Mitch McConnell says Tucker Carlson and Trump’s waffling delayed crucial Ukraine aid

“At a press conference, the Kentucky Republican pinpointed two men responsible for that delay: former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and former President Donald Trump.
“The demonization of Ukraine began by Tucker Carlson, who in my opinion ended up where he should have been all along, which is interviewing Vladimir Putin,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters. “And so he had an enormous audience, which convinced a lot of rank and file Republicans that maybe this was a mistake.”

“I think the former president had sort of mixed views on” Ukraine aid, he added, before alluding to the failed attempt to add border security provisions to the bill, “which requires you to deal with Democrats, and then a number of our members thought it wasn’t good enough.”

“And then our nominee for president didn’t seem to want us to do anything at all,” McConnell said. “That took months to work our way through it.”

The top Senate Republican has been an ardent supporter of Ukraine aid and battled a slew of conservative voices who have sought to block it. He called the expected passage of the bill “an important day for America, and a very important day of freedom-loving countries around the world.””

https://www.yahoo.com/news/mcconnell-says-tucker-carlson-trumps-223340768.html

Tucker Dreams of Moscow

“If you are a journalist, life in Moscow means constant fear of reprisal; pissing off the state means certain imprisonment. If you enjoy gay bars or other forms of LGBT-oriented nightlife, get ready for police raids. If you’re an evangelical protestant, you will not be permitted to live out your faith. (Over the last decade, more than 500 Jehovah’s Witnesses have been convicted of or charged with extremism, with many serving sentences.) And, if you’re Ukrainian, well, sorry about your family getting brutally slaughtered and your homeland getting desecrated; hope you enjoy the clean subway system nonetheless.”

“One reason why we don’t have clean streets in New York the way they do in Singapore is because we don’t cane people for minor crimes. We don’t give people the death penalty for manufacturing drugs (200 grams of cannabis resin warrants execution, if you’re not careful), nor do we lock people in jail for a decade for the purported crime of getting high. We don’t crack down on jaywalking, spitting, or cigarette-smoking the way they do. We also don’t tend to use corporal punishment for our children.
Carlson’s point is fine that people care about quality of life issues, that Skid Row in Los Angeles and subway-station junkies in New York City are embarrassments, and that our city officials ought to be able to clean up the streets to improve the lives of taxpaying residents—not just when Xi Jinping comes to town. You might think existing public disorder needs to be curbed, but there are many possible ways of doing so that could still protect civil liberties and wouldn’t turn American cities into authoritarian hellholes. (In fact, we should probably turn to Russian out-migration numbers to see whether residents agree with Carlson’s assessment.)

I simply do not think we need to hand it to authoritarians under any circumstances or speak in flattering terms about Putin’s ability to govern. It’s not that compliments like these ought to be haram; it’s that Carlson is examining only one side of the ledger, and missing all the ways Russian laws rain down brutality on the innocent and undeserving. Just ask some of the tourists who’ve had their stays in Russia involuntarily prolonged, like Brittney Griner.”

https://reason.com/2024/02/13/tucker-dreams-of-moscow/

Tucker Carlson’s Sycophantic Interview With Trump Illustrates the Advantages of Skipping the Debates

“Whatever you think of Donald Trump, we know what Carlson thinks, thanks to private communications that Dominion Voting Systems uncovered through discovery in its defamation lawsuit against Carlson’s former employer, which agreed to pay $788 million rather than defend its promotion of Trump’s stolen-election fantasy. “There isn’t really an upside to Trump,” Carlson said in a January 4, 2021, text message to his staff, describing “the last four years” as “a disaster.” Back then, Carlson was eager to be rid of Trump: “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait. I hate him passionately.” The day after the January 6, 2021, riot by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol, Carlson privately called him “a demonic force” and “a destroyer.”

But that was then. Carlson, like the GOP politicians whose phoniness he claims to despise, has adjusted to the reality that Trump remains stubbornly popular among Republicans. He is even willing to reinforce the election conspiracy theory that he publicly called unfounded and privately called a lie. Carlson’s current coziness with Trump was on vivid display Wednesday night, starting with the question of why the “far-and-away front-runner,” whose views are of such keen interest to voters, decided to skip the Republican debate in Milwaukee and any other similar forum in which he might have to defend those views or his record as president against competitors keen to make a dent in his commanding lead.

Trump’s answer was that felt no need to go through that ordeal, precisely because he is so far ahead. Why put up with “all these people screaming at me, shouting questions at me”—which Trump contradictorily claimed he “love[s] answering”—when he could sit down with an interviewer who is desperate to please him, especially in light of the criticism revealed in those embarrassing messages? Anyway, Trump said, he would probably get better ratings “using this crazy forum” than he would on Fox News, which televised the debate that he skipped. “I’m grateful that you did,” Carlson replied.”

“Trump said Biden “is worse mentally than he is physically,” as evidenced by the fact that he “can’t put two sentences together.” Trump, by contrast, can put many, many sentences together, but they do not necessarily make sense, bear any logical relationship to each other, or stand up to critical scrutiny. Fortunately for Trump, Carlson was offering none of that.”

https://reason.com/2023/08/24/tucker-carlsons-sycophantic-interview-with-trump-illustrates-the-advantages-of-skipping-the-debates/

Tucker Carlson Lends Credence to the Stolen-Election Story He Dismissed As a Lie

“Based on his private statements to colleagues, we know that former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson did not believe Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s wild claims about systematic fraud in the 2020 presidential election. “Sidney Powell is lying,” Carlson flatly stated in a November 16, 2020, text message to fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham that came to light as a result of the defamation lawsuit that Dominion Voting Systems filed against the channel. Ingraham agreed that Powell could not be trusted: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy [Giuliani].”

We also know, again thanks to discovery in the Dominion lawsuit, that Carlson had a low opinion of Donald Trump. In a November 10, 2020, text message, he called Trump’s decision not to attend Biden’s inauguration “hard to believe,” “so destructive,” and “disgusting.” He was more broadly critical in a January 4, 2021, text message to his staff. “There isn’t really an upside to Trump,” he said, describing “the last four years” as “a disaster.” Carlson was eager for a change: “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait. I hate him passionately.” The day after the January 6 Capitol riot by Trump supporters, Carlson privately called him “a demonic force” and “a destroyer.”

Carlson, who launched a new show on Twitter after Fox News fired him in April, was singing a different tune.. t the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. “Why were they so mad?” he said during a giddy, meandering 44-minute speech at the pro-Trump gathering, referring to the Capitol rioters. “Why do they take the bus from Tennessee to go jump up and down in front of the Capitol?” The answer, he said, is that they were frustrated by the patronizing, dismissive response to their legitimate concerns about how the presidential election had been conducted.

Carlson suggested it was laughably implausible that Joe Biden had received “81 million votes”—”15 million more than Barack Obama,” which “seems like a lot”—especially “considering [that] he didn’t campaign and he can’t talk.” But instead of taking that reaction seriously, Carlson said, the political and journalistic establishment told Trump’s supporters to “settle down,” saying, “We have the source code in the voting machine software, and we’ve looked at it, and it’s totally on the level. We’ve double-checked. We wouldn’t let an electronic voting [company] hide their software from us.”

The unfounded claim that deliberately corrupted Dominion software enabled Biden to steal the election, of course, was the central issue in the company’s lawsuit against Fox, which the parties settled for a jaw-dropping $788 million shortly before Carlson got the boot. It was also the claim that Carlson privately dismissed as dangerous nonsense. “It’s unbelievably offensive to me,” he told Ingraham. “Our viewers are good people and they believe it.”

“Carlson, who was transparently craving the adulation of the Trump supporters in West Palm Beach, is reinforcing their conviction that Biden could have won the election only through a vast criminal conspiracy that Carlson publicly called unsubstantiated and privately called a lie. He apparently has swallowed any disgust he once felt at Powell et al.’s deception of “good people.””

Tucker Carlson Is Lying to You

“I have worked in English language media even longer than Carlson has, and I “understand” nothing like the totalizing constraints he describes, nor would a significant percentage of the people I have worked with. The editorial direction (not quite a set of “limits”) at an opinion magazine such as Reason, for example, tends to be tethered to a political/ideological/philosophical point of view, with content mutually understood by employer and employee alike to fit within a publicly stated organizational mission, and yet, I have for two decades felt perfectly free to explore out loud some of my least libertarian notions (including one, ironically enough, that was influenced directly by Tucker Carlson).
Reason may be on the tolerant extreme of the open-debate spectrum, but I was similarly untroubled by the specter of editorial no-fly zones at the Los Angeles Times, a newspaper that hired me after I had written a series of “Outside the Tent” columns criticizing…the Los Angeles Times. (That institutional courage to solicit internal criticism was not shared by Carlson at his own The Daily Caller: Blogger Mickey Kaus resigned from the conservative publication in 2015 after a post of his critical of Fox News was deleted on the grounds that, in Carlson’s words, as quoted by Kaus: “We can’t trash Fox on the site. I work there.”)

As the Caller example indicates, the “rule of what you can’t say” is often self-imposed, for reasons that can have more to do with narrow careerism than some broader globalist plot. As such, breaking free from presumed shackles is often as easy as just blurting out the allegedly verboten thing—not unlike Tucker Carlson’s often interesting, often exasperating television program these past seven years.

But the populist trick and conceit, one that Carlson is already ratcheting up in his new Twitter phase, is to not merely say the forbidden truth but to do so while, improbably enough, claiming that you cannot do so.”

“Thirty years ago, the main conservative critique of the mainstream media was that it was biased. Twenty or so years ago, bias had escalated into pursuing an active agenda. Now, that agenda has managed to become an all-encompassing yet secretive transpartisan snow job.

“The undeniably big topics, the ones that will define our future, get virtually no discussion at all,” Carlson postulated in his first Twitter video after being fired. “War, civil liberties, emerging science, demographic change, corporate power, natural resources. When was the last time you heard a legitimate debate about any of those issues? It’s been a long time. Debates like that are not permitted in American media. Both political parties, and their donors, have reached consensus about what benefits them, and they actively collude to shut down any conversation about it. Suddenly the United States looks very much like a one-party state.”

This seems like a good place to point out that the May issue of Reason includes debates about war, civil liberties, emerging science, demographic change, and so forth. And I’m guessing that anyone who truly believes there are no meaningful differences between the two main political parties in the U.S. did not have children attending public school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carlson’s fans, including some (masochistic?) libertarians, surely do not care that his hyperbole crosses so frequently into fantasia; what matters is that he (again, like Trump) has the right enemies—the media, the wokes, the Pentagon, Big Pharma. If the journalism profession is going to go on a “moral clarity” bender of ever-escalating pejoratives for conservatives, aggressive “deplatforming” even of elected Republicans, and enthusiastic collusion with the censorious state, what’s wrong with a little overstatement from a commentator who rightly pushes back?

Well, once you start taking seriously the idea that some puppet master or single-minded Borg is inflicting intentional wickedness on Everyman for personal profit, then all intellectual bets are off. Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat offered this ideological shorthand soon after Carlson was fired: “For any idea with an establishment imprimatur, absolute suspicion; for any outsider or skeptic, sympathy and trust. It didn’t have to be political or contemporary, either. The U.F.O. mystery? He was there for it. The Kennedy assassination and the C.I.A.? He had questions.”

Carlson these days is frequently going there, whether in sympathetic interviews with the similarly conspiratorial Robert Kennedy Jr., or just musing aloud about Building 7, all while striking the classic populist pose of betraying his class interest by spilling the insidery beans.”

“Controlling the population is the media’s “only purpose,” Carlson continued. “They’re not here to inform you….Even on the big things that really matter, like the economy and the war and COVID, things that really matter and will affect you—no, their job is not to inform you. They’re working for the small group of people who actually run the world. They’re their servants, they’re the Praetorian Guard. And we should treat them with maximum contempt, because they have earned it.”

Carlson may not want to control the population, but what he offers as a replacement sounds a lot like passive consumption of a commiserative message…from Tucker Carlson. “Where can you still find Americans saying true things?” he asked in his first post-show Twitter video. “There aren’t many places left, but there are some, and that’s enough. As long as you can hear the words, there is hope.”

And now, having earned scores of millions of dollars from corporate media, Carlson is ready to burn it all down from the outside.

“The gatekeepers are still in charge,” he lamented in his video Tuesday. “We think that’s a bad system. We know exactly how it works, and we’re sick of it….There aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining in the world, the only one, is Twitter.””

Why Tucker Carlson’s text message about “white men” matters

“In the text, Carlson describes watching a video of several Trump supporters beating up an (alleged) antifa member on the streets of Washington, DC. His reaction is nuanced: He confesses to feeling a certain vicious bloodlust while watching the video — “I really wanted them to hurt the kid” — but realizes that this is a horrific impulse that ought to concern him. “I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed,” Carlson writes.

But the most important line is one where he describes the attack in racial terms: “Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight.”

His obvious implication is that nonwhite men gang up on defenseless opponents all the time, whereas whites only commit violence honorably.”

“is it any worse than mainstreaming the “great replacement” conspiracy theory developed by white supremacists? Is it more offensive than saying immigrants make America “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided”? Is it more racist than downplaying the killings of unarmed Black men by the police, or accusing Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson (who is Black) of putting on a fake “sharecropper” accent?

Tucker has done all of these things on the air”

“A core part of Tucker Carlson’s message is that he, and his viewers, are colorblind: that they are standing up for the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. against liberals who want to polarize America along racial lines for their own nefarious purposes. “You can’t attack people, whole groups of people on the basis of their race and ethnicity. Not in the media, especially,” he said in a representative February broadcast.”

“Seeing whites as at once the master race and victims is common in racist thought. Nazi propaganda described Jews as both inferior to Aryans and their conspiratorial oppressors; modern-day white supremacists routinely warn about the prospect of “white genocide,” a specter that Carlson also invoked on his show.
But Carlson’s maneuver was to sever the theory of white victimhood from its explicit white supremacist roots. Fox viewers should stand up for white interests not because whites are the superior race, in this narrative, but because they’re being victimized by the dastardly Democrats and race-mongers who are standing in the way of racial harmony.”