On Sunday, the NY Times published a lengthy series online and featured it prominently on the front page of its website, dubbing Carlson an “American Nationalist,” replete with heavily edited, stylized, and distorted photos of Carlson.
Carlson, for his part, told Axios that he won’t read it and disputed the paper’s claims that he cares about ratings. During the first quarter of 2022, Carlson’s show was the second-highest-rated cable news program on TV.
“I’ve never read the ratings a single day in my life. I don’t even know how. Ask anyone at Fox,” Carlson told the outlet in response to the NY Times’ article. “Most of the big positions I’ve taken in the past five years—against the neocons, the vax, and the war [in Ukraine]—have been very unpopular with our audience at first.”
Carlson also posted a photo on Twitter of him apparently laughing while holding a physical copy of the NY Times, which featured the “American Nationalist” as its lead story. Carlson last week returned to Twitter after a month-long suspension after his account re-posted a satirical Babylon Bee article describing U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, known as Richard Levine, as “Man of the Year” for 2022.
In a statement to news outlets on Sunday and Monday in response to the articles, Fox News said that its editorial content has driven higher viewership.
“Fox News Media has grown through strategic innovation, redirecting investments in journalism to encompass more than 50 percent of the budget while expanding our footprint beyond one legacy linear network to eight thriving platforms,” the network told The Hill. “As a result, we’ve doubled our audience, achieved unrivaled results, and have become the destination that more Democrats and independents choose for their news coverage, while our competitors have lost dramatic levels of viewership.”
And last week, Carlson suggested on his show that he was aware that the NY Times was going to publish what he described as a hit piece against him and his show.
During the broadcast, Carlson described the paper’s writers as “obedient little establishment defenders” and are individuals who “will say anything to please their bosses, they’re suck-ups, brown-nosers, lickspittles … not people you’d want to have dinner with.”
“If you don’t obey them, they denounce you as a racist,” he added. “Why do they do this? They do it because it works. But here’s the thing. It can only work if you play along with it. And we don’t plan to.”