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In the wake of the 2018 midterms, the national conversation almost immediately reverted back to the civility debate that overtook the country this summer—this time after protesters went to Tucker Carlson’s house.
The Fox News host said last week that protesters surrounded his D.C. home, and in an account to the Washington Post, said that his wife was so terrified she hid in a pantry and called 911.
Carlson’s version of the story spread across the internet, prompting Twitter to suspend Smash Racism DC, the organization that led the protest. Numerous figures in media decried the behavior of the protesters, whom Carlson said cracked his door. Fox even decided to protest Twitter over its failure to suspend accounts that shared his home address.
Despite the fact that Carlson’s account was immediately challenged by protesters who were present, the narrative that an out-of-control mob was about to run over Carlson’s house persisted.
Until yesterday, when it got ripped apart with a viral thread by Rebecca Kavanagh, an attorney with Legal Aid NYC.
In it, she challenges Carlson’s account of violence at his home, noting how no arrests where made, and that the protesters willingly brought along neutral observers to ensure the protest didn’t violate any laws and were properly exercising their First Amendment rights.
First, the police interacted w/ the protestors as they were leaving & they didn't arrest anyone.— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) November 11, 2018
They actually saw the person spray-paint the anarchist symbol on the driveway.
The protestors were walking away slowly. Two walked with canes (yes). No one tried to run.
BTW there were 4 legal observers at this protest. People going to someone's house to break in, don't usually take legal observers.— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) November 11, 2018
The police talked to the protestors about not having a problem w/ them exercising their first amendment rights but that spray-painting the driveway was crossing the line. That was the issue.— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) November 11, 2018
If the police had received a frantic 911 call from Mrs. Carlson saying she was terrified, had locked herself in her pantry & people were trying to break into her house, there is no way that the police would have let the protestors go. They would have made arrests.— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) November 11, 2018
They would have sent so many squad cars to that location if she represented what was happening in that way. Police tend to over-react. They didn't here. That tells me Mrs. Carlson did not call & say she was being terrorized.— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) November 11, 2018
In the police report, there is no mention whatsoever of any damage to the front door of Mr. Carlson's residence. Not a scratch. This is consistent w/ protestors' saying they simply knocked on the door and then left a placard resting on it before retreating to the street.— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) November 11, 2018
That Carlson may have embellished his story resonated with people who have known him over the past few years to stoke fears and grandstand on his nightly news shows.
Tucker Carleson, a professional liar, made up a bunch of lies about the protest at his house, and for some reason a bunch of people who should know better believed him, and didn’t even bother to check the police report https://t.co/Gb8EO7KAF0— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) November 12, 2018
Those initial reports about protesters at Tucker Carlson's house that had liberals and "neutral" media wringing their hands? They were lies. https://t.co/QEiT2JYJjJ— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) November 11, 2018
Like most humans capable of empathy, I denounced this "attack" on his home. I assumed even he wouldn't lie about this. It turns out that Carlson, like most Republicans in the Trump era, made it all up for the most part. https://t.co/R8SFAkURMs— Darian Kovach (@dariankovach) November 12, 2018
One further question: why did the media instinctively believe Tucker Carlson, who literally lies on television every single day? https://t.co/XBMeM5nxu6— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 12, 2018
Completely shocking that @TuckerCarlson, a known provocateur, lied and embellished this incident at his house. I'm sure it will be found out that he also lied and escalated the restaurant incident. Don't take him seriously his actions daily show the person that he is. https://t.co/CwNBsAJlb7— Clinton Scoles (@Clinton_Scoles) November 12, 2018
Meanwhile, Carlson is facing even more drama online, after attorney Michael Avenatti released a video of an altercation Carlson had with a man at a country club in October, where he’s seen cursing at him.
Carlson released a statement about his own version of the country club incident, saying the man had directed a sexually graphic insult at his daughter.
Perhaps now, though, his explanation deserves to be taken with a grain of a salt.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]