Fox News host Tucker Carlson has already proven himself to be among the most hateful and cynical of the channel's prime-time blowhards, with all of his race-baiting and homophobic and transphobic commentary. But now we can mark a new low for his overall character via a couple lines from his yearbook page — and of course he was the same little asshole 30 years ago as he is now.
On page 184 of the 1991 Trinity College yearbook, a smirking, bow-tied, 22-year-old Carlson can be seen. In the format of the yearbook, the photos are arrayed on most of the page, and a text section at the bottom lists each student's home address, major, any teams or clubs or fraternities they belong to, and any organizations they took part in or volunteered for. Carlson was a history major, but it looks like — no surprise — no actual clubs or fraternities would have him besides "Christian Fellowship," or he wasn't much of a joiner. And he apparently chose to post two phony organization names by his name: "Jesse Helms Foundation" and "Dan White Society."
Jesse Helms, for those who don't remember, spent 30 years in the Senate representing North Carolina and voted against everything from voting rights to disability rights to gay rights. Helms referred to gay people as "weak, morally sick wretches," and around the time that Carlson was a college student, Helms was making headlines as a vocal critic of the National Endowment for the Arts, specifically because it funded a retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs that depicted gay male erotica.
And Dan White, as most San Franciscans know, was the former city supervisor who walked into City Hall on November 27, 1978 and shot Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. White and Milk had been at odds on the Board of Supervisors, and White had killed Moscone and Milk because he believed they were part of a cabal that had conspired against him politically — and many saw the shooting of Milk as a hate crime.
White would later be found guilty only of voluntary manslaughter, after his defense attorney successfully argued that he had been in an altered mental state due to depression and the consumption of too many sugary foods — known infamously as the "Twinkie defense." The verdict on May 21, 1979 led to a protest march led by activist and Milk friend Cleve Jones, which led directly to the White Night Riots.
In reaction to the revelation of Carlson's yearbook mention of White, which was posted to Twitter by journalist Travis Akers, Jones tells the Chronicle, "I’m rarely at a loss for words, but this is truly despicable and well beyond the garden variety homophobic crap we’ve come to expect from this guy. Dan White was an assassin who murdered the Mayor of San Francisco and a San Francisco City Supervisor in cold blood. I just can’t wrap my mind around the depth of his depravity."
Carlson seemed to express some nervousness about journalists hunting down his yearbook during his broadcast on Tuesday night, preparing his audience for some shoe to drop.
"Jeff Bezos [who owns the Washington Post] had one of his minions, a mentally unbalanced middle-aged man called Erik Wemple, pull our dusty college yearbook and call around and see if we’d done anything naughty at the age of 19 … Let us know if you hear any good stories," Carlson said.
Post media critic Erik Wemple did not, in fact, mention the yearbook in a Wednesday opinion column — he was too busy unpacking Carlson's predictably horrid broadcast about the Derek Chauvin verdict, trying to cast it as a nightmare for law enforcement and public safety.
Fox News hasn't commented on this latest Carlson controversy, and it's just one of many examples of his giddy desire to stir liberal passions, bait racists and homophobes, and cater to the worst impulses of Americans in a time of stark political division in order to garner better ratings. "Tucker Carlson Tonight" has already lost advertisers over his comments about the Black Lives Matter movement, but that isn't stopping him or Fox from continuing to stoke the furnace of hatred.
In a statement to The Hill, a rep for Trinity College said, "While I cannot speak to the yearbook process in 1991, current practice is that only a student’s name, home state and/or country, and the student’s major are listed with their photos."