- Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Thursday that “every story” told of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and other victims of police brutality is “at its core” a lie.
- His remarks came on the same day that a federal judge dismissed a defamation case against Fox News, arguing that nobody takes Carlson seriously.
- Carlson made several claims about Floyd and Blake that omitted certain details.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
On the same day a federal judge dismissed a defamation case against Fox News, largely due to the network’s argument that nobody takes Tucker Carlson seriously, the primetime host said on national television that “every story” about police brutality victims is a lie.
“It’s hard to think clearly when things are on fire,” Carlson said Thursday night.
“If you wanted to keep the public from thinking clearly about what you plan to do to their country, you might riot and no one would notice that you’re lying,” he continued. “And they definitely have been lying. Every story we’ve been told for the past three months has been, at its core, a lie.”
Ironically, Carlson’s allegations of media dishonesty came just after Fox News won a defamation case in which Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil wrote that the network “persuasively argues” that “given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statements he makes.”
Carlson went on to misleadingly characterize the death of George Floyd, the Black man killed on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
“George Floyd was executed by racist cops on the street. That’s what they told us, that’s what everyone believed,” Carlson said. “Yet when the autopsy became public, it showed that George Floyd had lethal levels of fentanyl in his system, among other drugs. Floyd said he couldn’t breathe long before police landed on him as he was in fact sitting untouched in the back of a patrol car.”
Though the Hennepin County Medical Examiner told investigators Floyd had lethal levels of fentanyl in his system, the final autopsy also labeled Floyd’s death a homicide, saying it was caused by “law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
An independent autopsy report requested by Floyd’s family also concluded that Floyd died of asphyxiation and ruled his death a homicide.
All four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death are facing criminal charges.
Following his charges against Floyd, Carlson turned immediately to Jacob Blake, the Black man shot multiple times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August.
Carlson said police initially “tried nonlethal force to subdue him; they tased Blake. That didn’t work.”
“When they saw him reach for a knife, they shot him,” Carlson continued. “What else where they supposed to do exactly?”
A news release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice dated Aug. 26 said investigators found a knife on the floor of the vehicle that Blake was attempting to get into and “a search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.”
The lawyer representing the officer who fired the shots recently told CNN in an interview that Blake had been holding a knife and turning towards the officer, who opened fire. The widely viewed cellphone video of the shooting does not show the alleged movement, though Blake’s body can’t fully be seen behind the vehicle’s door.
A witness, Raysean White, told CNN he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hand, but he did hear officers tell Blake to “drop the knife.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
On Thursday, Fox News won a case in which former Playboy model Karen McDougal accused Carlson of defaming her on his show. Vyskocil dismissed the case on Thursday, saying “given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer” would be skeptical “about the statements he makes,” a court filing said.
McDougal said that Carlson on his show “accused her of extorting now-President Donald J. Trump out of approximately $150,000 in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair between Ms. McDougal and President Trump,” according to the filing.
Vyskocil wrote in her ruling that McDougal did not prove that Carlson’s remarks on his show were “statements of fact.”