The New York Times’ Hysterical (And Unethical) Hit Piece On Tucker Carlson

So many things jump to mind as Ethics Alarms considers the astounding front page attack on Fox New pundit Tucker Carlson in today’s Sunday Times, preceded by the article’s online release yesterday, first among them being “Stop making me defend Tucker Carlson!” Tucker Carlson is an unethical, dishonest, ambitious and cynical pundit whose sincerity and and integrity are ephemeral at best. I learned this long ago when he was still wearing bow ties to signal his conservatism, engaged in such activities as falling asleep on “Fox and Friends” and seeding his conservative news and commentary website The Daily Caller with soft porn to goose traffic. I won’t watch Carlson’s show unless I have to for Ethics Alarms purposes, and then only via videos.

Carlson has increasingly become a demagogue as his ratings have soared. Yet Ethics Alarms has condemned the efforts by progressives (you know: anti-free speech advocates) to bring him down and end his ability to counter the 95%-5% mainstream media pro-Left bias by employing boycotts of his sponsors. I am confident that Tucker, like Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olberman, Melissa Harris Perry, Dan Rather, Glenn Beck and other ethically inert media supernovas will eventually be exposed, disgraced, or self-destruct in an overload of narcissism and arrogance. It is almost inevitable.

Nevertheless, the unrestrained Times piece is the Dean Scream of progressive mainstream media fury over the fact that it no longer can control what Americans know and think. It is headlined in the print edition “American Nationalist,” which the Times appears to assume its readers will respond to as they would to “American Nazi.” Nationalism is commonly defined (by sources that are not politically committed to making the definition repugnant) as promoting the interests of one’s nation  and the goal of maintaining that nation’s culture, independence and sovereignty. The Horror. The fact that the Times is so certain that being identified as a nationalist is so damning might be more significant than the attack itself.

The sub-head is “How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable.” The article takes up 25% of the Times Sunday front page, then continues inside the A Section for six—-SIX!—more full pages. This is the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine that the Times has devoted more ink to any news event but the invasion. There were only a couple of editions during the peak of the Times panic-mongering over the Wuhan virus that its pandemic coverage was so massive. Yes, Tucker Carlson is thought to be as dangerous and sinister by the flagship Democratic Party propaganda organ as a world-wide plague , or a deadly unprovoked invasion.

But wait, there’s more! As insanely excessive as today’s assault is, it is only Part 1! There is also a Part 2 and a Part 3,  which the Times will roll out in its print edition starting tomorrow.

Here is the tenor and substance of Part I in this section of an early paragraph:

…Mr. Carlson has constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news — and also, by some measures, the most successful. Though he frequently declares himself an enemy of prejudice — “We don’t judge them by group, and we don’t judge them on their race,” Mr. Carlson explained to an interviewer a few weeks before accusing impoverished immigrants of making America dirty — his show teaches loathing and fear. Night after night, hour by hour, Mr. Carlson warns his viewers that they inhabit a civilization under siege — by violent Black Lives Matter protesters in American cities, by diseased migrants from south of the border, by refugees importing alien cultures, and by tech companies and cultural elites who will silence them, or label them racist, if they complain.

The Times states these issues, which Carlson does often focus upon, as if they are the fever dreams of a madman. In fact and in truth, the United States culture and values—“civilization” if you prefer—are under siege: most of the news media sees its role as denying and dismissing that reality until the siege has succeeded. Black Lives Matter rioters (not just protesters) have intimidated American cities with threats of violence and actual violence. Illegal aliens (the current cover-word being used as “disinformation” is “migrants”) from south of the border are a health hazard, but more crucially an assault on the rule of law and American sovereignty);  refugees importing alien cultures are a problem worthy of alarm ever since the process of assimilation began being undermined and attacked during the Carter administration, and tech companies, universities, social media, and other institutions–you know, “elites”?— are attempting to silence opposing voices or label them racist.

Talk about lack of self-awareness! The Times tars Carlson as racist even while mocking his contention that the progressive forces the Times is allied with responds to criticism by labeling dissenters as racists. Wow.

Here’s another of the many mixed blessings of writing ethics alarms: the claim that Carlson’s show could be “the most racist show in the history of cable news” is so outrageous that I would quit reading and use the paper to wrap Spuds’ morning ablutions if Ethics Alarms didn’t beckon. Carlson’s rhetoric has occasionally smacked of racism, or at least bigotry, as in the episode I wrote about in March. 

However, Carlson doesn’t even run the most racist show on cable right now, much less in “the history of cable.” CNN and MSNBC are teeming with anti-white racism that is so malign and intentional that the regular outbursts by Don Lemons, Joy Reid, and others can’t be excused as mistakes or gaffes. They are routine and unapologetic. They just don’t count because the slurs are directed at whites.

The Part I hit job is filled with slimey advocacy masquerading as reporting. There are a lot of graphs and charts, with slanted and intellectually dishonest analysis. A chart showing that Carlson’s opening monologues—a bit he lifted from previous Fox News Bloviating Champ Bill O’Reilly, but Carlson is better at it—have grown longer is supposed to demonstrate that his show is an “echo chamber.” It highlights Tucker’s longest opening statement, which was “railing” against “The Black Lives Matter protest movement.” Racist! Except that we now know the “movement” is a racist, Marxist scam that has cost billions, killed many, and further divided the nation. Carlson deserves credit for figuring this out so quickly. It should have been the longest monologue. Good for him.

Moreover, the fact that the opening statements are longer than they were when he started reflects the fact that 1) he’s gotten better at them  2) his audience likes them, and 3) they stir up controversy. Rush Limbaugh’s show was nothing but a monologue. So what? And perhaps it is unkind to mention it, but when a Times chart purports to show that Carlson’s “monologues have grown longer yet the longest was two years ago (and second and third place more than a year ago), a verdict of confirmation bias is warranted.

Even more dishonest is the “echo chamber chart” showing that fewer and fewer guests on Tucker’s show disagree with him. This is because Carlson is a better debater than any TV pundit, for the first three years of the show, he made progressive guests look foolish. These were popular and triumphant moments for Carlson that built the viewership, and the word went out that challenging him on the air was too risky. Does the Times seriously think Tucker or his producers are at fault for Jen Psaki, or Adam Schiff, or Hillary Clinton, or Nikole Hannah-Jones, or Dean Baquet, or Paul Krugman not being guests on the show?

Well, I read it so you don’t have to, but go ahead if your sock drawer is in order.

A few of those other thoughts that went through my mind…

  • This is a Streisand Effect bonanza for Fox News and Tucker.
  • The desperation of Democrats and their minions, allies and fellow travelers as November looms is palpable. They are trying everything. The Times spending so much time and energy trying to take down a single conservative cheerleader as if he were some kind of threat to the nation is more pathetic than alarming.
  • Imagine: the Times never launched such an extensive barrage against Father Coughlin, Joe McCarthy, Hughie Long, or George Wallace.
  • A series like this one is the New York Times writing “This is a progressive mouthpiece and we are so biased we can’t help ourselves!” in the sky. At times like these, no pun intended, I genuinely miss our departed New York Times enabler and apologist. It would have been fun watching him spin this.
  • It is incredible, is it not, that the same week the government revealed that it was establishing a virtual Ministry of Truth headed by a woman who claimed that the Hunter Biden laptop story was a “Russian hoax” and progressives went bonkers over the prospect that Elon Musk would stop censoring Biden critics, Donald Trump,  conservatives, and the New York Post when it breaks a story that casts suspicion on a Democratic President, the Times would impugn Tucker Carlson for stating that “cultural elites” silence their adversaries.
  • “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!”

9 thoughts on “The New York Times’ Hysterical (And Unethical) Hit Piece On Tucker Carlson

  1. I have spent a lot of time lately trying to figure out what is going on with the media and the cultural dynamics in the US. At first glance, or even on second or third glance, it all looks like some sort of conspiracy to remake the culture of this country in order to prepare it for a cultural revolution. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, because the scale of what is going on is to large. How are so many people so committed to such a counterproductive and destructive goal? There has to be something deeper going on.

    I ran across a blog post yesterday that I think explains some of the phenomena we are currently seeing. The post is examining heresy and the sudden rise in people trying to quell free speech they don’t like.

    “ You need two ingredients for a wave of intolerance: intolerant people, and an ideology to guide them. The intolerant people are always there. They exist in every sufficiently large society. That’s why waves of intolerance can arise so suddenly; all they need is something to set them off.

    I’ve already written an essay describing the aggressively conventional-minded. The short version is that people can be classified in two dimensions according to (1) how independent- or conventional-minded they are, and (2) how aggressive they are about it. The aggressively conventional-minded are the enforcers of orthodoxy.”

    It’s a good article, although only tangentially related to ethics.

    Applying this theory to our current cultural uproar makes a lot of things make more sense. For a long time, the left was characterized as being the independent thinkers. I have a hypothesis that over the last 15 years or so, they have solidified their thinking and morphed into the conventional thinkers of society and begun aggressively defending what they consider to be the cultural norms.

    Now, in one sense, this seems not to make sense, because to most people what they are arguing for is radical changes to our society, not norms. About 70% of the US has a completely different view of what the cultural norms are, and view the left as aggressively fighting for some radical new ideas invented by independent thinkers with too little common sense…or as having adopted some insane new secular religion. I don’t think that is the case.

    It is frequently pointed out that the radical left mostly lives in geographical proximity to one another, interacts only with people from their own ideological bubble, and has walled themselves off online from other ideologies. I would posit that they are not thinking independently at all. What’s more, technology has created walled off virtual incubators that allow people to literally live in virtual realities until their thinking has hardened into an unconventional conventionality, which means even people living in traditional cultural geographic locations can be recoded to believe in the alternate conventionality.

    Who would wall themselves off in an alternate virtual reality? Unhappy people. People who were social outcasts in the traditional conventionality. Those with social insecurities or awkwardness or who never feel like they fit in. These individuals moved themselves virtually out of the real world and into the virtual world. They lived in places like Tumblr, and created entirely new societal norms, values and rules for themselves that they are now trying to impose on everyone else. These are the places people like Taylor Lorenz come from.

    Politicians and major corporations didn’t conspire with these people, they merely noticed them and decided to exploit them to create favorable political or business environments for themselves. So what looks like a conspiracy is merely typical political/business behavior.

    Legacy media outlets, television and movie producers, academia and all the other cultural levers have been swallowed up by this new conventionality, and the rest of population is having it imposed on them from above with various degrees of success.

    I say all of this to argue against the idea that the New York Times is being dishonest. I don’t think they are. From the point of view of the new conventionality, it is everyone in the traditional conventionality who are acting radically. They truly believe the things they are saying, and cannot fathom how anyone else could see things differently. They are the aggressively conventional minded from a different conventional paradigm.

    They don’t see themselves as being unethical when they say and do the things they do, because they are merely defending their traditional culture. Logic and rational debate fail with them because it is basically an argument over cultural norms. Using logic to argue against cultural norms is a very difficult proposition. Combating their ideas may need independent minded approaches. People tend not to think very deeply about cultural norms, they are simply there and have always been that way, so they must be good. It doesn’t really matter that things haven’t actually always been this way, because 15 years is enough for young people never to have known anything else.

    • “Logic and rational debate fail with them because it is basically an argument over cultural norms. Using logic to argue against cultural norms is a very difficult proposition. Combating their ideas may need independent minded approaches.”

      That’s where I come in. Deconstructing culture is what I do. With the right foundational concepts, it’s incredibly easy to identify and compile cultural values. Then it’s just a matter of applying the deconstruction method.

      1. Make them comfortable. Affirm the constructive aspects of their values and assure them that we want to keep those as much as possible.

      2. Make them think. Explore with them the potential adverse consequences of their methods. Introduce other values and methods that they may want to learn from. Advise on the boundaries others have set and how those people will respond if those boundaries are violated. Point out that other people have recognizable values and can be negotiated with, yielding possibilities that are better than either group had in mind originally.

      3. Make them choose. Knowing the risks and costs of their actions, and how others may respond to them, the person you’re speaking with must take responsibility for how they move forward. That usually makes people think twice about their assumptions. It doesn’t occur to most people that they’re actually responsible for any negative consequences of doing what they think is the right thing, the best way they know how.

      I’m writing an article series showing how conversations would go if people talked about values instead of lobbing “facts” and insults at each other. This year I’m working to build a business and community around facilitating communication on what matters most.

      What do you think?

      • NP and EC,

        Excellent points. People like Carlson terrify the Left because he is not afraid to expose the Left’s messaging and treat it with the derision it justly deserves.

        As for the Times, they must not watch too many if his shows. They should. They might learn something.


        • jvb,
          Totally agree and moreover, the fascist Left is less upset about the derision per se and more concerned that people are *listening* to Carlson by the mega millions every damn night. Losing control of their messaging has them staying up late in the war room trying to figure out how best to silence Mr. Carlson because they certainly cannot compete.
          The dude already had to move once because he dares to expose the evil that lurks within the neo-fascist Left. I am glad he is paid well.

      • I think your approach would work very well in a face to face situation where there was opportunity for a real discussion. What concerns me is that I think a lot of these new cultures are springing up online where that is not possible.

        Online communities can do things that real life communities cannot do. You cannot pick up an entire town and move it because people with ideas you don’t like moved in, but you can pickup an online community from one platform and move it to another. Unwelcome voices can be easily deplatformed, banned, blocked or otherwise jettisoned. I think some of the attacks on free speech are coming from individuals who are accustomed to being able to silence people with incompatible viewpoints through technological means, and want to hit the mute button real life. Technological tools may also be the impetus for the new movement towards segregation. Likeminded communities are used to being able to make ideological safe spaces for themselves on the internet where interlopers can be easily prevented from entering. They want to duplicate those sort of communities in the real world.

        The confluence of post-modernism, left wing ideology and the internet seems to be a toxic combination. I’m not sure what approach would push things into a more productive and less toxic direction. These communities are mostly hidden in the bowels of the internet, so even finding them may prove difficult, much less interacting with them.

        • There are several options for dealing with that problem.

          Firstly, making people comfortable reduces their desire to retreat to a safe space, or their desire to kick someone out of a safe space. There’s an art to introducing different perspectives without triggering people’s fear of dissent, but it is doable.

          Secondly, when people learn how to positively stand for something constructive instead of just being more moderate versions of passionate extremists, that goes a long way towards showing the safe space people that they’re actually missing out on important values.

          Thirdly, I envision people in the future unofficially infiltrating dogmatic communities of all kinds in order to subtly lead them to challenge their own assumptions.

          There are probably more ways to use the toolbox of foundational concepts to address this issue, but those are the first ones that come to mind.

          I’ve seen it work. I know it’s possible. Now we just need to demonstrate that for other people.

          Is there a context you think would make a good case study?

        • For the people who isolate themselves from other perspectives, I think some unofficial infiltration into their “safe spaces” is in order. If it’s done skillfully and subtly enough, it’s possible to inspire them to question things they take for granted. Empathy mindset is the key, to make people comfortable enough that they can think about things that would normally cause their mind to have an allergic reaction. I expect subverting echo chambers and dedogmatizing people will become a hobby for charismatic critical thinkers in the future. What do you think?

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