Tucker Carlson: "Every story" about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor has "at its core" been "a lie"

Fox News recently admitted in court that its star host is not always accurate when he discusses the news on TV

Published September 25, 2020 8:24PM (EDT)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the latest in a series of ongoing race-baiting screeds, Fox News host Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson claimed to his viewers Thursday evening that "every story" about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake had "at its core" been a lie."

"It's hard to think clearly when things are on fire," Carlson began.

"If you wanted to keep the public from thinking clearly about what you plan to do with their country, you might riot and no one would notice that you're lying," he added. "They definitely have been lying. Every story we've been told for the past three months has been, at its core, a lie. All of them — from the first day."

Earlier that day, a Trump-appointed federal judge in New York issued a verdict absolving Carlson of wrongdoing in a defamation case after Fox News admitted that its star host is not always accurate when he discusses the news on TV.

The "general tenor of [Carlson's] show should then inform a viewer that he is not 'stating actual facts' about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in 'exaggeration' and 'non-literal commentary,'" Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil wrote. "Whether the court frames Mr. Carlson's statements as 'exaggeration,' 'non-literal commentary' or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same — the statements are not actionable.'"

Carlson went on to falsely deconstruct the deaths of Floyd and Taylor at the hands of police, as well as the shooting of Blake.

"'George Floyd was executed by racist cops on the street.' That's what they told us. That's what everyone believed. Yet, when the autopsy became public, it showed that George Floyd had lethal levels of fentanyl in his system among other drugs," Carlson said. "Floyd said he couldn't breathe long before police landed on him as he was, in fact, sitting untouched in the back of a patrol car. But the mob wasn't interested in hearing those details. They torched Minneapolis."

Two autopsy reports ruled Floyd's death a "homicide" — an independent report listed his cause of death as asphyxiation; an official coroner report listed his cause of death as cardiac arrest. Minnesota authorities have charged the police officer who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes with second-degree murder. Three other officers who were on the scene face charges of accessory to murder.

"In Kenosha," Carlson continued, "Democrats told us that bloodthirsty cops just walked up and shot Jacob Blake as he was trying to break up a fight between two women." (Carlson did not state which "Democrats" had made the alleged claim.)

"It was horrifying, but that's not what happened," the Fox News host added. "Police arrived there after a woman called 911 to say Blake was at her home in violation of a restraining order. That woman had previously accused Blake of sexual assault. Blake fought with the responding officers. At first, cops tried non-lethal force to subdue him. They tased Blake, and that didn't work. When they saw him reach for a knife, they shot him."

Carlson elides the portion of the narrative where officers followed Blake to his car after tasing him. As Blake opened the door and leaned inside, he was shot in the back by police at point blank range in front of three of his children, according to bystander video and statements from his family.

"What else were they supposed to do exactly? But Kamala Harris wasn't interested in knowing what actually happened," Carlson said. "She declared that she was proud of Jacob Blake, and then her voters burned Kenosha." (Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, met with Blake's family in Wisconsin.) 

Two protesters were shot and killed in Kenosha, Wis., in the aftermath of Blake's death. Authorities subsequently charged a 17-year-old Trump supporter and law enforcement advocate with first-degree murder. President Donald Trump and a number of his right-wing backers justified the shootings as self-defense. Carlson was among those who defended the teen vigilante:

So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would? Everyone could see what was happening in Kenosha. It was getting crazier by the hour.

After those remarks, members of the public and the media called on Fox News to fire Carlson, with one journalist calling the screed "the closest thing I think I've ever seen to pure, unfiltered fascism in American public life. Going out to the largest cable news audience ever. Fox News hosts are able to do this because the Murdochs want them to."

On Thursday, Carlson next turned to Taylor, who was killed by police serving a warrant for her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover at her home. Nationwide protests erupted this week after no charges were filed against any of the three officers who fired their weapons.

"Tonight, the mob is in Louisville to protest the death of Breonna Taylor," Carlson said. "News organizations told us that Taylor was in bed when police shot her, but she wasn't. She was in her hallway."

Taylor had, in fact, been in her bed with her boyfriend when police pounded on her door. She later left the room and entered a hallway, where she was shot. 

"They told us that Taylor had nothing to do with her drug dealing ex-boyfriend, who police were investigating," Carlson said. "That's why they were there. In fact, intercepted jailhouse communications suggest that Taylor was warehousing that man's drug money."

Glover, the ex-boyfriend, was arrested on Aug. 27 in possession of drugs. Glover told The Courier Journal that Taylor, an EMT and emergency room technician, was not involved in selling drugs.

"The police are trying to make it out to be my fault . . . making it look like I brought this to Breonna's door," he said.

Carlson went on:

They told us that police shot first, and that's not true. Taylor's boyfriend shot a cop first. Then they told us over and over again that police surprised Taylor in the middle of the night. They barged into her apartment in a so-called no-knock raid. Then, yesterday, the attorney general of Kentucky exposed that as yet another lie. The police did, in fact, knock on Taylor's door. They identified themselves as police. There's a witness to it, but it didn't matter. They kept lying to us.

Kamala Harris issued a statement attacking "no-knock" raids. Amazingly, so did Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, a Republican. Tim Scott should know better. 

In response to the shooting, Louisville banned the use of "no-knock" warrants.

The department's original "no-knock" warrant was changed just before the raid to "knock and announce," meaning police had to identify themselves at the door. The Louisville officers have claimed that they announced themselves, but Walker has claimed that he did not hear them. 

"I don't know what's happening," he said on a recorded 911 call. "Someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend."

"A grand jury did know better," Carlson continued. "The jurors considered all of the available evidence in the Breonna Taylor case, and yesterday, they declined to charge the officers with murder. There wasn't any evidence that a murder took place. That is how our system is supposed to work. We don't indict the innocents."

The error-riddled police incident report listed Taylor's injuries as "none," even though she died of multiple gunshot wounds.

You can watch the video below via Media Matters:

By Roger Sollenberger

Roger Sollenberger was a staff writer at Salon (2020-21). Follow him on Twitter @SollenbergerRC.

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