The New York Times Now Aware That Tucker Carlson Is Evil

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The New York Times Now Aware That Tucker Carlson Is Evil

Nick Confessore at the New York Times delivered a less than glowing profile of Fox News white nationalist hero Tucker Carlson. Part one (free article) deep-dived into Tucker and racism, actually saying the word racist in regard to the Fox host and his programming approximately 400 times, which we honestly thought was illegal. Part two, "How Tucker Carlson Reshaped Fox News — and Became Trump’s Heir,” starts shortly after Donald Trump’s shock (to white liberals, at least) victory in 2016. Carlson, who’d soon replace the quaintly awful Bill O’Reilly in the 8 p.m. time slot, didn’t want to make a name for himself as a mere Trump suck up like a common Sean Hannity. He needed his own, ready for racist primetime identity.

The solution would not just propel Mr. Carlson toward the summit of cable news. It would ultimately thrust him to the forefront of the nationalist forces reshaping American conservatism. “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the host and his producers decided, would embrace Trumpism, not Mr. Trump. The show would grasp the emotional core of Mr. Trump’s allure — white panic over the country’s changing ethnic composition — while keeping a carefully measured distance from the president himself.

We’re just a few paragraphs into this and already the Times is walking into a rake. There’s no carefully measured distance between Carlson and Trump. Rolling Stone reported last week that Carlson persuaded Trump to finally endorse JD Vance’s Senate campaign. If Vance pulls out a victory, Carlson would’ve perhaps single-handedly made a senator. If Rachel Maddow had this type of pull with Barack Obama, no one would pretend there was any real distance between them. She’d also get chased off the air.

According to the Times, Carlson often mocks Trump behind his back. However, that’s not journalistic integrity. It just means Carlson’s two-faced slime.

PREVIOUSLY: The Atlantic Takes Us On A Terrifying Journey Into Tucker Carlson's Brain


Confessore seems to get that Carlson’s terrible, but the article still reads like an entertainment profile about how "Kevin Feige turned Marvel from a debt-ridden comic studio into a cinematic juggernaut.” Carlson isn’t simply an effective broadcaster. He’s not Jay Leno outmaneuvering David Letterman for “The Tonight Show.” Sure, “Jaywalking" wasn’t exactly great comedy but it was otherwise harmless. Carlson has actively made the country more dangerous for marginalized people.

Carlson apparently made extensive use of ratings data known as “minute-by-minutes,” which helps show producers scrutinize an audience’s real-time ebb and flow. Sorry, but your sweet little white grandma watching Fox News gets her juices flowing over outright racist content. Carlson was more than eager to deliver.

Most strikingly, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” began devoting more and more airtime to immigration and to what its host depicted as the looming catastrophe of demographic change. “He is going to double down on the white nationalism because the minute-by-minutes show that the audience eats it up,” said another former Fox employee, who worked frequently with Mr. Carlson.

This would seem to vindicate Jimmy Kimmel’s recent remarks that Carlson "is a phony in every respect. I think he’s an algorithm. I think his audience created him.” While superficially correct, it implies that Carlson doesn’t believe the horrible things he says. He’s just playing a role. But Carlson isn’t a white nationalist Robert De Niro. He’s not acting. He’s just very good at his job, and that job is racist.

His producers scavenged local news for under-covered items about refugees and migrants, which Mr. Carlson blew up into national news. He also began to venture farther afield than other hosts. He mocked Austria as the soon-to-be “caliphate of West Arabia.” The immigration backlash and migrant crimes in countries like Sweden and Germany became forewarnings of America’s future. “The country’s in decline,” he told viewers in the fall of 2017. He added: “Everyone knows that. It’s not racist to note that.”

It is in fact racist to note that.

PREVIOUSLY: If Tucker Carlson Doesn't Believe In White Supremacy, How Can He Believe In Himself?

Fox’s executive vice president Tom Lowell and Ron Mitchell promoted a "data-driven, audience-first approach to deciding what to cover and how to cover it,” which quickly spread across the network. Confessore notes the collateral damage — for instance, a man obsessed with an imagined illegal immigrant “invasion” murdered 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue around the time of Fox’s round-the-clock “migrant caravan” coverage. However, there’s no indication that anyone at Fox feels remorse, certainly not Carlson himself.

According to a current Fox employee, network executives wanted to focus on “the grievance, the stuff that would get people boiled up ... They’re coming for you, the Blacks are coming for you, the Mexicans are coming for you.” Fox News clearly doesn’t include minorities in its classification of “people.” (Though who knows, maybe Tim Scott and Clarence Thomas are just as afraid “the Blacks” are coming for them.)

Carlson consistently advances great replacement theory and white genocide rhetoric. He devoted air time to perversely out of context stories about Black South Africans murdering white farmers and scheming to steal “their” land. Carlson doesn’t give a crap about Russia’s human rights violations but is very concerned about the slightest act of violence from Black and brown people anywhere.

And the audience loves him!

Mr. Carlson would grab third rails on race or immigration, then harvest the inevitable backlash, returning the next evening to roast his critics for trying to suppress an obvious truth. The feedback loop didn’t just drive up ratings. It boosted the audience’s loyalty to Fox, while encouraging audiences to identify with Mr. Carlson himself, now playing victim to the same forces he was warning them about.

When Carlson increased the length of his opening monologue a few years back, his ratings also increased. Carlson isn’t making his audience racist. He’s just mastered the delivery system for their cultural and social resentments. Oh, and his ratings and clicks go up whenever outraged liberals call out his latest offense. It’s as if we help him more than we could ever hurt him.

Carlson best represents Trumpism without Trump, and he’s a more disciplined and insidious version. If Trump could reach the White House, there’s every reason to fear that Carlson might. After all, someone like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis merely dances to Carlson’s latest tune.

[NYT Part one / Part two]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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