On the November 6 edition of his Fox show, Tucker Carlson claimed that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) was bullying the media into refusing to name the whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Donald Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. In reality, as CNN reported yesterday, it is an executive at Carlson's network who circulated a memo to on-air personalities emphasizing that the network had not confirmed the identity of the whistleblower and instructing them not to speculatively name the person.
Carlson compared the whistleblower’s action of filing an official complaint to giving his opinion on a talk show, saying it is “frankly, a little insulting to those of us who give our opinions every day kind of out there.” He also implied that the person keeping their identity anonymous is cowardly, saying, “If you have an opinion, stand up and be counted for it. This is America.”
In reality, the desperate right-wing media speculation about the whistleblower’s identity is total misdirection. The information about Trump asking the Ukrainian president for a quid pro quo isn’t coming from a lone voice — the complaint was validated by the intelligence community inspector general and the White House memo of the call, and there have been reports of more than one complaint.
According to CNN, the Fox executive also “advised production staffers to ‘NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests’ related to the whistleblower’s identity.” Considering Fox’s failure to enforce its other stated policies, it seems the network’s executives are not confident that the on-air personalities will take their advisories very seriously. It’s also worrisome that the network’s leadership is relying on junior staff to be a check against their top talent’s on-air recklessness.