Trout Mask Replica Carlson takes “long-planned (4-day) vacation” – may it be like Bill-O's

Blake Neff, who bragged that he authored the first draft of Tucker Carlson’s programs, is gone and one can only hope that the reader of the final drafts goes as well. Because “Blake's writing and his points of view didn't affect this show”.

Carlson whined about “ghouls” to attempt to reframe the issue, but essentially took what has been a conventional tactic, take a vacation, in this case to catch trout.

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What he didn't say

If you watched Carlson's remarks and knew what he was talking about, you may have noticed a glaring omission. At no point did Carlson ever describe his former top writer's online comments, much less note that they had been racist and sexist. And at no point did he explain to viewers that Neff was actively posting such comments as recently as last week.
The average viewer tuning in who had not seen our reporting may have come away with the impression that Neff had made some edgy remarks years ago and was forced out by a cancel culture mob. That's *NOT* what happened, but Carlson structured his remarks leaving room for that interpretation. As Erik Wemple tweeted, “Viewers who hadn't seen the stories might have no idea what he was saying.”

Misleading, at best

While he attempted to put distance between Neff and the show, Carlson said of Neff's vulgar online remarks, “They have no connection to the show.” But that's misleading at best. First, Neff was obviously Carlson's top writer — so his own personal views had a direct relationship to the show. But even more to the point, we documented instances in our story where Neff's online activity did connect to the show — from planting an Easter egg into Carlson's script, to something in a news story that he almost certainly saw on the forum ending up in the show, to similar language, there was overlap between the two…

Reminder: He could have said this all Friday

It's worth noting that Carlson had all the opportunity in the world to have addressed this matter on Friday. We reached out to Neff for comment Thursday night, and by Friday morning Fox News knew our story was in the works, leaving Carlson with a fair amount of time to prepare remarks and address it all.
But he didn't, instead waiting until Monday night. Which is strange right? After all, if you were a cable news host, wouldn't you be outraged if you learned your top writer had been secretly posting racist material online? Wouldn't you want to address it and clear the air? Apparently not Carlson…

A “long-planned” vacation

At the end of his show, Carlson announced that he was heading on a “long-planned” vacation to do some “trout fishing.” While it may be true, it's worth noting that there is a long tradition of Fox News anchors going on supposedly pre-planned vacations when they spark controversy. Think Bill O'Reilly (whose vacation was, it turned out, actually pre-planned, even if he didn't return from it), Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, and even Carlson himself in the past…

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— Brian Di Leandro (@BrianD67) July 14, 2020

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— Andrew Wortman (@AmoneyResists) July 14, 2020

— Chris Morris (@camorris) July 13, 2020

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— SafetyPin-Daily (@SafetyPinDaily) July 14, 2020

On July Fourth, before President Donald Trump spoke to the nation from the White House lawn, he spoke indirectly to another community on Twitter: QAnon.

That afternoon, he retweeted 14 tweets from accounts supporting the QAnon conspiracy theory, a sprawling and ever-mutating belief that a mysterious government official who goes by “Q” is leaving online clues about a messianic Trump’s secret plan to dismantle a cadre of Washington elites engaged in everything from pedophilia to child sex trafficking.

It wasn’t the first time Trump has nodded — accidentally or not — to QAnon followers on Twitter. But Trump's QAnon-baiting has gone into overdrive in recent months. According to a Media Matters analysis, ever since the pandemic began, Trump has retweeted at least 90 posts from 49 pro-QAnon accounts, often multiple times in the same day.

www.politico.com/…

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— ALT-immigration 🛂 (@ALT_uscis) July 14, 2020

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— SafetyPin-Daily (@SafetyPinDaily) July 14, 2020

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