Tucker Carlson — who was kicked out of Fox News in April — has made a hefty amount of money practicing what I like to call the conventional wisdom of the counterintuitive take. His worldview can be boiled down to this: Everything you’ve heard is wrong. And I mean everything. (He still believes the English alphabet has 26 letters, but give him time.)
Last night he began the Twitter phase of his lucrative career. Carlson was broadcasting from an undisclosed man cave in a studio – with unfinished wood and fishing rods clashing with his preppy tie and blue blazer outfit. It made him look like the country club money man walking into a meeting of the secret society of misfit Lunkheads who are all looming off-camera.
He then provided his Greenwald-meets-Greene grievances 10-minute grocery list. It’s unclear whether the speech was pre-planned or tied to news of the destruction of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper, but Carlson used the disaster as a joyous starting point. Less than 24 hours have passed since the incident and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky has denounced the act as Russian terrorism.
Anyone who’s ever watched Tucker knows where this is going. Carlson argued that it was probably – surprise! — a terrorist operation in Ukraine. He said the widely held worldview that Zelenskyy was a brave defender of his homeland was completely incorrect. Instead, he is a “sweaty, rat-like comedian turned oligarch, a persecutor of Christians.” Not nice! Notice the passing quality of “Persecutor of Christians,” which is a classic Carlson fact-free area created by, uh, Tucker Carlson.
Carlson’s longstanding strategy has been to bullshit his enemies — in this case Bill Kristol and Sen. Lindsey Graham — for molding the conventional view that the dam explosion was a Putin operation. He then provides his own bullshit report of the upside down world. His theory that Zelenskyy is responsible is that Putin isn’t stupid enough to do that and you would know that if you, dear observer, hadn’t been bought off and brainwashed by the corporate media. Carlson proposed the Nord Stream pipeline explosion as a precedent for Zelenskyy to blow things up. The small problem is that it has not been proven that Zelenskyy or Ukraine destroyed Nord Stream.
From there, it was the worst cover version of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows.” Everyone knows 9/11 didn’t turn out the way you think it did, everyone knows Oswald didn’t mow down JFK, everyone knows a “skinny guy in a dress is a girl”.
Everything built up to a Carlson crescendo. Yesterday’s biggest news isn’t the climate crisis, transgender wars, or Ukraine. No, it’s the discovery that the Pentagon has UFO planes and the extraterrestrial bodies of UFO pilots in their possession. “We know that in a normal country, this news would be considered a bombshell millennial story, but in our country, it’s not,” Carlson said in his fake sad voice.
Here’s the thing. A mid-level bureaucrat claiming the Pentagon has hidden planes and bodies has been a well-known song among UFO guys for over 30 years. If you’ve got seven hours to kill, I wrote about it in 2020. The thing is, history is still a “heard by a friend who heard by a friend” tale. No one has first hand evidence and to believe this is to believe that the notoriously leaky Pentagon has been able to keep this a secret for my entire life. Think of it as the episode “Seinfeld” in which Jerry asks Kramer to “show me the levels” he could build in his apartment.
Carlson concluded by proclaiming that our country is filled with well-meaning people “manipulated by lies, silenced by taboos.” It’s unhealthy and dehumanizing, and we’ve had enough. Starting today, we’ve arrived on Twitter, which we hope will be shortwave radio under the covers.
And that’s Tucker’s central problem on Twitter, well, besides the lies. His act works best when accompanied by the graphics and brilliance of a real network news program. Carlson’s Twitter followers hailed Tucker’s return, but some said it was such a shame to gather the family around the iPhone to watch. Demagogues work best on the big screen or in torchlit stadiums.
Poor Tucker. He was big and then the image became small.
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