This week was International Women’s Day, a global effort designed to focus attention on women’s rights and the challenges they face. Many news organizations and politicians, paid tribute to the achievements of women and highlighted the problems that sexism continues to pose.
However, on Fox News, Tucker Carlson took a different tack. Instead, the right-wing media anchor marked the celebration of women by dizzyingly harassing a female journalist, spending his time attacking New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz.
For two nights, Carlson, who has a history of berating female journalists, dedicated his mix of false outrage and evoked accusations of media bias to Lorenz, who in her role as a technology reporter has been the target of threats for the past year.
But those hoping for a change of tune from Carlson will likely be disappointed. Carlson’s target of Lorenz followed a long pattern of his behavior towards women journalists.
This week, Carlson appeared to have been provoked after Lorenz tweeted that on Women’s Day people should “consider supporting women who are bullied online.”
“It is not an exaggeration to say that the campaign of harassment and defamation that I had to endure during the last year has destroyed my life. No one should have to go through this, ”Lorenz said, in a seemingly reasonable request.
However, there was no support from Carlson.
“Did it destroy his life?” Carlson said on his late-night Fox News show. “Actually? By most people’s standards, Taylor Lorenz seems to have a pretty good life, one of the best in the country, in fact.”
He then agreed to other women just in case, claiming that Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Meghan Markle had pretended to be victims. Lorenz, Carlson added, is “much younger” and “much less talented” than other Times reporters, yet according to Carlson, she has a place “at the top of the nasty food chain of journalism.”
Carlson’s tirade came a day after the International Women’s Media Foundation announced that it had started a new resource center for journalists subject to online abuse. In a 2018 survey the IWMF said that 63% of female journalists said they had been harassed online, and 40% said they had avoided reporting certain stories because of it.
The Times, in a statement Wednesday, said Carlson’s attack on Lorenz “was a calculated and cruel tactic, which he regularly uses to unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol against his target.”
That statement seemed only to goad Carlson.
“There is a lot of real harassment out there. This is not, ” Carlson said on his show Wednesday. “The people who run the New York Times believe that anyone who disagrees with them is committing an assault.”
This is not new to the conservative host. In October last year, NBC News complained that Carlson had “encouraged harassment” of journalist Brandy Zadrozny, who had written about social media companies banning QAnon and the right wing. conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Carlson invited former Donald Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie to his show, and Beattie ridiculed Zadrozny for his reporting, claiming he was using “this term ‘disinformation’ as a pretext to go after Trump supporters and destroy their lives. “.
Carlson didn’t rebut Beattie, instead asking, “Why would NBC be doing something like this?”
Carlson also lashed out at then-Teen Vogue columnist Lauren Duca multiple times in 2017, after she appeared on his show to defend her. comments about Ivanka Trump being an accessory to her father’s agenda. In that interview, Carlson repeatedly spoke about Duca and attacked his work, before becoming nervous after Duca called it a “partisan hack.”
Carlson ended the segment by poking fun at a story Duca had previously written about Ariana Grande’s thigh high boots. He then said to Duca, “You should stick to thigh-high boots. You’re better at it. “
Carlson’s Fox News program, Tucker Carlson Tonight, is among the most viewed programs on cable news, despite threats from new right-wing cable channels like NewsMax, which gave him enormous influence in conservative politics and a sympathetic audience.
In a statement on the Lorenz saga, Fox News said: “No public figure or journalist is immune from legitimate criticism of his reports, claims or journalistic tactics.”
But even before Carlson was propelled into the Fox News primetime lineup, he had a troubling history of sexist comments, including the time he he asked on the Fox News morning show, Fox and friends: “Are women holding bread a recipe for discord within the home?”
In 2019, it emerged that Carlson had described women as “extremely primitive” and “like dogs” in a radio appearance years earlier, suggesting that their attitudes may have been around for some time.
It’s not just women in journalism who have drawn Carlson’s ire.
On Wednesday, after subjecting Lorenz to further criticism, Carlson focused on the military, ridiculing Joe Biden’s ad that the Armed Forces had created specific uniforms for women, designed flight suits for pregnant women, and updated hairstyling requirements.
“So we have new hairstyles and maternity flight suits,” Carlson told his viewers. “Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the American military. “
Carlson’s comments motivated a quick reaction of the United States Army and others.
When asked about the Fox News host’s discontent, a Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, said the military still has “a lot of work to do” to be “more inclusive, more respectful of everyone, especially women.”
“We promise to do better, and we will,” Kirby said.
“What we will not do at all is take the personal advice of a talk show host or the Chinese military. Perhaps these people feel they have something to prove. That’s about them. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism