The surprising connection between Tucker Carlson and Petaluma

It turns out the recently sacked talking head’s middle name is McNear. Yes, that McNear.|

Long before Rupert Murdoch almost married a woman from Petaluma, another surprising connection existed between the city and Fox News.

It turns out that recently sacked talking head Tucker Carlson’s middle name is McNear. Yes, that McNear.

According to news website The San Francisco Standard, “Tucker McNear Carlson was born at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, and the ‘McNear’ comes from his maternal side – George McNear, known as the ‘Grain King’ because of his enormous grain import business and brother to John McNear, a partner in the wheat business and founder of Petaluma.”

As locals well know, the McNear name is everywhere in Petaluma, from its schools to its restaurants, though the sentiments expressed – until recently – by Carlson on Fox News are harder to come by here.

Perhaps it’s appropriate, then, that Carlson hardly knew his mother. Lisa McNear Lombardi, a wealthy heiress and artist described in the Standard as “a hippie and a bohemian,” left the family when Tucker was only 6 years old.

Tucker’s father, a former ambassador and journalist named Richard Carlson, was good at marrying into money: After separating from Lombardi, he married another wealthy heiress, Patricia Swanson of Swanson frozen dinner fame.

Carlson himself grew up rich in La Jolla, attending private schools and forming, it appears, a negative opinion of hippies, artists and their political allies, lefties.

“I bitterly hated her,” Carlson said about his McNear-descended mother in a 2019 interview. In a later interview he added that, due to his experience with his mother, “Criticism from people who hate me doesn’t really mean anything to me. I really don’t care.”

That's probably a useful attitude when hosting – until recently – cable news’ top-rated and most polarizing talk show.

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