Conservative media has long faced opposition from the left, most notably from Big Tech companies. A new report suggests some attacks may be coming from even higher.
Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his show that the National Security Agency had obtained his private messages. On Wednesday, Axios added new details to the story.
It turns out that shortly before Carlson made the public accusations, he had reached out to Kremlin intermediaries in hopes of arranging an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Carlson said on June 28 that a “whistleblower within the U.S. government” informed him of the NSA’s potential spying. According to Axios, Carlson was told the government knew about his efforts to interview Putin, which led him to conclude the NSA had uncovered his private communications.
“It’s illegal for the NSA to spy on American citizens,” Carlson said. “Things like that should not happen in America. But unfortunately, they do happen. And in this case, they did happen.”
Carlson has accused the NSA of leaking his emails for the purpose of squashing his reporting. He said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that its goal was to “take this show off the air.”
Predictably, the NSA quickly denied the allegations.
“Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air,” the agency tweeted.
A statement from NSA regarding recent allegations: pic.twitter.com/vduE6l6YWg
— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) June 30, 2021
Curiously absent from that statement is any denial of obtaining or leaking Carlson’s communications.
As the establishment media loves to do, Axios attempted to turn the accusation back against Republicans.
“Carlson’s charges instantly became a cause célèbre on the right, which feasted on the allegation that one of America’s most prominent conservatives might have been monitored by the U.S. intelligence community,” the outlet reported.
This is a classic spin. Instead of reporting on the possibility that the Biden administration did something illegal, they laugh at Republicans for pointing it out.
As it turns out, leaking intercepted messages is a federal crime, the Daily Caller reported. If Carlson’s accusations are true, they are quite damning.
Some on the left will argue that the allegations are not credible and should not be taken seriously. Yet these same people had no problem following rabbit holes for the duration of former President Donald Trump’s campaign and term in hopes of finding something, anything, to incriminate him.
Furthermore, Carlson’s accusations have at least some merit. For one thing, Axios did not disclose how it knew Carlson was planning an interview with Putin. Its report simply cited anonymous “sources familiar with the conversations.”
Somehow, Carlson’s plan to interview Putin was uncovered, and he is publicly accusing the NSA of leaking his private messages. That seems like at least enough evidence for some sort of investigation.
Hidden in these details is another frightening possibility. It is conceivable that the government wanted to stop Carlson’s interview with Putin because it did not think the results would benefit the Biden administration.
Axios again attempted to throw cold water on the situation by claiming “numerous American journalists have interviewed Putin in recent years, and none have faced professional repercussions.”
The outlet cited Carlson’s Fox News colleague Chris Wallace, who received an Emmy nomination for his 2018 interview of Putin.
Axios seems to have forgotten that a completely different administration was in charge in 2018 — an administration strongly in favor of free speech.
Yes, left-leaning NBC News was allowed to interview Putin under the Biden administration. But Carlson, perhaps the highest-profile media figure on the right, seems to suggest his own reporting was sabotaged.
Carlson’s accusations have yet to be proved. It could be that the NSA never spied on him and never attempted to stop his interview with Putin.
However, the American people deserve an investigation to find out whether that is indeed the case — and whether the government is attempting to censor the information the public consumes.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.