Tucker Carlson always wanted to be a writer. He wanted to follow in his journalist father’s footsteps in a life he saw as romantic and adventuresome. He wanted to be free to follow stories that interested him, and he wasn’t afraid to be brutally transparent if he felt it was in the interest of truth.
These are some of the characteristics about Mr. Carlson, the man, that readers will learn in this latest narrative by author and journalist Chadwick Moore.
He was prime time’s media magnet, hated and heralded for his unbounded monologues and often assertive and aggressive interviews with guests on a myriad of topics.
Off the AirUntil April of this year, Mr. Carlson was one of the most polarizing cable news hosts regularly garnering over 3 million viewers. His media impact was seemingly unrivaled. When Fox News let him go, friends and foes alike were in shock. His riveting rhetoric echoed the sentiments of conservatives in particular. His meteoric rise from a contributor to masterminding his own talk show had catapulted him to be more than a media giant. For many, he was emblematic of a movement. His disappearance from prime time was a death of sorts.
As you’ll learn from the read, when Mr. Carlson was notified that the show was being taken off the air, it was on April 24, 2023. This day also marked the six-year anniversary of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” moving into the 8 p.m. time slot on the Fox News Channel. He relates that he thought it was a congratulatory call.
Speculations as to why Mr. Carlson’s show was abruptly canceled remain, swirling from his position on Ukraine, his unbridled profanity, or perhaps his supposed involvement in the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit against Fox News, which was ultimately settled earlier in April with a price tag of $787.5 million. Both parties deny that was the reason.
Three days before his firing, he made a speech at the Heritage Foundation (where he had worked as a fact checker early in his career). He heralded the foundation and its founder as good people with high standards of intellectual honesty. He also shared that he believes the country is going in the wrong direction, and that people are breaking under downward pressure. He talked of good and evil.
His rhetoric at the Heritage Foundation would be his last speech made under the Fox News umbrella.
Off-CameraMr. Moore explores and shares with readers who Tucker Carlson is off-camera. What are the influences in his life that molded the man he is today? What was his childhood like? Was he good in school? Did he have many friends? What were his first jobs? Does he consider himself necessarily a political animal?
Mr. Carlson and his brother were raised ruggedly: loving the outdoors, hunting, being with family, and always fostering an atmosphere of fun and forthright honesty. Like his father, he was not a fan of authority and rules that went against staunch individuality. This is America—land of the free.
Mr. Carlson is forgiving, often of himself, when he realizes that he may have been wrong about an issue or person. He’ll be quick to admit that.
The author, Chadwick Moore, is himself an author and fellow journalist. When this book came out, I wondered how it could have been put together so quickly with Mr. Carlson’s firing happening just a few months before its release.
Mr. Moore shares that he had been working on this biography months earlier, and it was ready to go to press when the news of Mr. Carlson’s firing was announced. With that startling news, Mr. Moore was able to add to the narrative, but the bulk of the book chronicles Mr. Carlson’s life, his encounters with the likes of former President Donald J. Trump, or political strategist James Carville, or political satirist P.J. O’Rourke. When the patriarch of Hells Angels, Ralph “Sonny” Barger died, Mr. Carlson attended his funeral in California. He is at home with the rich and famous as well as countless middle Americans who text him regularly and think of him as a friend.
His love of family is unquestioned. His wife reads all his monologues. Their marriage has lasted decades. They aren’t fanciers of social media.
I particularly like that most chapters end with a QR Code that will take you to an interactive link where you can hear Tucker for yourself on a subject referenced in that chapter.
Mr. Moore was given access to Mr. Carlson’s professional and personal life. He spent hours interviewing Mr. Carlson and his family, friends, and foes. His narrative is well-crafted and written with a journalist’s eye for compelling detail and heart.
He tells a story worth sharing about a man worth knowing.