JOE DiBACCO ’19
Yesterday Nov. 14, Tucker Carlson, a Trinity graduate from the Class of 1992, began his own nightly segment on Fox News Channel. Carlson will be inheriting the primetime show “On The Record” from Brit Hume, who served as the show’s interim host for the past two months. Hume was filling in for long-time Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, who parted ways with Fox after a contract dispute. The show’s new name will be “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Trinity, Carlson started his career as an editor of “Policy Review,” a right-wing journal whose publisher was the Heritage Foundation. Subsequently, he reported for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and The Weekly Standard. Among the magazines and newspapers Carlson has written for are Reader’s Digest, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and The Daily Beast. Carlson’s first television gig was at CNN. He appeared on “The Spin Room” alongside Bill Press. This made Carlson CNN’s youngest anchor in its history. Some time after that, he was made a co-host of the CNN program “Crossfire.” What’s more, he also hosted his own weekly show on PBS called “Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered.”
Carlson resigned from CNN just before the network announced it was canceling “Crossfire,” claiming CNN was “a frustrating place to work.” Shortly thereafter, Carlson began a new show called Tucker on MSNBC, but it had not been on for three seasons when it was canceled as a result of low ratings. In May 2009, Carlson made the move to Fox as a news contributor. For a few years, he was repeatedly invited as a guest on the shows of Greg Gutfeld (“Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld”) and Bret Baier (“Special Report With Bret Baier”), and worked as a substitute host on Hannity. In April 2013 he replaced Dave Briggs as a co-host on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” with Alisyn Camerota and Clayton Morris. Carlson is also the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Caller, a political news website that he founded with Neil Patel.
Now, Carlson has ascended to the position of primetime show host on the most-watched cable news network in America. No one from Fox News has come forward with the reasoning behind the decision to give Carlson his own segment, but many people are pointing to his relationship with Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox. Correspondents from various newspapers across the country are positing that Carlson is one of Murdoch’s favorites, and that Murdoch was all too thrilled to give Carlson his own show.
The Tripod interviewed Will Snape IV ‘18, who lives close to Carlson and knows him well. Asked what his thoughts were on why Carlson was given his own show, Snape spoke to Carlson’s work ethic and passion. On Carlson’s willingness to speak his mind about any subject, Snape asserted, “He demonstrated that time and time again in his numerous guest appearances on cable news, and on The Daily Caller.” Snape is referring to Tucker Carlson’s bold on-air personality and his affinity for spirited debate. Carlson has been known to ruffle a few feathers and happily take on any challengers. On “Crossfire” in October 2004, Carlson engaged with “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart after Stewart claimed “Crossfire” was “hurting America.” What followed was about 14 minutes of some pretty offensive rhetoric as Stewart and Carlson tried to undermine and disparage each other. Per Carlson’s recollection of that night, his debate with Stewart was so heated that Stewart remained at the CNN studio hours after the show’s ending to continue the discussion started during the segment.
The Tripod’s Campbell North ‘17 got to know Carlson during her time as an intern at “The Daily Caller.” She said Carlson was cordial and interested in talking to all his interns. Once, he reminisced about Campus Pizza, a Broad Street favorite of Trinity students before it fell victim to a fire this summer. The lasting impression North has of Carlson is that despite being a very busy man, he always found the time to touch base with his interns and see how they were doing. “The fact that he took this time was impressive given his busy schedule. Besides founding and running “The Daily Caller” with Neil, Carlson was in New York City every weekend for a “Fox and Friends” spot in addition to being a regular Fox News contributor and a political pundit in general,” said North.
Neil Patel, the publisher and co-founder of “The Daily Caller,” is a Trinity alumnus who was Carlson’s roommate while they were undergraduates.
In a Tripod article from September 2006 on Carlson’s appearance on “Dancing With The Stars,” it was said that as a student, Carlson loved igniting debates in class by making bold statements he knew would rile up his classmates. The writer of the article, Andrew Bryson ‘09, added, “these comments were not necessarily his opinions but were said in order to spark emotion in whomever he was debating with.” Per Bryson’s article, former Trinity President James Jones had a conversation with Carlson at an event put on by late Trinity graduate Raymond Joslin ‘58. When asked about him, President Jones said, “Tucker is acutely intelligent, very sharp rhetorically, and established an immediate relationship with the students who were in the seminar room.”
Though Carlson took five years to earn a B.A. in History – there is no question that he has always been a skilled orator and fierce verbal jouster. His experience in print and television journalism make him an ideal host for a primetime show on Fox.