In the three weeks since its publication I've lost count of the number of legitimate journalists who have heaped praise on "The Mystery of Tucker Carlson" by Lyz Lenz for Columbia Journalism Review.

It is indeed a well written and thorough profile of the lil' guy's career. That said, its fundamental premise makes no sense.

To catch you up if you don't want to read a rather lengthy thing about Tucker Carlson, the argument is that a once "good" conservative pundit whose tone was Serious has turned into a shrieking, conspiracy-peddling white supremacist.

The first part of that argument is undermined by the fact that "good" conservative pundits – you know, the ones who can come on the shows without embarrassing everyone by braying like the Fox & Friends crew or Rush Limbaugh – are almost entirely a creation of the centrist media. Chuck Todd. Tim Russert. Chris Cillizza. You know, the Meet the Press types. They've been running out of Good conservatives lately, though. It's part of the reason they were so crushed when McCain died. There are very few Republicans they can bring on the show without ending up feeling bad about themselves.

So they anointed Carlson long ago as one of the Good ones on the basis of, I guess the fact that he wears a bowtie and has prep school manners. They did this with Jonah Goldberg too. But the thing is, both of them are actually very stupid people making much the same arguments – more politely and with bigger words – as Glenn Beck, Hannity, etc. Carlson is now and always has been a hack. He just played the George Will card; hacky arguments delivered through that leather-patches-on-elbows persona.

There is no doubt, though, that Carlson has gone off the deep end since he was hired by Fox News to replace O'Reilly in all but name. Rather than seeing this as a mystery, it underscores the more likely explanation: he is a grifter who will wear any metaphorical hat that enables him to cash in. When the non-Fox networks wanted George Will Jr., he dressed up like the biggest twerp on campus and got paid to do that. Now that times have changed – not to mention now that the juggernaut of right-wing media came calling – he's more than happy to change his tune.

Despite making a living off of what appear to be strongly held opinions, I'm convinced that most of these people will sing any song to any audience if it pays and elevates their profile. These aren't artists with an acoustic guitar and a story to tell; they're session musicians and frankly they don't give a shit what you ask them to play.

10 thoughts on “MYSTERY SOLVED!”

  • It’s high praise indeed when both the cited article [TL:DR] and this one bring out semantic sabers to have a go at a journo who doesn’t sing from their authors’ song sheet. Mind you, it’s not as if they don’t have cause, Tucker Carlson is rich, successful and far less self-absorbed than the authors or Bill O’Reilly in spite of the bowties he wears.
    That success relies, of course, on his guests preferring to grandstand rather than answer Carlson’s questions. And what a great show it is, laying bare the esteem in which the interviewees hold the viewers. It’s almost as though they think that those on the couch don’t see through their playbook. As would behoove any deplorable.

  • "I need to make a correction. I have never pretended that I intend to do anything but comment on the absurdity of the progressive delusion. Hence, I don’t think I have ever attempted or ?><proffered solutions."

    So you admit to being nothing but a fucking troll.

    A little unintentional birthday gift to me @ 9:55 AM on 10/25/17.

    Thanks, for being clear. And just so I'm clear. I intend to put that bit in quotations, and only that, as a reply to any comment you make on any thread.

    Now, fuck off, troll.


    It is beyond laughable that Carlson was or is anything but a fucking hack.

  • I liked that article but definitely wondered at the “good” definition given that the article itself notes one his era known pieces appears from its summary to push a kind of “white supremacy lite” from its first premise. Anger is always the easiest emotion for a bad actor to fake.

  • Tucker Carlson is a rich kid who has never been forced to do anything he didn't really want to do just to make a living. If he is just grifting, it's for the fame, not the money, and that makes him an even bigger asshole in my book.

  • @ Ron Zie:

    Fucker Topscum is just pissed that he's never been able to rise to his daddy's level of trust. I always knew Topscum Pere was a dirtbag but hadn't realized that he used to run VOA and Radio Marti–so prolly an intelligence asset. Sonny on the other hand is just an ass.

  • The problem with your metaphor is that most session musicians can play rings around the artist you so admire and may be the backdrop for the music that was recorded in studio.

  • I've always respected Glenn Greenwald and his "no holds barred" objectivity in highlighting our system's hypocrisies. However I wonder if he feels a bit of regret going on Carlson's show, and having him on the Interecept's podcast earlier this year.

    I hope he's able to comment objectively if someone asks how he feels now about him legitimizing the platform.

    Never go full white-suprem.

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