The vile sentiments that Neff left on AutoAdmit are difficult to abridge, so here’s a swath of the CNN story:
Just this week, the writer, Blake Neff, responded to a thread started by another user in 2018 with the subject line, “Would u let a JET BLACK congo n****er do lasik eye surgery on u for 50% off?” Neff wrote, “I wouldn’t get LASIK from an Asian for free, so no.” (The subject line was not censored on the forum.) On June 5, Neff wrote, “Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down.” On June 24, Neff commented, “Honestly given how tired black people always claim to be, maybe the real crisis is their lack of sleep.” On June 26, Neff wrote that the only people who care about changing the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins are “white libs and their university-'educated' pets.”
That’s not all. According to CNN, Neff used his posting handle “CharlesXII” to layer his racism with sexist attacks, including one against a woman he called an “Azn megashrew.” The posting mutated into a string of nearly 1,000 comments using vulgar and sexist language about the woman. Carlson himself has a sordid record of sexist commentary and behavior.
Nor did Neff ring-fence his hateful thoughts on AutoAdmit, according to the story. Darcy reports that the very same sentiments expressed by Neff on the forum also showed up on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” For instance, a poster on AutoAdmit denounced the racism on the forum in explaining why they were abandoning it. CharlesXII responded with this blast: "LMAO if you think this s[---] will save you when the mob comes for you. Good riddance.” The previous week, Carlson had used that same language in criticizing the alleged overreach of the Black Lives Matter protests. “This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will,” said Carlson. (Fox News later issued a clarification that Carlson was referring to Democratic leaders, not protesters.)
Darcy wrote that CNN on Thursday night contacted Neff about the postings via email, which was forwarded to Fox News’s PR operation. Neff himself didn’t respond to “multiple requests for comment,” according to CNN.
The scandal gets worse for Carlson. As it happens, Neff recently did an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine in which he discussed his progression from jobs at The Hill, to the Daily Caller (which was co-founded by Carlson himself) and then Fox News.
“Anything he’s reading off the teleprompter, the first draft was written by me,” says Neff. Initially he talked to Carlson every day about what to cover, but during the past three and a half years, “I’ve gotten used to what he likes and what he thinks about.” It helps that he and Carlson see eye to eye on most issues.
Boldface added to highlight a possibly unintentional indictment of Neff and Carlson.
While he worked under Carlson’s tutelage at the Daily Caller, Neff’s beat was putatively education, though the real focus was white grievance. Here, for example, is a piece about the successes of racial profiling by German police. Here’s a piece about the rewriting of Christmas carols “to shame white people.” Here’s a piece on a Democrat saying the party doesn’t need white people in party leadership. There’s plenty more such material in Neff’s Daily Caller archive.
When it comes to Tucker Carlson, the Daily Caller and racism, a trend story is at hand. The in-depth reporting on Neff’s apparent online postings, after all, mark the third time that a staffer at the site has been busted for after-hours racism. As this blog first reported in 2017, reporter Chuck Ross had posted racist and misogynistic thoughts on a blog, though he renounced and apologized for them. The Atlantic in 2018 exposed the pseudonymous racist and sexist rantings of another Daily Caller staffer, Scott Greer, on an alt-right website. In both cases, Carlson told this blog that he was unaware of the online hatred.
An important detail: Ross, Greer and Neff all came aboard the Daily Caller while Carlson served as its top editorial official. In late 2016, however, he relinquished those duties when he accepted a prime-time spot at Fox News. (He recently sold his stake in the site.) In November 2018, the Erik Wemple Blog interviewed Carlson, who slipped into a defensive crouch when confronted about these matters. We feel compelled to provide a lengthy excerpt:
Wemple: Did you ever read Chuck Ross’s writings before you hired him at the Daily Caller?Carlson: No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.Wemple: Well, I asked you this, too, a few weeks ago. I wrote about Chuck Ross. He had these racist writings —Carlson: Yeah, but it wasn’t in the paper.Wemple: — in the blog, in his blog, and then he was hired at the Daily Caller when you were there. Did you ever read any of that? Did those writings serve as a qualification for him in any way?Carlson: Yeah, I mean, I think you know as well as I that a) I don’t supervise the Daily Caller or have any role in his management whatsoever and haven’t in over a year, per my contract here at Fox. So I had no role in the response to those blog posts that he apparently wrote. I have no knowledge beyond what you just said. My understanding is that all of those were unearthed later, and I think that you would know that, too. And so your question isn’t so much a question; it’s an attempt to tar me once again —Wemple: No, it’s an actual question.Carlson: — with views I don’t hold. So why don’t we just skip the middleman here and get right to it? Why don’t you ask me a series of actual questions about what I think or don’t think and I’ll tell you? Would that be easier? Because you’re trying to suggest that I’m a secret racist who like, is friends with David Duke, or, he likes me, therefore it’s my fault somehow. Or someone I once hired — who by the way is an excellent reporter — wrote awful things on an anonymous blog post years ago. And that, as you put it, might have been a qualification for me hiring him? You know what I mean?Wemple: Well, he went straight from writing white supremacy posts to going to full-time employment at the Daily Caller.Carlson: I think it kind of goes without saying that I didn’t know anything about that. Maybe it doesn’t go without saying. Let me just say: I had no idea that Chuck Ross had written anything like that. Chuck Ross is a totally straight and excellent reporter — or was when he worked for me.Wemple: Right. Well that’s all I wanted to know, whether you knew about it.Carlson: I guess what bothers me is, you’re again trying to use something that I knew nothing about to try and tar me. And I’m inviting you, for the fourth time, to ask me direct questions about what I think. You’re looking for witches, and I’m telling you, if I’m practicing witchcraft, I’ll admit it. So why don’t you just ask me? Pick five topics and I’ll answer the question as honestly as I possibly can. Wouldn’t that just be easier? Instead of going through this whole like childish, “Someone who worked for you once wrote something naughty online — did you know?” It’s like, I don’t know, why [don’t] you just ask me what I think?
Boldface inserted to highlight a key point: Of course Carlson wouldn’t cop to harboring racist thoughts. His innovation lies in finessing the hatred, like the segment in which Carlson slammed the idea that diversity is an American forte. Or the segment in which Carlson said that immigration made the country “dirtier.” Or the segment in which Carlson alleged that the Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was “living proof” that U.S. immigration laws are “dangerous.” Or the segment in which Carlson claimed that white supremacy was a “hoax.”
Thanks to Darcy’s exposé, the public can now view that mindset in its raw, repugnant format, spelled out under the cover of a pseudonym on a website.
Many companies have abandoned “Tucker Carlson Tonight” over its divisive message, to the point that the show’s ad revenue rests uncomfortably on My Pillow, the company run by Fox News friend Mike Lindell. Yet Fox News gets most of its revenue from cable subscriber fees. And Carlson is popular with viewers, having tallied a record 4.3 million viewers in the second quarter of 2020.
Which brings us to Fox News: What does it have to say about all of this? In a memo to colleagues on Saturday, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President/Executive Editor Jay Wallace acknowledged that Neff had “made horrendous and deeply offensive racist, sexist and homophobic comments under a pseudonym on the forum AutoAdmit.” More: “FOX News Media strongly condemns this horrific racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior. Neff’s abhorrent conduct on this forum was never divulged to the show or the network until Friday, at which point we swiftly accepted his resignation. Make no mistake, actions such as his cannot and will not be tolerated at any time in any part of our work force.”
What the note omits is the overlap between those AutoAdmit comments and the content of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” So even though this “abhorrent conduct” was “never divulged to the show,” this very conduct was a feature of the show. The memo notes that Carlson will address the matter on Monday night.
Meaning, Tucker Carlson remains in good standing.
The postings by Neff aren’t a matter just for Fox News. This development is sufficiently atrocious to warrant leadership from its parent company, Fox Corp., and its Executive Chairman/CEO Lachlan Murdoch. What do they say about this episode? We’ve asked and will update with any comment. We also checked in with Carlson and got no response, though he said this on his Friday night show: “So, we’re in a situation where it’s really individuals against the mob, online, other news organizations, CNN particularly. How can people stand up to the mob and prevail?”
Efforts to secure a comment from Neff were unsuccessful.
The attempt of Fox News to somehow establish a distinction between the conduct of Blake Neff and that of Tucker Carlson cannot be allowed to stand. As Neff told his own alumni magazine, after all, the two saw the world the same way. But if folks like Scott and Wallace won’t denounce the entire enterprise of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” who will? Is Chris Wallace available? Bret Baier? Martha MacCallum, Sandra Smith, Harris Faulkner, John Roberts? Those are some of the prominent names on the so-called news side of the network. They have the choice of either speaking up or acquiescing to the white nationalism broadcast on Fox News each weekday night.
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