By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Fox News host Tucker Carlson made an explosive claim on his show Monday night: That he had learned through a whistleblower that the National Security Agency is spying on him and planning to leak his communications in a bid to take him off the air.
“The Biden administration is spying on us,” Carlson declared to millions of Fox’s viewers. “We have confirmed that.”
But Carlson’s own colleagues don’t appear to be buying what he is selling.
Barring an unusual circumstance, if a reputable news organization had confirmed that the NSA — or any arm of the US government — was spying on one of its top employees, it would be a story of significant consequence.
When The Washington Post, CNN, and The New York Times recently learned that the Trump Justice Department had seized the records of its reporters, the revelation led to weeks of coverage and a commitment from the Biden administration to end such practices.
Carlson not only alleged that the NSA was spying on him, but that it was conspiring to take him off of the air and engaging in the conduct for “political reasons.”
But the morning after Carlson delivered his bombshell claim, none of his colleagues covered it.
A search of Fox’s transcripts did not reveal any coverage on Tuesday morning. Even “Fox & Friends,” the right-wing morning show on Fox News that has latched on to several of Trump’s conspiracy theories, passed on the story. And the Fox News website also did not appear to carry coverage of Carlson’s claim.
Fox’s top executives, such as chief executive Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace, had also not released statements condemning the NSA’s supposed behavior by Tuesday afternoon. In contrast, newsroom leaders at the New York Times, CNN and Washington Post strongly condemned the Justice Department’s actions as soon as they learned that it was secretly obtaining their reporters’ records.
A Fox News spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on why the network was failing to cover Carlson’s claim that he had confirmed the federal government was actively conspiring to kick him off the air. The spokesperson also did not respond to questions about why Fox executives were remaining silent.
A spokesperson for the NSA declined to comment.
Carlson, Fox’s highest rated host, has a history of peddling conspiracy theories as fact to his viewers. He recently claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation orchestrated the January 6 insurrection — a claim that has since been thoroughly fact-checked.
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