As the Capitol riot unfolded, Tucker Carlson told his producer that Donald Trump is "a demonic force, a destroyer. But he's not going to destroy us."
Fox News host Tucker Carlson called Donald Trump
"a demonic force" in a text late on January 6, 2021, according to a court filing.
This and other internal conversations between Fox News hosts and executives were revealed in a 200-page filing on Thursday by Dominion Voting Systems lawyers as part of their defamation lawsuit against the network.
As the Capitol riot unfolded, Carlson texted his producer Alex Pfeiffer to say that Trump is "a demonic force, a destroyer. But he's not going to destroy us."
The filing notes that weeks later, on January 26, Carlson hosted MyPillow CEO and Trump acolyte Mike Lindell on his show. Lindell spouted election fraud theories on air after voicing them for Carlson's staff in a pre-interview.
The internal text messages and emails reveal that while Fox News hosts privately accepted that Donald Trump
had lost the election, the network continued to air pro-Trump conspiracy theories about election fraud.
In the days following the 2020 presidential election, Carlson texted Pfeiffer to warn him that the network's decision to be the first to call Arizona for Biden could cost them.
Carlson went on to say that Trump was good at "destroying things. He's the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong."
As Fox News hosts and employees feared they had alienated Trump voters with the Arizona call, they came to latch on to the election fraud narrative to win them back, Dominion lawyers suggest in the filing.
In another text exchange, Carlson spoke critically of pro-Trump guests who promoted election fraud conspiracy theories on Fox News.
In separate texts, he told Pfieffer and Laura Ingraham that Sidney Powell, the pro-Trump lawyer who championed outlandish election fraud conspiracy theories, was "a fucking nutcase" and "lying."
"It's unbelievably offensive to me. Our viewers are good people, and they believe it," Carlson told Ingraham on November 18, 2021, according to the filing.
Dominion's lawsuit, seeking $1.6 billion in damages, alleges that the network pushed a conspiracy theory that the election-technology company helped rig the 2020 presidential election because it was driven by a financial motive to get more ratings.
A representative for Fox told Insider in an email that Dominion has "mischaracterized the record" and "cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context."
"There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan," the Fox representative said.