Vandalism at the D.C. residence of Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Erik Wemple Blog)
Media critic

After protesters gathered last Wednesday night at his D.C. residence, Fox News host Tucker Carlson gave an interview to The Post in which he floated a highly disturbing detail: “Someone started throwing himself against the front door and actually cracked the front door.”

There was plenty to abhor about this protest, and many folks across the political spectrum did just that. The protesters chanted creepy messages such as “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!” And there was vandalism to Carlson’s driveway in the form of a spray-painted anarchy symbol.

As for that crack in the door, the search for corroborating evidence continues. The day after the protest, the Erik Wemple Blog and colleague Drew Goins visited the home, documenting the spray-painted vandalism and taking a close look at the front door. It seemed sturdy and fully intact. A woman who answered a knock looked it up and down and appeared to conclude it was in fine shape. It appeared to close snugly.

Furthermore: Alan Pyke, who witnessed the event, wrote on ThinkProgress:

One of the protesters knocked firmly on Carlson’s front door three times then trotted back down the steps to join the rest of the group in the street. This person did not throw their body against the door, as Carlson has claimed to newspapers.

As noted by this blog last week, there’s no mention in the police report of a damaged door, though it does mention the driveway symbol.

Several attempts by this blog to secure corroboration from Carlson himself have proved fruitless. In response to the last request, Carlson seemed miffed that we’d even checked in the first place: “Are you going to come back and illegally trespass on my property again?”

Many folks have taken the cracked-door claim at face value, including USA Today: “Antifa protesters chant outside Fox’s Tucker Carlson’s home, break door,” reads a headline on the protest. On his Fox News program, host Sean Hannity said of the incident: “His wife, home alone, having to barricade herself inside the house and calling the police. But not before the mob literally cracked his front door, throwing themselves against it, vandalizing his driveway … with spray paint, shouting threatening messages over a bullhorn.”

Thanks to a Daily Caller interview, we now know that this group includes President Trump. Here’s a transcripted snippet from the session:

THE DAILY CALLER: Tucker Carlson had his house attacked, he had a mob outside of his house while his wife was home. They cracked the door — what is this violence? Where does it come from? Do you have a message for Tucker and his family?

POTUS: I do, I spoke to Tucker and I think Tucker’s a great guy and I think it’s terrible, they were actually trying to break down the door.

THE DAILY CALLER: How do you think the police should handle Antifa, generally?

POTUS: These people, like the Antifa you’re talking about, the Antifa — they better hope that the opposition to Antifa decides not to mobilize. Because if they do, they’re much tougher. Much stronger. Potentially much more violent. And Antifa’s going to be in big trouble. But so far they haven’t done that, and that’s a good thing.

But they better hope that the other side doesn’t mobilize, you understand what I’m saying. Because if you look, the other side is the military, it’s the police, it’s a lot of very strong, a lot of very tough people. Tougher than them. And smarter than them. And they’re sitting back and watching and they’re getting angrier and angrier.

On one level, the Daily Caller and Trump are correct to seize on the detail about the door. The idea that protesters rammed a door hard enough to compromise it is chilling and terrifying. If true.

We asked Daily Caller Editor in Chief Geoffrey Ingersoll if his site had any evidence, aside from Carlson’s comments, to substantiate a cracked door. He responded that it did not. In response to this inquiry, Ingersoll changed a write-up of the interview to make clear that the claim rested on Carlson’s statements to The Post. (Carlson is a co-founder of the Daily Caller but announced his withdrawal from management duties there upon moving to a prime-time post at Fox News in late 2016.)

“Neither of those guys [Saagar Enjeti and Benny Johnson] did much reporting on Tucker’s incident, so they’re repeating what they heard him say. We believe Tucker Carlson as a matter of course here. There’s also dozens of ways to crack a door, so I’m not entirely sure a laymen’s superficial scan is enough to settle the matter,” noted Ingersoll in an email. “And isn’t it odd a ThinkProgress reporter seemed to be a part of this posse with complete foreknowledge of potentially criminal harrassment? You dropped the link here as evidence, Erik [Wemple Blog], and I think it’s worth a bit more scrutiny than the state of Tucker’s door.” ThinkProgress’s Pyke responded with a long statement that we’ll abridge this way: “This is a simple story, and it goes like this: I’m a reporter who got a tip and followed it. I wrote what I saw from across the street. Insinuations otherwise are a silly diversion from a simple question that Carlson could put to bed himself easily with a picture.”

Obviously, he doesn’t need to do that, considering how many people will take his claims at face value. The interview transcript reflects agreement on the matter from both the Daily Caller and Trump: Carlson’s door was broken, cracked by protesters. The claim, which is based on flimsy evidence, takes one more step toward annealed, common wisdom.

Read more:

Erik Wemple: Here’s the vandalism that protesters left at Tucker Carlson’s house

Letters to the Editor: Hounding Tucker Carlson at home is the wrong tack

Erik Wemple: Stop threatening Tucker Carlson