What an obnoxious, irresponsible, idiot. Worst of all, he’s made me agree with the hacks at “Above the Law”…
Here’s what Carlson said in his “opening statement” (pompous enough for you?) on his popular Fox News show two nights ago:
So is Ketanji Brown Jackson, a name that even Joe Biden has trouble pronouncing, one of the top legal minds in the entire country? We certainly hope so, it’s Biden’s right, appointing her is his one of his gravest constitutional duties. So it might be time for Joe Biden to let us know what Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT score was. Wonder how she did on the LSATs, why won’t he tell us that? It would seem like Americans in a democracy have a right to know that and much more before giving her a lifetime appointment, but we didn’t hear that.”
This was late crossing my consciousness, perhaps because I do not trust Tucker Carlson and will not watch his allegedly sincere rants because we know, or should, that he is more interested in ratings than principles. The idea of prominent conservatives suddenly deciding the the U.S. can learn from Hungary, of all places, is ridiculous on its face, but I did not realize the extent to which the current wokeness epidemic has driven many conservatives and Republicans into the mouth of madness.
Carlson has been broadcasting nightly from Budapest, as he has interviewed and celebrated Hungary’s corrupt and authoritarian leader, Viktor Orban.There is no excuse for this, but Carlson thinks Fox News viewers will approve of his: Orban has defied the European Union on the issue of accepting illegal immigrants and refugees, and has installed harsh measures against trans individuals and LGBTQ people generally. He also has taken action to intimidate and control the news media. In embracing such a leader, Carlson (and others—I’ll get to them shortly) is realizing the worst stereotypes of conservative Americans.
Orban is a central-casting anti-democracy thug. Last year, he pushed the Hungarian parliament, which his party controls, to pass laws creating a state of emergency without a time limit, granting him the ability to rule by decree, suspending elections to fill positions that have become conveniently vacant between regular elections, and permitting prison sentences for spreading “fake news.” But his real appeal to Carlson and the Cro Magnon subspecies of conservatives is his persecution of gays and trans individuals. In 2020, Orbán’s government ended legal recognition of transgendered people, and his party has proposed legislation to ban “LGBtQ positive content” in movies, books or advertising.
Gee, what a great guy! Do conservatives comprehend the cognitive dissonance scale at all? This autocratic creep is so underwater on the scale, I’d say a minus hundred or more…
…that he would drag the Puppies Are Adorable Party below zero if it endorsed him. But on their own currently warped scale, conservatives’ terror over losing such culture war battles as the same-sex marriage debate and illegal immigration restrictions has wokeness so low on the their scale that an aspiring dictator who opposes gays and illegals appears to be in positive territory.
Apparently the New York Times got tired of Tucker Carlson’s two faces, so media reporter Ben Smith did a hit piece on the Fox News star. He revealed that Tucker, despite his oft-expressed disdain for the mainstream media and its reporters, “spends his time when he’s not denouncing the liberal media trading gossip with them. He’s the go-to guy for sometimes-unflattering stories about Donald J. Trump and for coverage of the internal politics of Fox News (not to mention stories about Mr. Carlson himself).” Smith adds, “I won’t talk here about any off-the-record conversations I may have had with him. But 16 other journalists (none from The Times; it would put my colleagues in a weird position if I asked them) told me on background that he has been, as three of them put it, ‘a great source.’”
In other words, Carlson is a hypocritical double agent. condemning the mainstream media on his TV show and doing favors for them behind the scenes. One especially nauseating tale is how Tucker related a private conversation with President Trump that made Carlson look good and Trump look foolish for an coming book by the Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost.” Since only two people were on the line, and Trump didn’t reveal it, Carlson is the only possible source. But the whole article is nauseating, including the casual way all the participants excuse such “double games” as business as usual. Everybody does it, you see, so it’s OK. “It’s so unknown in the general public how much he plays both sides,” one reporter for a prominent publication who gets dirt from Carlson regularly told Smith. Another Washington journalist explained how Carlson benefits by assisting the same reporters he says he “hates,” saying, “If you open yourself up as a resource to mainstream media reporters, you don’t even have to ask them to go soft on you.”
Ethics Alarms has to comment on the truly irresponsible and destructive ideological posturing by the two ends of the political spectrum regarding the Wuhan virus vaccine. The intellectually dishonest sniping from the Left and the Right would be humorous if it wasn’t so potentially destructive. Here is a brief summary of the situation, which nobody seems capable of stating clearly.
Because of many factors. the United States allowed a virulent virus to devastate its economy, education, politics and culture in ways that, like those old Chinese finger traps, make it difficult to back out of. This should not have happened, but it did, and that’s all that matters. The situation as it is cannot be sustained, so it is crucial to minimize the threat of the pandemic as quickly as possible. This means that either a cure or an effective preventive measure must be available, and since no cure seems on the horizon, a vaccine is the nation’s best shot (no pun intended.) The damage to the country and culture worsens every day, so the vaccine has been rushed into production and use far more quickly than usual health protocols would normally require. It is a utilitarian trade-off, and the appropriate one.
The more people vaccinated, the better. It’s as simple as that. And since all vaccines kill a small percentage of people, the more Americans who are vaccinated, the more people are going to die. It’s also as simple as that. AND because this vaccine (actually vaccines, plural) have not been as thoroughly tested as vaccines normally are, a higher percentage of those vaccinated for the Wuhan virus will probably die than with other vaccines. That’s simple too. Unfortunate, but simple.
So the responsible, patriotic, rational act is to get vaccinated.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have been unreasonably suspicious of all vaccines, and many more have become quite reasonably suspicious of the CDC and government health edicts, not to mention the hysterical news media, during the pandemic, because, to be blunt, their advice, statements and demands have been too frequently dishonest, hypocritical, mistaken or wrong. The Left—Democrats, progressives and the news media—being increasingly inclined to totalitarian methods these days and reliant on telling the peasants to trust them when they appear to be more untrustworthy than ever, are deliberately refusing to be transparent about the Wuhan vaccine risks in order to maximize the number of American willing to take it. The Right—including conservatives, libertarians, flat earthers and a lot of Republicans—are reacting to their ingrained distrust of the Left—not that it isn’t deserved— by resisting the vaccine and sliding into conspiracy theories. Conservative media, playing to their market, are encouraging this, because that’s how they get eyeballs and clicks….and money. All of this threatens to cause the damage wreaked by the pandemic to persist, or even get worse.
Yes, it’s an Ethics Train Wreck, a sub-train wreck of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck, which I hereby dub the Pandemic Vaccine Ethics Train Wreck.
With that, here are eight ethics observations on Fox News provocateur Tucker Carlson’s’ recent phillipic about the vaccine. The full text of Carlson’s statement follows them.
Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson thought it would be cute last night to have his senior producer “perform a dramatic reading of the most titillating moments” from one of the pulpy romance novels Georgia politician Stacey Abrams wrote before she started running for office. The excerpt was objectively awful, but that’s irrelevant: Carlson’s stunt was an unethical cheap shot, and the equivalent of an ad hominem attack. Abrams’ bad prose tell us nothing about the validity of her political positions, and bringing them into the discussion is designed to mislead.
I hate this tactic, and I have condemned it before regardless of who was the target and who was the slime artist. Minnesota Republicans tried to discredit Al Franken when he was first running for U.S. Senate by digging up a sexually-provocative humorous piece he had written for “Playboy”—you know, the epitome of evil—eight years before when he was a full-time comedy writer. “When Republicans do things like this,” I wrote on the old Ethics Scoreboard, “they insult voters by assuming that they are narrow-minded and illiterate, celebrate humorlessness, and willfully blur the difference between entertainment and public policy.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson reacted to the week’s news about the pause on the Johnson & Johnson Wuhan virus vaccine to suggest to his viewers that the government may know that they don’t work but are purposely “not telling you that.” During a general rant about vaccines, Fauci and related matters, Carlson concluded,
“Experts say it is not entirely clear when it will be considered okay for people who are fully vaccinated to stop wearing masks.At some point, no one is asking this but everyone should be, what is this about? If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people still banned from living normal lives? Honestly, what’s the answer to that, it doesn’t make any sense at all! If the vaccine is effective, there’s no reason for people who’ve received a vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact. So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that. Well, you’d hate to think that especially if you’ve gotten two shots but what’s the other potential explanation? We can’t think of one.”
Tucker’s not thinking very hard. 1) The vaccines are not 100% effective. 2) New strains may not be prevented by the current vaccines. 3) If doctors could have their way, everyone would wear masks all the time anyway, because doctors don’t care about smiles, faces, and social health. The masks have essentially prevented the seasonal flu this year, so doctors think they are wonderful. “What’s the downside?,” they think. Doctors don’t think masks making life suck is a downside, you see. This is why the government should never put public policy in the hands of doctors.
“So we’ve got new hairstyles and new maternity flight suits, pregnant women are going to fight our wars.It’s a mockery of the U.S. military. While China’s military becomes more masculine as it assembles the world’s largest Navy, our military needs to become more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore because men and women no longer exist. The bottom line is it’s out of control. And the Pentagon’s going along with this. This is a mockery of the U.S. Military and its core mission which is winning wars.”
The ethical issue here does not require debating Carlson’s point, but for the record, the mission is what matters, not who performs it or what group they “identify” with. If the nation would be best defended by an all-female armed forces, then all-female armed forces is what we should have. If all-trans would do the trick, great; I’m on board. If clinical schizophrenics were found to be the best soldiers, draft them all, I say, and make sanity a disqualifying feature for volunteers. Prioritizing demographics over efficiency and effectiveness is incompetent and irresponsible, and while the U.S. can survive incompetence in all other aspects of our government, and does, we cannot tolerate it in the military.
But I digress. The ethical issue here is that someone at the Pentagon (or <cough> elsewhere) told the military to attack Carlson, a civilian commentator giving his opinion, for his criticism.
1. Have you been following the Taylor Lorenz affair? Let me see if I can bring you up to date without spending more time than is justified, since she is, all things considered, trivial. She is a New York Times culture and tech reporter who has botched things up enough to be fired under previous standards of journalism (which now has no standards.) She has been repeatedly caught fabricating claims about public figure: in the last six weeks she twicepublicly lied about Netscape founder Marc Andreessen: once claiming she overheard him he used the word “retarded” in a Clubhouse room (he hadn’t, but so what if he had?) and later accusing him of plotting with a white nationalist to attack her, which also didn’t happen. She also often uses her platform with the Times to attack private citizens by accusing them of harboring non-acceptable beliefs. Last week, she took to Twitter on National Women’s Day to claim victim status, writing on Twitter,
“For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment….it is not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I have had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life…No one should have to go through this.”
This, in turn, triggered Tucker Carlson, in his Fox News show, to refer to Lorenz in a segment on how powerful people like Meghan Markle got away with playing victim. He mocked Lorenz’s tweets in light of her position as a star reporter for the Times when much of the nation is out of work. “Lots of people are suffering right now,” Carlson said. “But no one is suffering more than Taylor Lorenz.”
The Times, incredibly, accused Carlson in a public statement of unleashing “a wave of harassment and vitriol” at “a talented New York Times journalist,” and concluded with, “Journalists should be able to do their jobs without facing harassment.”
Bulgaria has a holiday called “July Morning” that celebrates freedom, friendship, and love of life.
Maybe I’ll move to Bulgaria…
1. I cannot believe this doesn’t alienate more people than it pleases. I watched the Red Sox-Orioles game last night to open the Strangest Baseball Season Ever in Boston, and would have enjoyed it completely ( the Sox won 13-2) had I not had to constantly avert my eyes from the Red Sox management’s ostentatious virtue signaling, if you can call it that, since pandering to Black Lives Matter is far from virtuous.
Not only was the special BLM MLB logo at the back of the pitcher’s mound (BLM MLB is a palindrome!), but the full Black Lives Matter name was emblazoned on a banner, about 250 feet long, across the empty bleachers.
I’d love to know how many Red Sox executives, or if any of them, actually know what the “movement” the team is pimping for intends. My guess is that the decision to promote BLM was a cynical go along to get along decision that had nothing to do with substance, but rather was made in fear and expediency.
2. On the Fox News harassment accuser. The sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Tucker Carlson by Cathy Areu now appears to have fatal flaws. Continue reading →
1. When late is worse than never. Reports say that the Washington Redskins will officially announce that they are changing their name, to what nobody knows, not even them. The team’s obnoxious owner, Dan Snyder, who has run the once cultishly popular and successful NFL franchise into the ground during his incompetent stewardship, had memorably said that he would never change the controversial team name, unquestionably the most politically incorrect in all of sports. That pledge did not anticipate his league going nuts and supine before the George Floyd Freakout, to the point that there may be mandatory kneeling by the time the 2020 season opens.
The attack on the Redskins name was always about power, as has been the decades-long assault on all team nicknames with ethnic references. Survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of Native Americans don’t care; the idea is to bring corporate interests to heel, and then aim at the next, more substantive objective. The competent way for a team to handle this problem is to quietly retire a problematic name like “Redskins” (or a anachronistically provocative logo like the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo) when the heat is off, making it clear that the change is volitional and not compelled. Then the social justice mob members can’t puff out their little pigeon chests with pride and think “I did this! What’s the next target?”
I don’t care what the D.C. team’s name is. I do care about dishonest and illogical arguments, which is what have been mounted against this name for as long as I can remember. That’s why the Redskins and related matters have so often been a topic here.
I did laugh yesterday when I read a comment predicting that Snyder would announce that the new name would be “the Washington Murderous Savages”… Continue reading →