If the “news” of decades-old audio of Carlson is so impactful why is MMFA not crowing about it?

Following the ginned up “outrage” from Media Matters For America towards Fox News personality Tucker Carlson there are signs the astroturf effort has not been as impactful as hoped. Following a protest staged at Fox News headquarters, that drew more press members than actual protestors, today sees another coordinated message going out.

In a piece put out this morning in the Washington Post there is a clear intent on minimizing the coordination behind the Carlson attempted hit, and it is both clear why, and amusing in that it proves the complicity at the same time. See, Tucker is being paranoid about there being an orchestrated mob hit on him (according to WaPo here) and to show that there is ZERO coordination with MMFA they conducted an interview — with Angelo Carusone, the President of MMFA.

Ummm…yea.

The effort to claim that there is no orchestration behind all the bilious reactions is right there in the headline; “Tucker Carlson says he’s the victim of a powerful bully. Meet the 24-year-old who found the tapes”. This would be Madeline Peltz, who works a night shift at MMFA. Carusone tries to minimize the effort of his outfit. “We took things that directly echo his show now, and things that had some relevancy [sic] today.”

As WaPo Sells it: “Peltz’s project was her idea, Carusone said. He said the organization decided to publish portions of what she had found after deciding it was relevant to understanding Carlson’s current political views.” Except things are not so innocent and serendipitous as they attempt to paint it. This was not some random millennial who posted a curious finding on their Instagram account.

The 24-year-old researcher developed a working theory, which she outlined on the nonprofit’s website: that Carlson is using his platform on Fox News to introduce white-nationalist ideas to the mainstream, making him a uniquely prominent “mouthpiece for white supremacy.

And this is not something she stumbled across. In a piece that Peltz wrote last fall for Talk Poverty, she detailed that she watches at least three hours of Fox News primetime, every night. She stated that she has watched Tucker for over a year, and that was in the piece posted last August. This means she has been watching Carlson diligently — nightly — for nearly two years. As she described her duties:

I do this as part of my job…What I actually do is track right-wing media and fringe outlets to hold bad actors accountable for their actions.

So let us dispense with this claim that this current outrage is the result of a some tremulous 20-something stumbling across stray MP3 files by accident. Madeline Peltz has been tasked specifically with monitoring Carlson, for years now. Her stated job description is to be a journalistic bounty hunter. She declares herself that she tracks these targets looking for bad actors, as per her job description.

This also does much to explain why the impact of these released recordings has not exactly set off richter scales in the overall media landscape. After years of nightly viewing and delving into digital archives, the most objectionable content has been shock-jock radio guest appearances from well over ten years ago.

It goes far to also explain why Carusone — and the willing Washington Post — are trying to downplay the presence of a coordinated attack. It also explains why the reaction has not netted the results desired. This effort followed the tired blueprint of MMFA. They made the tapes available, the press was made aware of them, the news outlets made a stink, and audiences were supposedly made to care.

But something happened on the way to the Fox News pundit committing self-immolation on television the following night — Tucker Carlson instead told the pitchfork and torches crowd to go micturate up a bowline. After five days now the cumulative effect of all of this manufactured controversy is less than stirring. There has been at least one sponsor to announce they have been cowed into pulling ads from his program.

 

A question for these corporate geldings who decided to pull their sponsorship: Considering we are talking about comments made not on this network, and uttered 11-13 years ago, what in your corporate ethics and standards policy made these comments unacceptable after 11-13 years-and-one-week ago?

It would make far more sense if Carlson had said these offenses (and yes, many of the culled soundbites are offensive) during his current show, and then they pulled their corporate support. But these were ribald comments he made on a radio show, over a decade ago, that invited such content, and the relevance to his current broadcast is tough to make.

One other question: If this was all just the work of a doe-eyed 24 year old, and not the calculated week-long effort by MMFA to rid the airwaves of a personality, how is it that the media outfit managed to schedule a protest outside of Fox News Yesterday, complete with pre-printed placards and a phalanx of media hounds? Sure doesn’t sound like this all was sprung on Carusone as a surprise discovery.

 

It also does not appear as if it delivered the desired response. Peering over the photos from the protest we are looking at about 2.5 members of the media to every protester on site. That is not exactly stirring up the masses to revolt. Oh well, hopefully for MMFA and the greater press pool some other innocent naif by happen across some other objectionable content very soon.