The text that allegedly led to Tucker Carlson's firing

Tucker Carlson sent a racist text message that "set off a panic at the highest levels of Fox" and ultimately led to his firing, The New York Times reported Tuesday. But the abhorrent racism Carlson put on display should not have surprised anyone at Fox.

After all, Carlson openly employed white nationalist rhetoric on his Fox News program for years. Groups like the Anti-Defamation League, GLAAD and Black Lives Matter repeatedly warned Fox executives and pleaded with the network to take action, all to no avail.

In the January 2021 text message first reported by The Times and later confirmed by CNN, Carlson wrote to a producer about an online video of a group of Trump supporters "pounding the living s**t" out of a protester. The text, which was redacted in court filings, was just one of several private conversations collected in the massive defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News.

"It was three against one, at least," Carlson wrote to the unidentified producer. "Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It's not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they'd hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it." Soon after, "an alarm went off" in his brain, Carlson added, telling his producer he realised he was "becoming something" he didn't "want to be."

While the message is jarring to read, regular viewers of Carlson's highly rated primetime show are unlikely to be taken aback.

Carlson's show was notorious for its anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric. For instance, Carlson proudly - and repeatedly - promoted on his program the Great Replacement theory, a fringe conspiracy embraced by the white supremacist community.

The toxic stream of hate that flowed each night from Tucker Carlson Tonight made the program anathema to advertisers, with blue chip companies boycotting the show.

It was not just advertisers who were well aware of Carlson's reprehensible rhetoric. His disturbing commentary, mainstreamed from the most extreme corners of the internet to Fox's millions of viewers, was repeatedly brought to the attention of the company's most senior executives in addition to advocacy groups like the ADL.

In fact, not only was Fox aware of the poison Carlson was injecting into the national dialogue, but its chief executive effectively said the company had no problem with it.

in a 2021 public statement, CEO Lachlan Murdoch defended Carlson, who was under fire for promoting the "Great Replacement" theory. Murdoch falsely claimed in a letter to the ADL that Carlson rejected the nonsense he spent night after night promoting.

On Tuesday, after The Times reported on Carlson's racist text message, ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt said, "What's not news is the fact that Tucker Carlson is a white nationalist. What is news is the fact that this somehow is surprising to anyone."

The newly revealed text from Carlson also carried a similar tone to the writings of his show's one-time top writer, Blake Neff, who prior to his 2020 firing had been praised by Carlson as a "wonderful" employee. Neff's termination came after CNN reported that he had been secretly posting racist and sexist remarks in an online forum.

Carlson responded to CNN's reporting at the time by appearing more outraged at his critics than the fact that his show's top writer engaged in a racist private life. Carlson addressed the incident by assailing the "ghouls that are beating their chest in triumph at the destruction" of Neff.
Both Fox News and Carlson are silent now.

A spokesperson for Fox declined to comment on the January 2021 text message. And when CNN asked Carlson for comment, the former Fox news host did not respond.