Lies, Videotape, and Tucker Carlson

Corporate Responsibility Corporations Corruption Politics

New Orleans      It’s one thing for Fox’s Tucker Carlson to make a deal with the devil, my soul for higher viewer numbers, but it’s another thing for the rest of us to have to live with the blowback from all of his lying ways.  I can honestly say that I’ve never listened to one-minute of Carlson’s show, but there’s no way to avoid reading about his commitment to mischief and mayhem, while all of us live with the consequences of division and hate.

            On the daily, as the trial continues between the voting machine company Dominion and Fox over their deliberate telecasting of misinformation about the results of the 2020 election and claims that part of the problem could be in Dominion’s voting machines without a shred of evidence, we read about Carlson’s texts and emails back and forth knowing that Trump had lost, even as he sidled up to the microphone and in front of the cameras spuriously swore the opposite.  Seems the owner of Fox, Rupert Murdoch, and most of the on-air and behind the camera folks all knew this was baloney, but their greed for the fast buck and their fear that even farther right heavy breathers like Newsmax and others would take audience share from them, sent them deep into the cheap seats with Tucker Carlson leading the way.

He was OK with his nose growing, as long as he held his place at the top of the garbage heap.  It turns out that one of the dirty deals that Keven McCarthy made with the far-right caucus in the House to get the votes to be the Speaker, was an exclusive release of over 41,000 hours of videotape to Carlson of the January 6th insurrection.  Predictably, Carlson understood his charge completely and has now channeled videoscammer-in-chief James O’Keefe and selectively pieced together bits here and there to make January 6th seem like a picnic in the park with the biggest issue being whether or not anyone forgot to bring the mustard.

You know it’s really way past the borderland, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Darth Vader of contemporary political life, calls foul on Carlson and Fox for broadcasting this swill and trying to whitewash the Capitol takeover.  As the Washington Post reports,

…McConnell denounced the leadership of the conservative cable network for airing the entertainer’s vision of the assault on the Capitol, holding up a letter from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger that accused Carlson’s show of being “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions.”  “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here in the Capitol thinks,” McConnell told reporters.  Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), once a vocal supporter of former president Donald Trump who has consistently denounced the attack, was blunt in his assessment of Carlson’s narrative: “To somehow put [Jan. 6] in the same category as a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie.”

It’s like a falling out among thieves.  Speaker McCarthy is now in a spit fight of his own making within his own party.  He’s such a coward that he claims he didn’t watch the show.  Senators are calling for release of the tapes to other networks.  Even Louisiana’s Senator Kennedy and Texas Senator Cruz, both far right fanboys, claimed January 6th was an “abomination.”

None of this is pretty.  As a child throughout the Cold War, I can remember civics and history teachers telling us how communist propaganda specialized in the “big lie”, holding that if a lie was repeated often enough, people would believe it was the truth.  This seems to be the conservative Republican tactical playbook now, and that’s tragic for American democracy.