Politics & Media
Sep 22, 2023, 06:25AM

The C-Word Lady and the Fighting White Men

Wolff on the trouble at Fox.

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Michael Wolff’s new book is out and it's an insider account of the convulsions at Fox News. An excerpt from New York Magazine explores the forced departure of Tucker Carlson but never mentions his notorious “not how white men fight” comment, which served as a final blow in the dirtying-up campaign Fox mounted against Carlson after booting him. The company fed it to The New York Times, who duly reported that the Fox board had done a spit take upon learning of the remark. Some pundits doubted that the text could have forced Carlson’s departure, as he is a propagandist for white supremacy that the network had seen fit to broadcast for years. Wolff may agree, but the line is still a hell of a thing to leave out. The Fox board may have panicked after seeing it. Look at what happened to Roseanne Barr—as far as the public is concerned, a few words of concise racial contempt clang more loudly than hours of Great Replacement patter.

Here is Wolff cocking an eyebrow at Fox allegedly getting cute regarding Carlson after Suzanne Scott, president of the infotainment provider, fired the bigoted preppy commentator. We are told that in-house P.R. hit woman Irena Briganti fed The Wall Street Journal “snippets of Carlson’s damaging emails, including the fact that he had called a senior woman executive at Fox a ‘cunt,’ implying that this was Scott, the network’s seniormost and nearly singular female executive, when in fact it was Briganti herself, which fact Briganti conveniently elided.” That’s some footwork, one must admit. The Journal article does drop a hint later on, noting in the article’s top half that the star was such a headache to his employer that Fox appointed an executive just to handle him, with special duty as “an intermediary between Mr. Carlson and Fox’s communications department.”

Then a far broader hint surfaced at The Washington Post. The excerpt does not mention this, but the Journal was one of three heavyweight papers that published articles on the same day about nasty Carlson material leaked by Fox. The New York Times, of course, was left out regarding the genital-based derogation. When it came time to acknowledge that bit’s existence, the Times proceeded in stages. After noting that Carlson once referred to crazy lawyer Sydney Powell by “a crude and misogynistic slur,” the paper wrote, “Amid the cache of redacted messages was one in which he used a similar vulgarity to describe a senior Fox News executive, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.” Not only the Journal, but the Post too. The Post was bold on the Briganti front, “In one redacted exchange, according to people familiar with the documents, he referred to a woman who is a senior communications executive for Fox as a ‘c---.’” Briganti’s name doesn’t appear in the article, but anyone who reads about Fox News will have read about her and her communications department at some point.

I would like to know why Fox sources pointed the Post but not the Journal in Briganti’s direction, and why Fox held back “how white men fight” until almost a month after the company’s initial three-paper release of crappy Tucker texts. I don’t suggest a bigger story lies behind all this; if there is, I don’t know what it would be. But as long as inquiring minds are being catered to, these are a couple of points in need of attention. More importantly, I bring all this up to find fault with Wolff. He is vending privately obtained facts (or “facts,” we don’t know) but the New York account bobbles two facts that are easily checked in the public press. I do believe Wolff when he says Carlson referred to Ron DeSantis as a “fascist” because the hapless Florida governor pushed, or kicked, one of the pundit’s beloved spaniels; these loudmouths will grab any word when feeling oppressed. But careful sifting is required for everything else. More than anything, I think Wolff missed a trick when he called his book The Fall. The correct title would be How White Men Fight.


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