I’m told there was a time when Tucker Carlson could pass as a “real journalist”, and maybe that’s true. Maybe years spent drowning my synapses in Balvenie leaves me unable to recall that golden age of Carlson journalism.
But whatever he was in the past, he’s now a laughing stock. He’s the guy who, donning his patented “concerned Tucker” face, stared straight into the camera earlier this year and said this, about pandas:
Tucker Carlson. "Exposing" pandas. Today. In slow motion. You are welcome. pic.twitter.com/gySUMZOvl2
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) April 10, 2018
That’s my Tucker Carlson. Tucker the accidental comedian.
Now, like a lot of the folks at Fox News, it’s impossible to know whether Tucker is actually that stupid or whether he’s simply happy with the paychecks he’s getting, and he’ll say whatever he needs to say in order to keep those paychecks coming. I’d be inclined to think that no one (with the possible exception of Sean Hannity) could be that simple-minded, but I guess you never know.
Here’s what Rolling Stone said Tuesday, in a piece called “How Trump’s Disastrous Putin Press Conference Is Playing on Fox News“:
And then there was Tucker Carlson, perhaps the network’s second biggest name after Hannity. While the latter might be as thick-skulled as Trump, Carlson, who many moons ago was able to pass as a respectable journalist, should know better. On Monday afternoon, he tried to downplay Russian meddling by claiming that Mexico interferes in America’s elections more by “packing our electorate.” Latent white nationalism has been a growing theme of Carlson’s show, and it should return again Tuesday night. His main guest? President Trump.
Yes, “President Trump”, whose interview with Carlson was apparently taped in Helsinki following his appearance with Putin.
As usual, this was a disaster, and what’s notable about this is that it doesn’t seem to support what Trump said at the White House on Tuesday when, under immense pressure, the President attempted to “explain” how he “misspoke” when he questioned the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian meddling while standing next to Putin in Finland. Here’s what Trump told Carlson about John Brennan and about the nation’s intelligence community and law enforcement apparatus:
You’ll note the end of that clip that finds Trump implicitly suggesting that the United States owes Russia a debt of gratitude because Stalin “helped” us beat Germany.
He also repeated his false claim that the U.S. pays 90% of NATO’s costs. It’s never been clear where he gets the “90%” number, but even the 70% figure he often trots out is a blatant attempt to deceive the American public. NATO contributions are calculated based on GNI — America’s share of spending is 22%.
Trump would go on to explain how it’s entirely possible that the “very aggressive” people of Montenegro might start “World War 3”:
I just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page here. That is a fake journalist and the President of the United States saying the following about how the next global conflict might start:
Carlson: Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?
Trump: I’ve asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. … They are very strong people. They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you are in World War III.
“Congratulations”, that’s insane.
Trump would go on to say that there is no ambiguity about what “open borders” means. It means, Trump says, “crime”:
That’s race-baiting xenophobia, plain and simple. Does anyone think he’s talking about the border with Canada? Of course not. He’s equating Mexicans with crime.
Speaking of immigration, he went on to chastise Angela Merkel (and he’s clearly excited that he knows how to pronounce her first name now) for being compassionate towards refugees fleeing violence in the war-torn Mideast (make sure to note how Trump slips in a Viktor Orban endorsement):
And there was more. Much more. But you get the idea.
There’s no accountability at Fox. Like Fox itself, that observation is not exactly “news”, but it bears repeating, because what you see in that interview is the network (and Tucker Carlson) effectively endorsing racism while simultaneously allowing the President of the United States to make demonstrably false claims to the American public.
In other words: just another day at the office for state television.