AP

Carlson, Times tussle over online harassment of journalist

Mar 11, 2021, 4:29 PM
carlson...
FILE - Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio on March 2, 2017, in New York. Carlson's belittling of a reporter for The New York Times this week for publicly discussing how she had been harassed reveals both a toxic online culture and bad blood between the newspaper, Fox News Channel and its most popular personality. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Tucker Carlson’s belittling of a reporter for The New York Times this week for publicly discussing how she had been harassed reveals both a toxic online culture and bad blood between the newspaper and Fox News Channel and its most popular personality.

The targeting of reporter Taylor Lorenz started a day after the International Women’s Media Foundation announced that it was starting a new resource center for journalists subject to online abuse.

Lorenz, a technology reporter who covers internet culture for the Times, on Tuesday had tweeted her followers to consider supporting women who were enduring online harassment.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I’ve had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life,” she tweeted. “No one should have to go through this. The scope of the attack has been unimaginable. It has taken everything from me.”

The tweet made Carlson point her out that night on his show, which usually reaches between 3 million to 4 million viewers each weeknight. He cited her as a privileged person claiming victimhood.

“Destroyed her life?” he said. “Really? By most people’s standards, Taylor Lorenz would seem to have a pretty good life, one of the best lives in the country, in fact.”

Carlson was supported by journalist Glenn Greenwald, an occasional guest on his show. Greenwald wrote that someone involved in polarizing debates should expect pushback. “It’s still just online insults,” he tweeted. “That’s not persecution.”

Carlson and the Times have a history. Last summer, he said on the air that the Times was working on a story about his house in Maine. He broadcast the names of the journalists supposedly working on the story, and they later said they had been subject to online abuse and, in one case, an attempted break-in. No Times story was written about Carlson’s Maine house.

The Times, in a statement Wednesday, said Carlson’s attack on Lorenz “was a calculated and cruel tactic, which he regularly deploys to unleash a wave of harassment and vitriol at his intended target.”

Fox backed up its star with its own response: “No public figure or journalist is immune from legitimate criticism of their reporting, claims or journalistic tactics. Carlson, on his show, revisited his own anger about the idea that where his family lived in Maine would become more widely known.

He said there is real harassment in the world, but an online attack against Lorenz “is not it.”

The International Women’s Media Foundation said that in a survey conducted in 2018, 63% of female journalists said they’d been threatened or harassed online. Of those who said they’d been harassed, 40% said they avoided reporting certain stories because of it.

Lorenz has visibility online since she reports on the rough-and-tumble world of social media for the nation’s leading newspaper. She noted, in an interview for The. Ink newsletter last summer with journalist Anand Giridharadas, that leaders in that industry don’t take online harassment seriously.

She told Giridharadas that she’s had a difficult time with strangers finding out about her personal life and background.

“That’s been really, really, really horrible,” she said. “I mean, I’ve gone into kind of a deep depression over it. I’ve thought about quitting my job over it. I hate it.”

On Twitter this week, she posted a copy of one message she had received online from someone who said “I hope you cry yourself to sleep every night. I hope you take your own life. I hope you live all your days in fear. You are the scum of the Earth. Why are you still breathing?” The person repeated “kill yourself” 11 times.

A spokeswoman for the Times said it has “dedicated staff and robust measures in place to protect journalists” against the overall backdrop of threats and online attacks. The newspaper would not discuss details.

One potential piece of advice for Lorenz — stay off the internet — doesn’t apply. Her job depends upon it.

Elisa Lees Munoz, executive director of the women’s media foundation, offered support on Thursday.

“Lorenz is a legitimate journalist whose work should be applauded, not attacked,” Munoz said. “Women journalists must be able to do their jobs without fear for their lives.”

Today’s Top Stories

AP

TikTok shown on a phone. TikTok is proving influential in poliitics...
DAVID KLEPPER Associated Press

TikTok politics: Candidates turn to it ‘for better or worse’

TikTok isn't just about viral dance challenges anymore, but also a place to shop, learn about beauty, fashion or even politics.
3 days ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...
ADRIANA GOMEZ-LICON Associated Press

Ian returns to hurricane status, meanwhile floods trap many in Florida

Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean.
4 days ago
An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking...
CURT ANDERSON Associated Press

Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm

About 2.5 million people had been ordered to evacuate the area before the storm hit the coast on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph).
5 days ago
The White House to ask for less money to fund border wall...
ACACIA CORONADO and GISELA SALOMON Associated Press

Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US

Last month, Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the U.S. border after Mexicans.
7 days ago
In Iran, protests have led to violent clashes between citizens and security forces. Protesters pict...
The Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

The scope of Iran's ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, still remains unclear as protesters in more than a dozen cities.
10 days ago
U.S. Capitol pictured. The House just voted on an election law...
MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

House passes election law overhaul in response to Jan. 6

The bill, which is similar to bipartisan legislation moving through the Senate, would overhaul an arcane 1800s-era statute known as the Electoral Count Act
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Carlson, Times tussle over online harassment of journalist