposes. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a member of the Jan. 6 committee, told The Post, “If you want to make tens of thousands of hours publicly available, then it should be available for all media, not for just one propaganda mouthpiece.”
The Dominion brief is chock full of evidence that top people at Fox knew they were pushing lies about the 2020 election. McCarthy is proof that he and probably many, if not most, other Republicans could not care less.
MSNBC host Mehdi Hassan put together a great video about the Dominion brief that juxtaposes Prime Time Canceler Tucker Carlson whining about “cancel culture.” As my Crooks and Liars colleague Heather pointed out, the Dominion brief also shows what a “complete lack of respect [Fox personnel] have for the dupes that watch their shows.”
You can watch it below, via Crooks and Liars.
2/24/28 Update - McCarthy says he turned over 44,000 hours of video to Carlson.