A former producer for Fox News host Tucker Carlson made his contempt clear for the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” audience after he referred to those who falsely believed the 2020 presidential election was stolen as “terrorists” and incestuous.
“Like negotiating with terrorists,” former producer Alex Pfeiffer said in a text, “but especially dumb ones. Cousin fucking types, not saudi [sic] royalty.”
The new messages are part of a trove of evidence related to a $1.6 billion lawsuit leveled against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion alleges that Fox News helped spread former President Donald Trump’s election lies despite knowing the claims were false.
Hundreds of internal text messages obtained through the lawsuit spell out how top talent at Fox News and Fox media mogul Rupert Murdoch expressed frustration with the mounting lies while still allowing those lies to get airtime.
For instance, Fox News routinely platformed Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and campaign lawyer, Sidney Powell, despite knowing that they were spouting baseless conspiracies. One of those false claims from Powell was that she had an affidavit linking Dominion to Venezuela in a plot to give the election to President Joe Biden.
“Sidney Powell is lying, by the way,” Carlson said in a text to fellow host Laura Ingraham on Nov. 17, 2020. “It’s insane.”
“I hate him passionately.”
– Tucker Carlson, referring to former-President Donald Trump in a private text message.
A few days later, after Carlson publicly doubted Powell’s claims on his show, Carlson’s former producer went into damage control after getting pushback from Powell and the Fox News audience.
“Might wanna address this, but this stuff is so fucking insane,” Raj Shah, a former senior aide in Trump’s White House who was later hired at Fox, texted former producer Pfeiffer. “Vote rigging to the tune of millions? C’mon.”
Pfeiffer called Powell’s claims “insane” but added that “our viewers believe it, so addressing again how her stupid Venezuela affidavit isn’t proof might insult them.”
Pfeiffer texted Shah, according to the lawsuit: “This whole thing is surreal. Like negotiating with terrorists, but especially dumb ones. Cousin fucking types, not saudi [sic] royalty.”
In a 2021 text message with an unknown recipient, Pfeiffer apparently found humor in Carlson’s ability to spread falsehoods.
“Haha, Tucker always adlibs in wrong information,” Pfeiffer wrote.
The trove of messages gives an unprecedented look into the inner machinations of Fox News. It reveals that top hosts on the network praised Trump publicly while seething about him privately.
“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights,” Carlson texted on Jan. 4, 2021. “I truly can’t wait.”
He added, “I hate him passionately.”
After insurrectionists attacked the Capitol two days later, Carlson told Pfeiffer in a text that Trump was “a demonic force, a destroyer. But he’s not going to destroy us” — despite continuing to defend Trump on his program at the time publicly.
The newest texts are another example of Carlson following Trump’s lead despite privately disagreeing with him. For instance, Carlson drove to Trump’s Florida resort to warn him to take COVID seriously at the beginning of 2020.
“I tried, man,” Carlson told Infowars host Alex Jones afterward, according to a series of private text messages first obtained by HuffPost.
Yet by the following month, after it became clear Trump had no desire to treat the threat seriously, Carlson appeared to fall in line, using his massive platform to spread Trump’s conspiracies about the virus.
Carlson and Fox may soon learn that their loyalty to Trump won’t protect them from the damage they caused in his name.