For years there has been a debate about whether the hacks on Fox News actually believe the lies they tell every day. Some people think they are just spreading disinformation because it advances their right-wing agenda. Others say they are just in it for the money. For the Murdoch family that runs Fox News there’s no doubt that it’s both. But the “entertainers” on the air could swing either way.
However, a new report in the New York Times sheds some light on one of Fox’s primetime propagandists. Their Senior White Nationalist, Tucker Carlson, has emerged as the network’s foremost purveyor of unadulterated bullpucky. His strident tirades have run the gamut of conspiracy crackpottery from paranoid delusions that COVID vaccines don’t work and “they” aren’t telling you, to reckless accusations that the FBI orchestrated Trump’s Capitol Hill insurrection.
But the common thread that weaves through virtually every screwball notion Carlson disgorges is that the media is behind a coordinated plot to deceive innocent Americans by way of deliberate, manufactured falsehoods. To be fair, if he’s talking about Fox News, he’s 100% right. But suffice to say that he’s aiming his baseless invective everywhere else. And the report in the Times reveals that Carlson has been working both sides of the battle:
“Tucker Carlson of Fox News is a ‘go-to source’ for the US political media he claims to ‘hate’ and has called ‘cowards’ and ‘cringing animals not worthy of respect’ – according to a columnist for the New York Times.”
“Ben Smith, a former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, outed Carlson as ‘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)’.”
It’s good to know that while Carlson is mouthing off about how evil the establishment media is, he is simultaneously feeding them gossip behind the scenes. Never mind that most of what Carlson would have to divulge is probably untrue. After all, the lawyers for Fox News defended him (successfully) in a defamation suit by insisting that ‘no reasonable person” would believe anything he says.
So what’s in it for Carlson? Aside from the high he gets from pretending that he’s important and people care what he has to say, he also gets to build a shield against potential criticism. The Times reports that one of the news publications that Carlson spills to explained that “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.” Which makes sense. Journalists aren’t in the habit of burning their sources.
Based on his past behavior, it isn’t surprising that Carlson would be so flagrantly two-faced as he lambastes the press at every opportunity. It’s fair to assume that he is likely dishing dirt about his colleagues from one side of his crooked mouth, while sucking up to his handlers for gentle treatment from the other. So Carlson is both a backstabber and a self-serving coward. Who would have thought it?
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.