Fox News host Tucker Carlson under fire over ‘calculated and cruel’ attack on female reporter

Andy Gregory
Thursday 11 March 2021 16:12
news

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is under fire over what The New York Times describes as a “calculated and cruel” attack on its journalist Taylor Lorenz.

The right-wing shock jock has launched a series of tirades against Lorenz – a reporter covering tech and internet culture – in recent days, after she took to Twitter on International Women’s Day to ask people to consider “supporting women enduring online harassment”.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I’ve had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life. No one should have to go through this,” she wrote on Tuesday,

Lorenz added that the scope of attacks she had faced in the course of her work had been “unimaginable” with “no escape” – and urged people not to direct sympathy to her, but merely for people to call out online abuse where they see it and to support women and people of colour.

Hours later, Carlson tore into Lorenz in a segment accompanied by the banner “society’s biggest victims have powerful jobs”, criticising her as a “privileged” woman at the “top of journalism’s repulsive little food chain”.

Smearing Lorenz as “much less talented” than previous Times reporters, Carlson attacked her for having the audacity to post about facing online abuse, adding: “You’d think Taylor Lorenz would be grateful for the remarkable good luck she’s had. But no she’s not.”

Seeking to dismiss the abuse Lorenz described facing as people having “criticised her opinions on the internet”, he added mockingly: “You thought female Uighurs had it bad. You haven’t talked to Taylor Lorenz.”

The Times responded in a statement on Wednesday: “In a now familiar move, Tucker Carlson opened his show last night by attacking a journalist. It was a calculated and cruel tactic, which he regularly deploys to unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol at his intended target.

“Taylor Lorenz is a talented New York Times journalist doing timely and essential reporting. Journalists should be able to do their jobs without facing harassment.”

But a Fox News spokesperson replied that “no public figure or journalist is immune to legitimate criticism of their reporting, claims or journalistic tactics”.

And Carlson doubled down on his attacks for a second night on Wednesday.

After berating Lorenz again, Carlson dismissed The Times’ statement as “amusing”.

He then spoke to conservative commentator Sean Davis, of The Federalist, who ridiculed Lorenz’s work – which has been praised as “contextualis[ing] the internet as we live it” – and sought to disparage her journalism in a series of comments labelled “reckless and defamatory” in a comment retweeted by Lorenz.

Carlson’s series of attacks drew condemnation, anger and concern on social media.

And as Fox News rages against Hasbro’s plans for a gender-neutral Potato Head and Dr Seuss’s publisher’s decision to stop printing some of works which contained racism, some found Carlson’s attack somewhat confusing.

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