Veteran Journalist Indicted for Allegedly Hacking Tucker Carlson Footage

Source: Common Dreams / Flickr

Journalists have always been tasked with revealing the truth, regardless of how well-buried it is. However, in this case, veteran news reporter Tim Burke has been indicted for conspiracy to commit hacking. His target? Fired Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson. Let’s dive into what happened.

Leaked Tapes Surface

A few days after Carlson was fired from Fox News, a handful of tapes surfaced on the internet. They were behind-the-scenes leaked recordings that were never meant to be aired.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Fox News didn’t release them to the public, but their presence on the internet suggested that someone did. A federal investigation circled Burke as the possible culprit for the leak.

A Media Mogul

Burke is the founder and owner of Burke Communications. For over a decade, he has been helping media outlets collect information and produce potentially viral stories that take over the internet.

Source: Aljazeera

Yet he’s far from an innocent party. As a former journalist, he knows what people want to see and what will make the biggest splash. However, his methods are not really 100% on the up-and-up.

Focusing On Video News

Burke surged to fame as a freelance journalist who looked for stories hidden in videos. He would source videos the same way other journalists sourced print media for their stories.

Source: Flickr/Andrew Aliferis

He was also instrumental in bringing to light several trending news stories. One of his stories, a stitched-together video of Sinclair Media Group reporters reading the same release, garnered over 65 million views to date.

The Vice Clip That Triggered The Investigation

In October 2022, Vice Media published a series of unreleased clips of a Tucker Carlson interview with the rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West). Immediately, federal investigators picked up on it.

Source: cardplayer

Fox News claimed that they didn’t release the cut footage and that it was still on their servers. Investigators clamored to locate the source of the leak and find who was responsible for accessing the corporation’s servers.

Rumors Of The Burke-puter Reach Feds

The media is a very close-knit group, and many companies that Burke consulted with knew about his fabled computer and archive of videos that could be used to go viral. Burke collected videos of anything that could be considered a story.

Source: Flickr/J

The FBI heard about this massive video cache and realized it may be a clue to Burke’s involvement in leaking the Tucker Carlson tapes. They formulated a plan to check their intuition.

Raiding Burke’s Home

On May 6th, 2023, federal authorities raided Burke’s home and seized electronic devices and computers that Burke used regularly in running his media empire. The videos that came out after Carlson was fired pointed them towards Burke.

Source: Flickr/Tim Pierce

In a leaked video, Carlson is seen criticizing his colleagues who used preferred pronouns and made unprofessional comments while working. The recordings were removed from the final production but still found their way online.

More Dangerous Unreleased Footage

Carlson’s rant isn’t the only unreleased Fox footage that Burke allegedly released to the internet. In another rant, Carlson is seen making inappropriate comments about Dominion Voting Systems’ lawyer.

Source: Flickr/Louisiana Secretary of State

This leaked footage comes from a deposition Carlson made before Fox News settled a lawsuit with the company. Fox had to pay Dominion Voting Systems $785 Million as part of the settlement.

Ye’s Antisemitic Statements Also Come to Light

Some leaked clips also focused on Carlson’s interview with Ye, formerly Kanye West. In these clips, his opinions could be construed as antisemitic, and it ignited a firestorm online. Many people criticized the rapper, but some suggested he may have a mental illness.

Source: Flickr/Super 45 | Musica Independiente

Ye has been criticized for his support of the Trump administration and his conservative leanings. The antisemitic statements seemed to galvanize what many people thought of the artist.

Never Hacked Fox News

Mark Rasch, Burke’s lawyer, stated in 2023 that he never hacked Fox News servers. He also followed up by saying that the videos that Burke allegedly leaked were public information. If the information was public, then there was no leak since anyone could have accessed them.

Source: Flickr/Blue Coat Photos

Burke’s legal team states that he never hacked Fox News but instead obtained the video by following a hyperlink to live video feeds that were neither encrypted nor password-protected.

Blowing The Whistle On Things That Should Be Private

Burke’s release of the leaked video underlines a consideration of private and public information. Fox News has protected media on its servers, but that media contained information others should know.

Source: Flickr/Neil Moralee

First Amendment advocates from the Freedom of the Press Foundation wrote the FBI, asking for more transparency into the investigation. They wanted to ensure this case wasn’t simply persecuting a journalist.

Releasing Secret Data Is Dangerous

Burke’s release of the clips opened the floodgates for people who suspected Carlson of certain behaviors but couldn’t confirm it yet. It also led to the host losing his show and the influence he had on the network.

Source: Flickr/Harry Wood

Free speech advocates wonder if criminalizing publicly accessible information to protect a corporation or individuals is legal. Federal investigators hit back that they aren’t sure if they can classify Burke as a journalist.

Potentially a Political Move?

Burke was instrumental in his wife, Lynn Hurtak, winning a city council seat. Hurtak defeated former state Sen. Janet Cruz to claim victory, thanks to help from Burke’s unique messaging skills.

Source: HCC Foundation

Some have opined that the FBI’s hounding of Burke may be politically motivated. When the FBI raided Hurtak and Burke’s house and took away the electronic devices and computers, it sent shockwaves through Tampa’s political scene.

Is Burke Guilty Of Anything?

It’s too early to say if Burke is actually guilty of anything or if this is a politically motivated situation. Federal investigators are currently putting a case together while Burke is out on bail. One of the conditions of his bail is that he cuts all ties with his co-conspirator.

Source: Flickr/SalFalko

This case mirrors the Wikileaks case from years ago, featuring Julian Assange leaking top secret US government documents to the world. Does telling people things they need to know constitute wrongdoing? Or was Burke breaking the law when he collected clips that were obviously cut from publication? Only time will tell.

What do you think?

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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