The Combative Tucker Carlson: “Suddenly, your opinions qualify as crimes. Dare to say what you think at work and you will be fired.”

Tucker Carlson: On his way out of Washington.

From a New York Times story by Michael M. Grynbaum and Tiffany Hsu headlined “Ads May Flee Carlson, But Viewers Stand Pat”:

In recent weeks, Tucker Carlson, the conservative Fox News host, has challenged the Black Lives Matter movement, dismissed demonstrators as “criminal mobs,” accused a Texas police chief of “sounding more like a therapist than a cop” and mocked a CNN children’s special about racism that featured Elmo, the “Sesame Street” puppet.

His comments have generated a harsh backlash. Critics have called Mr. Carlson’s on-air monologues incendiary and accused him of making racist remarks. Major advertisers, including the Walt Disney Company and Sandals, the vacation resorts, have fled, requesting that Fox News remove their ads from Mr. Carlson’s 8 p.m. hour.

Viewers, however, are tuning in.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” was seen by 4.2 million people on Monday, making it the most-watched television program in the country that night, ahead of entertainment fare on the major networks. . . .

Mr. Carlson, a conservative pundit who previously hosted shows on CNN and MSNBC, has seized on the high Nielsen numbers as a sign that his message — which warns about censorship from the left, and depicts the country’s unrest as ominous and violent — is resonating.

“You are not alone,” Mr. Carlson told viewers. . . .“You may feel like you are,” he continued. “Suddenly, your opinions qualify as crimes. Dare to say what you think at work and you will be fired.” in the middle of a recession. Write what you think online and you will be silenced by the big tech companies.”. . . .

Since demonstrations began, Mr. Carlson has adopted a hard-edge approach, encouraging President Trump to be more harsh, not less, in cracking down on protesters. The ad boycott intensified after Mr. Carlson, on June 8, said the unrest “is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you.” (Fox News said the pronoun “they” referred to liberal leaders, not protesters.). . .

Though he enjoys Fox News’s backing, Mr. Carlson, a longtime Washington resident, may be on the cusp of leaving his liberal-leaning hometown. He recently put his Washington home up for sale, and has spent much of the quarantine at his houses in Florida and Maine. Through a spokeswoman, the host declined to comment about his plans.

On Wednesday, Mr. Carlson yielded the nightly ratings crown to Mr. Hannity, who attracted 4.5 million viewers for his telephone interview with Mr. Trump. Across all of television, Mr. Hannity enjoyed the largest audience. Mr. Carlson was in second place, not far behind.

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