Tucker Carlson

Fox News host Tucker Carlson in 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Long before Fox News host Tucker Carlson denounced The New York Times this summer for asking questions about his move to Maine, Carlson pulled back the curtain on his own.

In a piece published in 2018 in the weekly Advertiser Democrat, based in Norway, Carlson talked extensively about his life in the tiny western Maine village of Bryant Pond in Woodstock.

“We have had a family house in Bryant Pond for 40 years,” Carlson said in a column by freelancer Pamela Chodosh, a talented writer, artist and teacher who is well known in the region.

“For that whole time, I have gone to western Maine in the summer and also sometimes in winter. That’s been one constant in my life,” Carlson said.

Carlson this year sold his house in the nation’s capital and moved to Florida, his official residence, but is spending a good chunk of the year at a home in the town he’s loved his entire life. He bought the Woodstock town garage and converted it into a small studio he could use for his show, an idea first reported by the Sun Journal in March 2019.

It turns out, though, that Carlson had already publicized his Bryant Pond connection and studio there six months earlier. It’s just that few noticed.

Despite freely choosing to share details of his Maine connections, Carlson took to the airwaves in July to denounce The New York Times and those working on a story about him for supposedly invading his privacy with the intention of citing his residential address.

The Times said it never intended to disclose Carlson’s address. It was merely working on a story that has not yet been published, apparently about Carlson and Bryant Pond.

After Carlson told viewers the paper’s plans would “inflict pain on my family” and terrorize his wife and children, some his more ardent fans went after a reporter and photographer involved in the story on social media and perhaps in person. They readily shared details of the journalists’ lives that the Times had no intention of reporting about the prominent television celebrity.

What nobody realized is that Carlson himself, a former journalist, had already shared many of those details about himself in the Advertiser Democrat, which is owned by the Sun Journal. Its work is routinely published on the internet.

Here, in his own words, is what Carlson had to say back on Sept. 28, 2018:

“I grew up all over the state of California, though mostly in Southern California. My father was at ABC News and then CBS. When he left journalism and went to work for the government in the Reagan Administration in 1984 or ’85, we moved to Georgetown. We have been there ever since.

“I have always been very curious. As a kid, I was always interested in the outdoors. I loved to read and still do. I did not understand a lot about the world, though I thought I did. I think I always had a desire for adventure and variety. I wanted to see the world, have my questions answered, and see how things worked.

“I had all kinds of aspirations that didn’t match my abilities. I would have loved to be a professional baseball player, for instance. I also thought I would work for the CIA as a covert operations officer. I’m patriotic. I thought I would be serving the country and see the world that way. I did try, but I got turned down.

“I ended up working at a magazine called Policy Review. Though it no longer exists, it was an extremely dry quarterly magazine about political theory. It was not really what I wanted to do, but the people who ran the magazine were kind and good and great teachers. I liked writing from the first day. I had a natural aptitude for it, though I wasn’t a brilliant writer.

“From there I worked for a newspaper where I was constantly under deadline pressure. Then I spent 10 years writing magazine stories from around the world. I learned a ton, saw everything I wanted to see and went to all the countries I wanted to visit. It was a great experience.

“I wound up in TV accidentally. I did not do a good job and had a show that bombed. Sometime after getting fired, I realized that I needed to spend my whole day thinking about the show. That it was a specific kind of job that required a specific set of skills. Though I did not get that at first, the second I started treating it like a real job, I began to think, ‘This is really an interesting gig.’

“Ten years ago, I was still at MSNBC, when they called me in and said, “Look, we are a liberal channel. You don’t fit.” They had just changed the format and the new format was going well. It wasn’t personal. When they offered to pay out the six months left on my contract, I said, ‘That’s fine.’

“I flew to Bryant Pond and spent most of that period there. Though I got involved in milfoil and fished the Rapid River every day, at the end of my six months, I had no job with four kids in school.

“One day, I was standing on the front porch stringing up my fly rod to catch some pickerel, when Roger Ailes called from Fox News. He said, ‘I heard you’re getting fired.’ I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ He said, ‘Why not come work for us.’

“I actually drove from Bryant Pond to New York City that night. I slept in my car at a rest area off the Merritt Parkway and met with Ailes the next morning. He hired me.

“I went from being a lead anchor on MSNBC to being a guy who made a couple of documentaries. Though at first, it was a step down in terms of pay and prestige, I was grateful. I am still to this day.

“I have always had a pretty blue-collar attitude about work. I think you should work. If you have dependents, you have to work.

“First I was hired to make documentaries. Then I was a fill-in host, then an anchor for the weekend morning show. Eventually, I began doing the show I do now. It was a long process.

“When I was at the magazine, I was able to push the deadlines. In television, we go live at 8 o’clock and end at 9. It’s live with no taped delays. There are three million people who are going to see it. If you are not ready at 8, you are doing the show anyway. I like that it’s immediate. I like the intensity.

“It’s a real challenge to put on an hour every day. I don’t always like it, but when we are sitting in the basement of the Whitman Library after making a fresh hour of TV and a cameraman cracks a beer, I think, ‘Wow, we just made something.’

“Last night at 7:56 p.m., I got a text that said, “I have information about something on your show.” At 7:59 and 30 seconds, I was literally incorporating the information, which was relevant, into the script. This does not happen that often, but it does happen. When it does, it’s exciting.

“The beauty of live TV is it yanks you back right to the present. There’s no ruminating about something that happened in 1987. It’s right here and right now. You have to engage with this thing that’s right in front of you.

“Journalism tends to attract a certain kind of person. A lot of people in journalism are there in part they can’t do the longitudinal approach to life where you incrementally add to the sum total over time. They need someone who says, ‘Time’s up.’ I am definitely one of those people.

“We have had a family house in Bryant Pond for 40 years. For that whole time, I have gone to western Maine in the summer and also sometimes in winter. That’s been one constant in my life.

“I remember when two mills were in operation. I remember our crank telephone, which was 18 ring 4, and which still hangs in our house. There was a barbershop in town in a garage and a grocery store.

“Though there was more retail, the town has stayed very much the same in that the people are the same. People are not in your face or your business. They are not asking you personal questions. You can walk down the street dressed in a unicorn costume if you want to, and no one will yell at you from the car or demand why. It’s your thing, not their thing. I really appreciate that.

“I know a lot of people. I am grateful for their kindness and friendship. I like the continuity. I even have plots in Lakeside Cemetery. I plan to spend a lot of time there, actually an eternity.

“For the last couple of years through the generosity of Vern Maxfield, Bryant Pond’s town manager, we broadcast the show in the summertime from a studio we built in the basement of the Whitman Library. Though we do not advertise that we were broadcasting from Maine, the vibe of the area influences the show. Honestly, our producers love it up here. It’s been a great thing.

“In DC, there’s always someone yelling about politics, always someone getting mad, always someone’s relationship dissolving over political differences. I am glad to be able to escape that for a few months and be in a place where people care more about things like how the corn is growing or how the fishing is or how much rain we are getting. Washington, New York or LA are not a cross-section of America. I‘m very thankful to be able to be in a part of the country that is different from that. It gives me a different perspective.

“The one part of my job that isn’t perfect is I don’t get enough time to make things, so I tie flies. I am embarrassed to admit how much I enjoy fly tying. I bring a fly tying devise and materials with me when I travel even though the TSA always wants to know what the device is.

“Every fly fisherman thinks that whatever fly he has tied will work. I have fished the same waters for many years. Every May, I show up using some fly I thought of in the middle of a snowstorm. My first cast I always think a three-pound book trout is going to hit. I am always shocked when one doesn’t. Though I like the physical activity of fishing, the difficulty and strategic challenge of it, more than that, I like the optimism of it.

“Three years ago, we had this guy who runs a sanctuary for bald eagles bring an eagle onto the show. The eagle became agitated and started flapping his wings. A tail feather floated down onto the set. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. The sanctuary owner said, ‘You are not allowed to have that. That’s a federal offense.’ I told him I would give it back after the show. I didn’t. I made two soft hackle wet flies. The next time I was at Bosebuck Camps on Aziscohos Lake, I went to up to Little Boy Falls, a famous pool up there. The first cast with the bald eagle soft hackle I caught a three-pound salmon. I will never forget that fish. That was one of the most thrilling moments of my life.

“Fly fishing is difficult, but it brings you into the world’s prettiest places. I love the landscape of fishing, the evergreens, the water, the pine needles and granite rocks. If I can stand in a spruce forest and look out at a river, I am happy.”

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