What is going on with Tucker Carlson?
In private messages unearthed by lawsuits against Fox News, the fiery host was a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump, even as he continued to praise and defend him on television.
“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights” Carlson wrote in one message, adding, “I truly can't wait.”
“We're all pretending we've got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it's been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn't an upside to Trump," Carlson wrote in another. “He’s a demonic force, a destroyer. But he’s not going to destroy us ... truly can’t wait ... I hate him passionately.”
Compare that with Carlson's most recent rhetoric, where he's attempted to paint the Jan. 6 insurrection as benign. Here's a satirical summation by USA Today columnist Rex Huppke:
"The patriotic tourists who arrived at the Capitol bearing gifts for lawmakers were the real victims. As they merrily walked up to the building, the glass on many of the exterior doors spontaneously exploded. Then U.S. Capitol Police officers came along and began slamming their faces into the fists of the innocent and unsuspecting visitors. You don’t hear anything in the mainstream press about the number of knuckle injuries suffered by these peaceful souls."
Has the debilitating effects of either amnesia, schizophrenia or denial gripped Carlson's mind and impacted his better judgment? While I am not a physician, my diagnosis would conclude that Tucker has been infected with a severe case of dishonesty.
Recently, Carlson has been discreetly choosing snippets of the Jan. 6 insurrection, probably the most documented crime in our nation’s history, from footage exclusively bestowed upon him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It's not surprising Carlson is trying his darndest to redefine the deadly narrative of that infamous day, considering his inflammatory commentary assisted in agitating the already fierce emotions of more than a few psychologically demented souls who physically and violently assaulted the U.S. Capitol.
Deceptive allegations aside, some Senate Republicans aggressively refuted Carlson's depiction of events.
"When you come into the chambers, when you start opening members' desks, when you stand up in their balcony, to somehow put that in the same category as permitted protest is just a lie," Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told reporters.
Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina called Carlson's claims "bulls--t," while Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican, admitted, "There were a lot of people in the Capitol at the time who I think we're scared for their lives."
"It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official thinks," said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.
Carlson and his Fox News colleagues are charlatans who pose a grave danger to our democracy by manipulating their news programs to weave and spew dangerous and pernicious falsehoods they themselves do not believe. The shameless group of grifters at Fox (already super wealthy people) give preference to ratings, company profits and their careers at the expense of the future of the nation.
Unfortunately, there's no use trying to convince them otherwise, since they haven't stopped scheming up mischief, paranoia and discord. Try to count the number of times Fox News hosts go after transgender rights or use the term
"woke" during a normal day of broadcasting.
To quote the music group “Cage the Elephant,” there ain’t no rest for the wicked.” The truth is Fox News, as it currently operates, is a bastion of strategic scheming and abundant lies, where virtues such as truth and honesty are antithetical to their current core mission. They should rename the network as fake, fraud or fixed news.
Copyright 2023 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate
Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.
Editor's note: This column has been updated to add credit for a satirical paragraph to USA Today's Rex Huppke.