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Opinion ‘We know where you live, beware’: The 911 call of a household put on blast by Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson speaks Monday night on his Fox News show. (Screengrab via Tucker Carlson/Twitter/Fox News)

When a cable-news host such as Tucker Carlson decides to attack a previously low-profile person on his highly rated Fox News show, the effect is immediate. That’s one takeaway from a 911 transcript obtained by the Erik Wemple Blog showcasing the panic inside the household of Tristan Spinski, a freelance photographer in Maine who was assigned to a New York Times story about Carlson’s life in the state, where he spends several months each year.

The 911 transcript comes from the night of July 20, when Carlson disclosed on air that the New York Times was working on a story “about where my family and I live.” Carlson identified the freelancers who were working on the feature story: “The paper has assigned a political activist called Murray Carpenter to write a story about where we are now. They’ve hired a photographer called Tristan Spinski to take pictures.”

The Times made clear to Fox News that it wouldn’t dox Carlson in the pending story, either by publishing his address or a photograph of his house. Yet Carlson still managed to intimate that such a privacy invasion was afoot: “So how would Murray Carpenter and his photographer, Tristan Spinski, feel if we told you where they live? If we put pictures of their homes on the air?”

Though “Tucker Carlson Tonight” didn’t take those steps, it didn’t need to. Others picked up where Carlson left off, as reported previously in this blog. The threats against the two freelancers came via email, voice mail, etc.

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The 911 transcript adds contour to the story, as it depicts the victims of Carlson’s dangerous speculation trying to make sense of a sudden spurt of hostility at their doorstep on an otherwise quiet summer night. The call arrived at the Lincoln County facility at 9:57 p.m., just about an hour after Carlson’s blast. “It’s been some loud banging noise downstairs and some threats coming to the house recently just in the past hour,” says Spinski’s brother-in-law on the call transcript, which you can read in full here. “I mean there’s the call and the voicemail saying we know where you live, beware and things of that nature.”

After the dispatcher asks about the threats, Spinski’s brother-in-law responds, “Yeah just recently, it’s my brother-in-law is a journalist and a news source posted his name on uh Tucker Carlson show and his address and things of that nature so he has um been getting threats all night long.” Spinski himself jumps in on the call with the dispatcher, explaining, “There is definitely people (muffled voices) on our property,” he tells the dispatcher (parentheses in original transcript). “Yeah there was a definite, we can feel our house when someone is trying to get into it downstairs. It was significant,” Spinski says.

The occupants of the house — Spinski, his wife and his brother-in-law — were “locked” in an upstairs room during the ordeal, Spinski tells the dispatcher. “I am not going to poke my head out you know,” he says.

An official with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office told this blog in July that he could neither confirm nor deny the office’s involvement in the incident.

As for Spinski himself, he has stepped back from his work since his unexpected mention on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” He surely won’t be participating in any project on Carlson. “I’m apolitical in my work, and this has politicized my role in some ways,” he says. “I can’t photog a story that I’m a part of, if that makes sense.”

The Times has yet to publish the story assigned to Carpenter and Spinski.

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson is gaslighting viewers about protests against racism and police brutality, but the movement's basic truths are undeniable. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Salwan Georges/TWP, Michael S. Williamson TWP/The Washington Post)