“They’d call it criminal behavior if we did it,” Tucker Carlson declared last night, “and that tells you everything.” Indeed it would — if the New York Times plans to release Carlson’s home address in an upcoming story. Carlson accused the paper of preparing to doxx him in order to intimidate him off the air and out of the public square. How would they feel if the tables were turned, Carlson wondered.
He might not have to wait long to find out:
Tucker responds to intrusive reporting by The New York Times. pic.twitter.com/xj4z69G9cA
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) July 21, 2020
Carlson and his family were forced to move out of their Washington DC-area home two years ago after Antifa protesters found out where he lived, Carlson explained:
Two years ago, a left-wing journalist publicized our home address in Washington. A group of screaming antifa lunatics showed up while I was at work. They vandalized our home. They threatened my wife. She called 911 while hiding in a closet. A few weeks later they showed up again at our house. For the next year, they sent letters to our home threatening to kill us. We tried to ignore it and felt cowardly to sell our home and leave. We raised our kids there in the neighborhood and we loved it. But in the end that’s what we did. We have four children. It just wasn’t worth it.
But The New York Times followed us. 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. Their story about where we live is slated to run the paper this week. Editors there know exactly what will happen to my family when it does run. I called them today and I told them. But they didn’t care. They hate my politics. They want they show off the air. If one of my children gets hurt because of a story they wrote, they won’t considered it collateral damage, they know it’s the whole point of the exercise: To inflict pain on our family, to terrorize us, to control what we say. That’s the kind of people they are.
Carlson hinted that he might fight fire with fire this time around:
They’ll deny this of course, they’ll say it’s just journalism, just the facts. Really? 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? What if we publicized the home address of everyone of the soulless robot editors at The New York Times who assigned and manage this incitement to violence against my family? What about the media editor, Jim Windolf? We could do that. We know who they are. Would that qualify as journalism? We doubt they’d consider it journalism. They’d call it criminal behavior if we did it and that tells you everything.
We’ll get back to that in a moment. But did the New York Times plan to doxx Carlson in the first place? In a statement shortly after the broadcast, the paper denied that it plans to publish where Carlson lives, and also said that Carlson knew that before he went on the air:
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) July 21, 2020
Is that an unequivocal denial? Meghan McCain doesn’t think so, pointing out that newspapers don’t have to publish a precise address to doxx someone:
This is extremely dangerous and a weird new norm. Even printing his neighborhood or building or home area is really dangerous. Why people feel comfortable doing this to people with whom their politics they hate is sick. It is the most violating thing in the entire world. https://t.co/hI67GEcaYq
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 21, 2020
Right now, it sounds like a pair of competing claims, but that might be moot. By this morning, the Washington Post reported that Carlson’s viewers had already turned the tables on the NYT’s reporter:
On Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson made a surprising accusation: the New York Times, he said, was trying to endanger him and his family by revealing where they live in an upcoming story. As he lambasted the newspaper on-air, Carlson suggested that his prime-time show could expose the home addresses of the reporter and Times editors.
Within hours, an army of conservative Twitter accounts started publicly posting the address and personal information of the reporter Carlson identified as the story’s writer. Many encouraged people to harass the reporter.
In a statement to The Washington Post, a spokesperson for the Times denied Carlson’s claims.
“While we do not confirm what may or may not publish in future editions, the Times has not and does not plan to expose any residence of Tucker Carlson’s, which Carlson was aware of before tonight’s broadcast,” the spokesperson said. The spokesperson declined to comment further when asked about the reporter’s doxing.
The Post makes this sound as though Carlson cooked up the doxxing story to distract from two separate scandal stories, one involving a fired staffer and racist past postings, and the other a sexual harassment suit against Fox News. That seems a rather unlikely explanation, since it won’t actually distract anyone in the media from those stories anyway. I mean, really; the Post makes it clear in this very story that they’re going to include those allegations in everything they write about Carlson. Does anyone think other media outlets will drop those stories to cover this one, or use them all together to make it more viral?
Oh, let’s not always see the same hands.
Perhaps a better explanation is that Carlson got wind of some questions the reporter has been asking and decided to pre-empt any attempt to doxx him by warning the paper up front about it. And not just warn against the doxxing, but also to issue a thinly veiled threat to respond in kind. After getting chased out of his previous residence, one could understand why Carlson might be a little sensitive to that possibility. If it turns out to be false, then Carlson owes the NYT an apology and a retraction, but perhaps first we should ask the NYT to lay its cards on the table — including the kind of questions their reporter was asking.
In the meantime, for everyone else, let’s remember that doxxing is bad, mm-kay? It’s not journalism when the NYT does it, and it’s not journalism when randos on social media do it, either. Tucker can take care of himself.