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For nearly as long as Tucker Carlson has appeared on Fox News, PolitiFact has been fact-checking claims he made during the network’s broadcasts.
Our fact-checking of Carlson will likely continue, but his affiliation with Fox News will not. The network said April 24 that it and Carlson "agreed to part ways."
According to AdWeek's TVNewser, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the second most-watched cable news program in 2022, drawing about 3.3 million viewers on average. When Fox News viewers tune in at 8 p.m. ET — the usual start of "Tucker Carlson Tonight" — they will see not Carlson, but "an interim show" hosted by other Fox News personalities.
Carlson’s last show was April 21. He gave no warning then of his abrupt exit.
On April 21, Carlson closed his show by saying, "We’ll be back on Monday. In the meantime, have the best weekend with the ones you love, and we’ll see you then." (The Internet Archive)
"Tucker Carlson Tonight" began in 2016, but Carlson’s connection with Fox News started earlier. He co-hosted "Fox & Friends Weekend" from 2012 to 2016.
The announcement of Carlson’s departure came less than a week after Fox News reached a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, a company that supplies voting technology used in nearly 30 states. Dominion sued Fox News for defamation, arguing that the network and its hosts — including Carlson — had broadcast numerous false claims about Dominion’s technology.
It was not immediately clear what caused Fox News and Carlson to part ways.
We’ve fact-checked numerous claims from Carlson on topics ranging from COVID-19 to election integrity to race. Here’s a look back at some of his biggest and most consequential falsehoods:
Capitol Police were protesters’ "tour guides." That’s Pants on Fire! Carlson claimed that Capitol Police officers "helped" Jacob Chansley, the Jan. 6, 2021, protester known as the "QAnon Shaman," and "acted as his tour guides." Officers repeatedly asked Chansley to leave the Capitol, a fact corroborated by the plea agreement Chansley signed and an officer’s account of the events.
Video from the Capitol proved the Jan. 6 attack was peaceful. That’s wrong. We debunked seven false claims Carlson made in March when he aired what was then newly released security camera footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
"Not a single person in the crowd on Jan. 6 was found to be carrying a firearm." False. Court documents, video footage and news coverage show that several people at the Capitol on Jan. 6 had firearms, knives, bats and other weapons.
"Jan. 6 is being used as a pretext to strip millions of Americans — disfavored Americans — of their core constitutional rights." Pants on Fire! There is no evidence that the people who were arrested in the Capitol attack have been denied their constitutional rights. Jan. 6 prosecutions have targeted those who breached the Capitol, assaulted police or committed other crimes while trying to overturn the 2020 election.
The FBI orchestrated the attack. False. There is no credible evidence of this conspiracy theory that Carlson floated in his three-part documentary series, "Patriot Purge," and Carlson didn’t present any. The series pointed to unverified, anecdotal accounts and circumstantial speculation.
"There’s no evidence that white supremacists were responsible for what happened on Jan. 6." We rated that False: Several people charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack have ties to right-wing extremist groups, some of which are explicitly white supremacist.
"Electronic voting machines didn't allow people to vote" in Maricopa County, Arizona, during the 2022 midterm elections. False. A glitch with vote tabulator machines disrupted voting Nov. 8, 2022, at about 30% of voting centers in Maricopa County. There were reports of frustrated voters, but PolitiFact found no reports of people being unable to vote.
"It now appears there actually was meaningful voter fraud in Fulton County, Georgia" in November 2020. False. Carlson alleged several things were signs of fraud, but each was inaccurate, misleading or unsubstantiated. The results in Georgia underwent a full hand audit and machine recount; both confirmed Biden won.
@politifact Here are three consequential falsehoods from Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. #tuckercarlson #tucker #foxnews #fox #tuckercarlsontonight #jan6 #election #2020 #covid #vaccines #factcheck #LearnOnTikTok #FYP ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) - Dusty Sky
COVID-19 vaccines are not effective. Carlson said "maybe (the COVID-19 vaccine) doesn’t work, and they’re simply not telling you that;" we rated that Pants on Fire! Clinical trials and real-world studies showed that the COVID-19 vaccines in question effectively protected people against COVID-19 infections and severe symptoms.
The vaccines were linked to thousands of deaths. Carlson falsely claimed that more than 3,000 people in the U.S. died after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and that "the actual number" of vaccine-caused deaths was "almost certainly higher." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed reports of deaths that some people alleged had been caused by the COVID-19 vaccines. That analysis did not establish a causal link between those deaths and the vaccines.
A CDC report found that 85% of people who contracted COVID-19 in July 2020 had been wearing masks and were infected anyway, "so clearly (wearing masks) doesn’t work the way they tell us it works." False. The CDC report found a correlation between testing positive for COVID-19 and going to bars and restaurants, where masks could not be effectively worn. The study was not designed to evaluate masking’s effectiveness.
No presidential administration "has ever looked less like America" than Biden’s. Pants on Fire! For nearly 200 years, women and people of color were part of the U.S. population and held no positions in the federal judiciary or Cabinet. Biden’s appointments have made the judiciary more representative of the U.S. population.
Carlson said in May 2022 that he didn’t know what the "great replacement" theory was. But a look back at his shows and statements showed he had promoted core elements of the racist and antisemitic theory on his show hundreds of times.
The U.S. "ended slavery around the world." This 2017 statement from Carlson received a Pants on Fire! rating. The practice of treating human beings as property who can be forced into labor continued to exist across the world into the 20th century, and conditions comparable to slavery persist, historians said.
PolitiFact Researcher Caryn Baird and Audience Engagement Producer Ellen Hine contributed to this report.
Fox News, Fox News Media, Tucker Carlson part ways, April 24, 2023
Statement from Fox News, April 24, 2023
PolitiFact, Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News: What to know before the trial, April 17, 2023
The Associated Press, Fox, Dominion reach $787M settlement over election claims, April 18, 2023
Politico, Tucker Carlson to "Fox & Friends Weekends," March 27, 2013
Twitter post, April 24, 2023
See sources of linked stories and fact-checks.