"His publicist calls... to make sure I know Carlson is not a racist."
September 6, 2018 8:52 AM   Subscribe

 
I'll... call Scooby-Doo? Or..
posted by Horkus at 8:57 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


Aubergine had it - "a crude pantomime of a thoughtful man".
posted by ryanshepard at 9:06 AM on September 6, 2018 [29 favorites]


Don't watch TV news so I'm entirely unfamiliar with this person but this really says everything I need to know:

"I was heading back to my desk with a take-out hot dog one afternoon when I ran into the receptionist. She asked me what I knew about the O.J. trial. My instinct was to answer honestly (“just about nothing”), but for some reason I caught myself. I asked her why she wanted to know. Well, she explained, Dan Rather’s booker just called looking for an O.J. expert to go on 48 Hours tonight. Everyone else is still at lunch. Can you do it?"

Just some jackass given a soapbox they never proved they deserved to have, kind of a poetic herald of things to come for everyone. Now everyone has a soapbox they don't deserve where they can talk to a global audience about topics of which they know nothing and have no authority or expertise. I'm literally doing it now, only 3/4 of the way through the article and I'm already writing down my thoughts or reaction.

"A former co-worker likens Carlson’s appeal to that of a rowdy prep school frat boy. “What’s the reputation of frat boys? They go get drunk, chase after women, okay?… What’s not to like? What’s not to identify with? It’s basically what a lot of American culture is about.”"

Such a weird disconnect for me, frat boy to me is an overwhelmingly negative term, basically an insult you'd hurl at someone. I'm baffled this person thinks of it as something likeable.

"It’s like Carlson wrote about Bill O’Reilly: “[He is a] guy who tells the truth and demands that others do the same."

Drives me nuts when bold liars get labelled as truth tellers, what the fuck bizarro world shit is that?

"It’s a neat trick. Say something and when challenged, insist it was a joke. As if jokes themselves rise above criticism. Or by not laughing you are a humorless bore—a liberal. It’s just a play on another Carlson rhetorical move: Say something and then, when criticized, insist that criticism is an attempt to infringe on free speech."

I take it back, this tells me what I need to know about this person. Fuck this guy. He is someone who has demonstrated they deserve to never be magnified.

"“Look biological reality is… super deep and exists apart from whatever social construct you’re buying into…and that comes with all kinds of physical consequences,” he explains, explaining nothing."

Beautiful, explaining nothing. I love when an article actually calls bullshit what it is.

Nobody has a right to a global audience, nobody has a right to be on TV, nobody has the right to a goddamn twitter account. Free speech can be maintained just fine without twisting it into the right for wicked people to do widespread harm with their speech on platforms. This shitty person should be allowed to say whatever they want with their own vocal chords in their own home. They should not be allowed to make others have to hear them.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:10 AM on September 6, 2018 [29 favorites]


Jon Stewart had this guy's number years ago and got him fired from CNN. If this were a sane world, Tucker Carlson would have crawled back under the (rich, entitled) rock he crawled out from and never been heard from again. Unfortunately, America is a nation of assholes, and this guy is a shining example, so of course he is popular on TV.
posted by briank at 9:22 AM on September 6, 2018 [53 favorites]


I've long thought Carlson the dumbest and among the most dangerous people on television. This article didn't change my views.
posted by dobbs at 9:24 AM on September 6, 2018 [6 favorites]


I must be too young to remember Carlson ever having a good reputation among the left.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on September 6, 2018 [14 favorites]


From the article:

WHAT HAPPENED TO TUCKER CARLSON? People in media ask themselves this question with the same pearl-clutching,

isn't "pearl-clutching" problematic itself?

What happened to Tucker Carlson hasn't really surprised me at all. I never bought whatever he was selling. Ever. And, over the years, like any other pundit who's managed to stay in the frame, he's rolled and turned and, if needs be, mutated with the changes. By which I mean, he's a bullshit artist, he's always been a bullshit artist -- it's not the only thing that sells, but it does always sell. Hate him all you want -- it's good for his brand. I don't see this guy going anywhere until we somehow weather this current age of utter bullshit ...

And even then, he'll probably reappear, older, "wiser", venerable even, trading anecdotes about the good ole days. He's the kind of guy that somehow makes me wish there was an actual hell.
posted by philip-random at 9:24 AM on September 6, 2018 [12 favorites]


Shame on me for even bothering to write it down, but I honestly don't care. There's nothing noteworthy about being a shouty white male racist on fox news, even if you're the most popular boy in that particular class. So what - you're the most colorful snake in the garden, but you're still a snake. (no offense to snakes)
posted by hilberseimer at 9:25 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


I am confused. “You were definitely shouting before. That’s why this is funny,” I say laughing nervously. “Because you are like, “I AM NOT SHOUTING!

This guy seems to be under the illusion that there was a "good" version of TC. He's the same bullshit artist he's always been. He also tries to walk back Stewart grandslamming Carlson off of his own television show. Good luck with that.
posted by Query at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2018 [5 favorites]


That he wore a bow tie while being under 80 years old was enough of a signal to rational people that he was a ridiculous person years ago.
posted by Kinski's Ghost at 9:42 AM on September 6, 2018 [18 favorites]


I don't care whether he's spouting Nazi propaganda and rhetoric because he's genuinely slipped into fascism or because he cynically sees it as a way to have power and success. There is no down in your heart. There is no "who you really are" distinct from what you do. There is only what you do, and what Tucker Carlson is doing is Nazism, and he must stop or be made to stop.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2018 [38 favorites]


Wearing the bowtie was the sort of doofy move that could actually be endearing on a less-abhorent individual. But he eventually stopped wearing it to conform with the version of masculinity demanded by his audience on the right, which makes him both a doofus and a coward.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2018 [27 favorites]


> Such a weird disconnect for me, frat boy to me is an overwhelmingly negative term, basically an insult you'd hurl at someone. I'm baffled this person thinks of it as something likeable.

TC has always reminded me of those guys at your high school or college or university or workplace who radiate the smug confidence that only those who truly know they will never be allowed to fail possess.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:47 AM on September 6, 2018 [38 favorites]


So has he stopped wearing a bow tie and gone back to popping the collar on his polo shirts? Wait, don't answer that. I actually don't care.
posted by Catblack at 9:49 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


Bow ties are cool.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:51 AM on September 6, 2018 [18 favorites]


Bow ties to not a ridiculous person make. They can however make an already ridiculous smug entitled mercenary dishonest condescending self-aggrandizing boorish panderer even more ridiculous.
posted by conscious matter at 9:52 AM on September 6, 2018 [17 favorites]


This guy seems to be under the illusion

This piece was written by a woman, Lyz Lenz. She talks about being a woman and a single mom several times in the article.
posted by leesh at 9:57 AM on September 6, 2018 [25 favorites]


Out of all of the prominent white male FoxNews blowhards (Hannity, O'Reilly, et al.) Carlson is the one about whom I'd be the least surprised if they found human body parts in his freezer.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:09 AM on September 6, 2018 [5 favorites]


> Such a weird disconnect for me, frat boy to me is an overwhelmingly negative term, basically an insult you'd hurl at someone. I'm baffled this person thinks of it as something likeable.

TC has always reminded me of those guys at your high school or college or university or workplace who radiate the smug confidence that only those who truly know they will never be allowed to fail possess.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:47 AM on September 6 [4 favorites +] [!]



Nota bene: "TC" is pretty common internet parlance for "Topic Creator."

I thought you were laying down a wicked harsh slam on backseatpilot for a minute there.
posted by TheProfessor at 10:13 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


> I must be too young to remember Carlson ever having a good reputation among the left.

I must be too old to remember Carlson ever having a good reputation among the left.
posted by at by at 10:19 AM on September 6, 2018 [9 favorites]


Nota bene: "TC" is pretty common internet parlance for "Topic Creator."

That's news to me. On message boards and websites I've frequented, including Metafilter, "OP" (Original Poster) is the abbreviation of choice.

I've never once seen "TC," it must be particular to a certain site you visit.
posted by explosion at 10:19 AM on September 6, 2018 [28 favorites]


We know that Tucker Carlson's been a right-wing nut for well over a decade, but here's the thing, the article wasn't written for us, it was written to lure down any 'on the fence' conservatives.
posted by CheapB at 10:27 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


I met Tucker Carlson some 20-ish years ago, at a journalism event where a handful of us college journalists were in attendance, and he was a smug, glib dickhead even then, who would tell a shocking joke, and when the women recoiled in disgust (it was all women doing the recoiling, high-powered men in journalism are trash), he would flash a confident, toothy grin that said he thought this behavior was impressive and attractive to women, and say something about jokes being jokes.

He was so unbelievably smarmy in person that within ten seconds of meeting him I refused to shake his hand. And, like most of the young women there, looked for a corner to retreat to, since Carlson was holding court with the important journos in the center of the room but he was so fuckin' creepy we all felt more comfortable in the corner despite the lost networking opportunities. #MeToo in a fuckin' nutshell
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:29 AM on September 6, 2018 [76 favorites]


Wasn't he at one time on one of those shows that tried to pair a liberal and a conservative to see what happens when they stop being nice and start getting real? I don't know. He's always struck me as the incarnation of one of those memes that pictures a bunch of upper-middle-class white guys in pastel-colored shorts and says something about them never finding the clit.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:30 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


the article wasn't written for us, it was written to lure down any 'on the fence' conservatives.

Lot of "on the fence" conservatives reading the Columbia Journalism Review, do you think?
posted by Etrigan at 10:31 AM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


Wasn't he at one time on one of those shows that tried to pair a liberal and a conservative to see what happens when they stop being nice and start getting real?

Yes, that was the premise of Crossfire.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:33 AM on September 6, 2018 [8 favorites]


Other vocal fans of Carlson include Richard Spencer, David Duke, and white nationalist website The Daily Stormer. On August 24, 2018, The Daily Stormer published a post that noted gleefully, “Tucker Carlson is basically ‘Daily Stormer: The Show.’ Other than the language used, he is covering all of our talking points.”

Let’s please remember that Pat Buchanan used to do this on both CNN and PBS all the time im the Reagan/Bush I/Clinton years.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:34 AM on September 6, 2018 [7 favorites]


Yeah, Carlson hasn't changed, it's just become less fashionable to be the sort of neoliberal jackass who claims to be progressive (back then the phrase was "socially liberal") despite, in the name of "realism," holding positions to the right of Barry Goldwater. Those sorts of people went nuts over Tucker Carlson and his ilk, as their predecessors did over William F. Buckley, and the early Bush years were lousy with them. By pretending that Tucker Carlson in 2018 is somehow a far different person than he was in 2003 these people get to avoid confronting uncomfortable questions about their own judgement and values.
posted by enn at 10:35 AM on September 6, 2018 [8 favorites]


> Lot of "on the fence" conservatives reading the Columbia Journalism Review, do you think?

The ones I'm sending it to are.
posted by CheapB at 11:01 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


According to Nielsen Media Research, the top-rated markets for the show are ... Greenville, South Carolina ...
This isn't surprising. The upstate is what Tucker Carlson would be if Tucker Carlson was a place.

The author of this profile seems like a cool person, but I agree: there isn't any mystery to Tucker Carlson. He's just another guy who decided to make money off racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and bluster and who was talented and/or fortunate enough to succeed. The author's own life sounds more interesting.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:15 AM on September 6, 2018 [5 favorites]


Tucker Carlson has always been a cheap, over-the-counter emetic. Mystery solved. Urp.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:26 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was too quick to judge, actually. Having finished it, the profile was better than I thought it was going to be. I think there's an insight in there about the way insult comedy became political punditry and she interestingly places the young Carlson in the context of others like him: P. J. O'Rourke, Dennis Miller, etc. Maybe it was easy in the '90s when things were good and every white guy was either a little or lot dissatisfied with the Clintons to be the "I'M JUST SAYIN'!!" guy—to take the shock humor of Carlin or Pryor or the journalism of Thompson and strip it of any pain and the moralizing and leave the shock and build your audience from there. Having done that, tho, they chose to just keep trying to out-shock themselves ...
posted by octobersurprise at 11:55 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]




Notably, P. J. O'Rourke, probably the most literate of the young fogies, did not spend his career trying to become ever more outrageous, rather aspiring to give his fogieness a George Will-like gravity.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:26 PM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, but you don't write sentences like this without being a straight-up racist.

With them gone, Carlson mourns, “no force remained to keep the excesses of the civil rights class in check. Political leaders stopped identifying with bourgeois values and began pandering in earnest to the underclass.”

Civil rights class? Underclass?

Yeah. Bigoted racist asshole in a bowtie. No mystery here.
posted by teleri025 at 12:44 PM on September 6, 2018 [19 favorites]


We all should have seen this coming when the discovery channel became all about reality TV and MTV stopped showing music videos.

*looks around for people to notify that the lawn needs to be vacated post-haste*

posted by RolandOfEld at 12:59 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:23 PM on September 6, 2018


Carlson’s “independence,” says Richard West, professor of communications at Emerson University and author of five books on interpersonal communications, is “change-the-subject conservatism.” Meaning that Carlson’s deftness in defying any one party or ideology and is more about a winning rhetorical strategy than a noble enterprise.

“It’s quite a remarkable tactic,” West explains, “because you don’t give people an opportunity to digest … I do believe he’s a conversational narcissist. He hijacks the conversation and contorts it to his own value structure.”

Carlson, through his PR person, stated, “I have no idea what that means and West is welcome to come on the show anytime. But I bet you dinner, he is too afraid.”


Ha. That's priceless. As a former wanna-be journalist and conservative in the same general years as Tucker Carlson, I know his type so well. Fan of Hunter S. Thomson, you don't say. How fascinating. Oh dear, I seem to have finished my drink....
posted by amanda at 2:53 PM on September 6, 2018 [8 favorites]


A few months ago my alma mater sent out an all-alumni email inexplicably announcing that the president of the school's Santa Fe campus would be appearing that evening on Tucker Carlson to discuss the school's role in "protecting intellectual diversity in American higher education." This email was shortly followed by another email sent in response to what was evidently an ample and strident amount of feedback received to the first email; it explained that "Going on Tucker Carlson does not mean we endorse his views," and went on to justify the decision as a much-needed way for an obscure, perpetually-in-financial-crisis institution to make itself known to a wider audience (this raised the obvious question whether the viewers of Tucker Carlson are in any way a desirable population from which to attract future students; the email only addressed this obliquely by stating that "the Program tempers extremism, and the Socratic process weeds out the weakest ideas."*)

Anyway, my group chat with my fellow alums was pretty active on this topic as we collectively rent our garments and wondered what could possibly have possessed even our ever-misguided administration to turn its forlorn eyes to Fox News as being in any way reconcilable with the school's idiosyncratic mission and methods.

That said, the interview actually didn't go too badly. It was obvious that the Fox News interest in the school began and ended with the fact that it could be used as a virile example of the kind of old-dead-white-men-venerating institution that e.g. today's snowflakey gender-studies-majoring, safe-space-needing youths were badly in corrective need of.

However, the president seemed savvy to this framing and managed to cast it off at several points, such as informing Tucker that the students at his institution, yes, study the source texts of Western Civilization, so you know, they read Adam Smith - they read Karl Marx.

* when I read this, my eyebrow ascended to the heavens and has remained there ever since; not least because I had that same morning read this story, which is about a fellow alumn. If you ever see this, fuck you Murphy.
posted by Aubergine at 3:02 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


> “change-the-subject conservatism.” Meaning that Carlson’s deftness in defying any one party or ideology and is more about a winning rhetorical strategy than a noble enterprise.
> “It’s quite a remarkable tactic,” West explains, “because you don’t give people an opportunity to digest


A.k.a. the Gish Gallop
posted by CheapB at 4:13 PM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


Notably, P. J. O'Rourke, probably the most literate of the young fogies, did not spend his career trying to become ever more outrageous, rather aspiring to give his fogieness a George Will-like gravity.

P. J. O'Rourke endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016.

He's also the source of one of my favorite political quotes :
The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.

Notice that while O'Rourke mocks the Democrats' belief that government can improve the lives of citizens, it'd be pretty hard to argue that they aren't right -- look at the ACA (Bill Krisol argued against the Clinton health care reform on almost exactly those grounds; that it'd help prove the Democratic premise). While the Republicans seem to have more and more taken "get elected and prove government doesn't work" as a mantra.

As for Carlson, Jon Stewart had his number way back when, and it's a mark of Carlson's lack of character that he didn't retreat from the public eye in shame for ever.
posted by Gelatin at 4:21 PM on September 6, 2018 [6 favorites]


Guys I figured it out. The bowtie makes him racist. If he would just lose the bowtie, I know he would turn into a not-shithead-who-everyone-hates. His bowtie is welcome on my podcast anytime to defend itself.

I don't have a podcast.
posted by saysthis at 7:59 PM on September 6, 2018


Since when was the National Lampoon a liberal magazine?
posted by Big Al 8000 at 9:41 PM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


Hey gang, try this, do a google image search for 'confused tucker'

He looks like a dog trying to do calculus!
posted by adept256 at 10:51 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


"P. J. O'Rourke endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016."

Indeed. I think on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, O'Rourke said something like "she's wrong on every conceivable issue, but she's wrong within normal parameters" - basically, what I felt was the sane response for someone who was on the right-of-center political spectrum at the time. Maybe Hillary wasn't your dream candidate (or maybe she was) but she was the only adult in the room.

I believe it was also O'Rourke who said "giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." With Trump we have a perfect illustration of this. Except it's more like giving whiskey, car keys, and a gun to a belligerent toddler.
posted by jzb at 5:47 AM on September 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


'I must be too young to remember Carlson ever having a good reputation among the left.'

Maybe replacing "good reputation among the left" with "a place in polite society" makes more sense? It seemed like he was doing Buckley cosplay for a good portion of his career and his willingness to share a desk with someone who votes Democrat was mistaken for civility. I'm more interested in what it says about Fox's direction that their prime time lineup is anchored by the VDare hour. We're going to be in a post-Trump world momentarily. Is that move good for long-term business and are they going to be able to walk it back, if it's not?
posted by Selena777 at 9:34 AM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


I will confess there was a brief period during which I *loved* Crossfire. At the time, I believed I could carry off the moderate, rational conservative thing. It was in that mindset I appreciated Carlson and Begala's faux intellectual rigor and was impressed the two could jab each other while seemingly still respecting each other. So I've been one of those people wondering "what happened?" I've only recently realized he hasn't changed; I have.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 1:37 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]




Early on in our current national troubles, my wife and I were trying to remember his name and couldn't come up with it. So I did a google image search for "that fox news guy who always looks baffled" and lo! there he was.
posted by obliviax at 3:31 AM on September 10, 2018


Maybe replacing "good reputation among the left" with "a place in polite society" makes more sense?

Pretty much.

Modern conservatism is driven by precisely what Tucker screams about now -- a pushback against diversity. A pushback against the idea that if you fail to check any of the [] white [] male [] conservative [] Christian [] hetero [] cis [] Western European heritage [] the right kind of Western European heritage boxes, you are still just as much of an American and have just as many rights, privileges and votes as those who do. A pushback against the idea that there shouldn't be an American caste system. A pushback against Being American not being a zero-sum proposition; that if someone else gains what they were entitled to have all along, it's not diminishing the value of what YOU have.

Tucker's graduated from saying that in the Socially Acceptable Voice to saying it in the Very Loud And Aggressive Voice.
posted by delfin at 5:49 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]




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