On Monday’s episode of his Fox New show, Tucker Carlson was very mad at MSNBC host Joe Scarborough for saying Fox News hosts go out of their way to spread misinformation. But during his rebuttal, Tucker appeared to suggest that a false accusation of murder against Scarborough might have some sort of basis. (It absolutely doesn’t.)
During a longer rant that touched on things like efforts by Democrats pass a new anticorruption law, which Tucker claims is a plot to “stifle” conservatives, and the unkind things critics say about Fox News, Tucker advanced the point that critics of Fox News are “stupid” and wrong.” But, he warned his viewers, their ideas might still prevail and “we should be worried when large numbers of people say irrational things.”
As an example of a thing Tucker considers irrational, he played a recent MSNBC clip featuring Scarborough, who talked about a Fox guest that baselessly claimed that Democrats want to “exterminate” Republicans, and suggested Fox advertisers might want to pay attention.
That’s when Tucker rebutted that “irrational” idea with the following: “So how honest do you want to be here? The man you just saw has been accused in public, by the President of the United States, of murdering a young woman. Not many cable news hosts can say that. Now, we’re not taking a position on Joe Scarborough’s guilt or innocence in that case. We’re not a law enforcement agency. It’s not our place to do that.”
Now, Tucker was careful to make it clear he isn’t pronouncing that Scarborough is guilty of murder. Which is good, because the accusation Tucker is referring to is completely false.
So what happened is that Lori Klausutis, a woman who worked for Scarborough when he was a U.S. Representative in Florida, died in Scarborough’s Fort Walton Beach office in 2001. Her death was an accident, the result of an undiagnosed heart condition that caused her to faint and injure her head. Scarborough was in Washington, D.C. when she died, and police have never suspected foul play. In short, there is no mystery surrounding her death, it was just an unfortunate tragedy. Which means even if Tucker was a law enforcement agency, it wouldn’t be his place to wonder about Scarborough’s innocence or guilt.
But in 2020, Donald Trump responded to harsh criticism from Scarborough by advancing the baseless conspiracy theory that Scarborough killed Klausutis. He even insisted that he believes Scarborough “got away with murder.” This is, again, just a flat lie, told by the most powerful person in the country to smear a critic.
So after bringing up this baseless lie about Scarborough — which, to be clear, he said he wasn’t taking a position on — Tucker continued, saying: “But one thing we did not do, and would never do, is go on TV to demand that because Joe Scarborough was accused of violence by a politician, American companies should not be allowed to sell their products to his viewers.”
“Doing that never even occurred to us, not for a second,” Tucker said before appearing to imply yet again that Trump’s lie might have merit. “We’re not fascists. Or for that matter, middle aged performers running away from their consciences. We’re Americans. We believe people we disagree with should still be allowed to talk in public.”
Like we said, Trump’s accusation was a lie. Scarborough did not commit murder and has never been a murder suspect. Still, it’s weird that Tucker didn’t seem to know that. Then again, in 2020 a judge ruled that Tucker Carlson has no credibility, and that viewers should not expect him to discuss “actual facts” on his show.