Brandon Straka, the founder of the WalkAway campaign, credited former Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson with giving him a voice and being someone he could talk to at a time when no one else would, while he was under house arrest for his involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Straka wrote a Facebook post on April 24—the day Fox News announced Carlson’s departure from the network—crediting the political commentator with being one of the few people who was willing to speak with him after he was charged and placed under house arrest. Prior to Jan. 6, 2021, his WalkAway campaign had gained momentum and media attention for its calls for liberals to leave the Democratic Party and Straka had been involved in numerous political rallies and media interviews to talk about his campaign. After he was charged, however, Straka said few outlets would report on his case.
“Most media outlets bought into the narrative that this was a radioactive topic, and wouldn’t even allow me to get my voice out to tell my side of the story, and Tucker was one of the few people who did that,” Straka told NTD’s “Capitol Report.”
Straka participated in rallies on Jan. 5 and 6 to protest the certification of the 2020 election results. He was charged with impeding law enforcement officers; entering restricted grounds and/or engaging in disorderly conduct to impede government business; and engaging in disorderly conduct during a session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.
Straka was not accused of entering the Capitol building but was alleged to have cheered on demonstrators who were entering the building and some who tried to take a police officer’s riot shield. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a Class B misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct during a session of Congress and was sentenced to three months of house arrest, a $5,000 fine, and three years of probation.
“For the guy who was known for traveling the country and rallying people coast to coast, it was devastating to be stuck inside 1,500 square feet feeling like my life was falling apart,” Straka wrote in his April 24 Facebook post. “During those months I reached out over and over again to many of my media contacts who told me they would not be willing to have me on to talk about what happened to me. I felt abandoned by so many and siloed.”
Straka said he eventually wrote a four-page letter to Carlson, who after a couple of weeks responded, “Brandon, it’s Tucker Carlson. I just read your letter which shocked and upset me.”
Carlson then invited Straka on for an interview last year to discuss his story. During that interview, Straka described his home being raided by an FBI tactical team over a “petty offense” and said misdemeanor Jan. 6 cases “are being treated like felonies.”
Straka told NTD News that Carlson continued to talk to him after their interview and would always provide a thoughtful response.
“Every time I’ve ever sent him a text message, he always responds. And it’s not a quick two or three words. It’s a very thoughtful reply that indicates that he read it, he contemplated, and he thought about it,” Straka said. “Sometimes he’s extremely humorous when he messages you back, but he never gives this impression that he’s too busy or that you’re being bothersome.”
Carlson Could Revolutionize News Media: Straka
Straka expressed his disappointment at seeing Carlson lose his platform as a Fox News host, but shared optimism that Carlson can continue to have an influential voice in the news industry.
“Obviously, we’re talking about the top-rated cable news program and that’s a pretty drastic decision that Fox would make to get rid of their top-rated host. And Tucker is, you know, a brilliant man and quite an asset to Fox,” Straka said. “But what I think it means for the future of where things are headed, I’m actually very excited in many ways.”
Straka said he believes Carlson still “has the power to pull an enormous audience in a brand new direction” and not just find a new network to employ him.
“I’m really hoping that Tucker will take this opportunity to revolutionize the way in which we consume news because I think a lot of people are feeling, at this point, let down by the major cable news networks, by the mainstream media, on both sides of the aisle,” Straka said.
Straka’s comments echo those shared by another former Fox News host, Megyn Kelly, who has said Carlson might go the independent route, in which case “he will no longer answer to a corporate master. He will be free to say whatever he wants to say, within the bounds of defamation law, of course, and he’ll be totally unleashed.”
Tech billionaire Elon Musk has also said Twitter could be a platform where Carlson could prosper as an independent content creator.
“[Carlson is] not interested in being owned by corporations or delivering a message that the corporate sponsor’s wanting to deliver,” Straka said. “He wants to get to the truth of what’s—I think he cares about the world around us.”