In a GQ profile, writer Stephen Rodrick questions Fox News host Tucker Carlson about a certain blogger who once questioned the host’s demagoguery regarding two teenage immigrants who’d been charged with rape which allegedly took place at Rockville High School. The charges were later dropped, creating an embarrassment for Carlson, who’d slathered the airwaves with proclamations premised on their guilt.
In response to Rodrick’s prodding, Carlson responds:
When the charges against the boys were dropped, Erik Wemple, a media reporter for The Washington Post, asked Carlson if he planned to do an on-air apology. He never did. “Tucker is always looking to arrange facts and rumors to make it appear far more egregious than it ever was,” Wemple said, “and that’s just his game. He’s a great polemical gladiator.” When I ask Carlson about Wemple, he deflects with a dose of Tucker Disassociation Syndrome: “Erik Wemple? I don’t know the name. I don’t think Erik Wemple is a real name.”
With that outburst, Carlson raises profound questions about the ethics of his program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” In February, someone with the name “Erik Wemple” appeared on the program for a high-minded discussion about coverage of the 2016 presidential race, Russian propaganda efforts, media criticism and high-pitched chuckling.
Now Carlson is admitting to a major glossy magazine that he’s unsure that a guest on his program was properly identified. We don’t even need to check in with the Poynter Institute to cite the botched ethics at play here.