In the summer of 2019, I ran into Tucker Carlson in the Delta terminal at Kennedy Airport in New York. I was waiting for a flight to DC and had just finished lunch at one of those places where you order at the table from an electronic menu. Just as I was about to leave, Tucker walked in and sat down quite near me. There was no mistaking who he was — he looked exactly like he does on TV, only he was wearing a red flannel lumberjack shirt. And he was alone.
My first inclination was to leave the restaurant and not bother him. But I knew that my friends would eviscerate me if reported that I had seen Tucker in the flesh and not bothered to speak to him. So, I waited for him to complete his order, then cautiously approached his table, bags in hand. “Excuse me,” I said. He looked up at me with that funny mouth-breathing look he sometimes gets on his show. I could tell that he was prepared for the worst. There had been a recent spate of liberal wackos confronting prominent conservatives in restaurants and trying to chase them out. As I looked into his eyes, I felt sympathy for the man. It was the first time I had constituted him as a human being, rather than just a talking head (albeit one I was predisposed to like).
Eager to assuage his anxiety, I immediately said, “I just want to tell you I think you’re the most courageous man on television.” At this he beamed, thanked me sincerely, then asked me about myself. Our exchange lasted perhaps for five minutes, and then his hamburger arrived. At this point I thought it would be rude to keep talking, so I said goodbye — though I had the distinct impression that he would gladly have kept on talking with me. He was that friendly. A little later I discovered we were taking the same flight, and when he saw me again he greeted me like an old friend. I used my real name when I spoke with him, by the way, and I did not mention that I write for Counter-Currents.
I couldn’t wait to get to DC and tell my story. I was met at Reagan National by my host, a family friend in his eighties and an avid FOX viewer. That evening when Tucker’s show came on at 8 PM, my host and his wife called me into the TV room crying, “It’s your friend! It’s your friend!” It was a great day for me, because if God had given me a choice of pundits I might accidentally bump into at the airport, Tucker would have topped the list (with Pat Buchanan coming in a close second). Ever since Tucker took over that time slot from Bill O’Reilly (about whom I was never particularly thrilled), I have been a faithful viewer. I was not buttering him up when I told him I thought he was the most courageous man on TV. I really did believe that. And, indeed, he really was that.
For the five and a half years his show aired, Tucker was the lone figure in corporate media who could plausibly be described as “anti-establishment.” Whenever a major story broke, I wanted to hear what two figures had to say about it: Tucker and Pat Buchanan (who, sadly, has now ceased writing his column). Conversations with friends were peppered with, “Did you watch Tucker last night?” and “Tucker says . . . .” I believe that hardly a day has gone by in the last few years that I didn’t mention him to someone or have him mentioned to me. Now, don’t misunderstand me: Tucker was not exactly my guru and I do not need to be reminded in the comments section that he is not entirely “with us.” Nobody’s perfect. But I believe that he is honest, decent, and yes, courageous.
Up until a week ago, I also naïvely believed that he was invulnerable. His show was too big to kill, I thought. After all, he had the highest-rated show in cable news — leaving all others in the dust. His dismissal was a genuine shock, and his fans want answers. In the seven days since FOX lied and said that they had “mutually agreed to part ways,” the rumors have swirled — some of them quite implausible. Perhaps the most absurd is the claim that Rupert Murdoch didn’t like Tucker’s occasional displays of mild religiosity. But, so far as absurdism goes, this theory has some stiff competition.
For example, there’s the theory that Tucker was axed because he used the word “cunt” to describe lawyer Sidney Powell. The liberal media have only indirectly referred to this, using “the c-word” instead, because, as one rag put it, “cunt” is a “highly misogynistic word.” Other equally credible news sources have said that it was a FOX News executive who Tucker referred to as a cunt. Perhaps it was both. And perhaps this “misogynism” was enough to cause FOX executives to kill the top-rated show in cable news. If so, then they really are a bunch of cunts.
But I’m not buying that one, either. There’s also the lawsuit from Abby Grossberg, the Jewess who complained, among other things, about the Christmas decorations in FOX offices. There’s not a lot to this suit, however, and Grossberg’s attorneys have admitted that she never actually met Tucker. None of these theories seem a plausible explanation for FOX’s decision; none makes any business sense. If I were running that network and my top-rated host called me a cunt, I think I would just let it slide. Of course, there is a real possibility that this is a decision that simply does not make rational sense. We’ve seen a lot of that in the business world lately — e.g., Disney’s attacks on the family, and Bud Light’s efforts to alienate its entire customer base.
We are living in a time when very little makes rational sense, and almost everyone seems just a bit crazy (including me — or so my dogs keep saying). Of course, it’s also possible that any or all of the above explanations — every one of which has been endorsed by unnamed FOX “insiders” — could be serving as “cover” for the real reason. Tucker himself seems to think that none of the above is the real reason, and I felt he made that pretty clear in the two-minute video he released a few days ago — but only if you read between the lines.
For the first time in several years, I held my nose and looked at the corporate news media to see what they had to say about the video. Honestly, I don’t know which is more shocking (and laughable): the high school newspaper level of writing, or the absence of even token attempts to conceal bias. CNN described Tucker as a “right-wing media extremist.” The Guardian described him as “spouting xenophobic and racist rhetoric on his show.” As to the video, the media seem baffled. They have referred to it as “cryptic,” “rambling,” “opaque,” a “tirade,” as well as “defiant and conspiracy laced.” The truth is that Tucker’s video is anything but a head-scratcher.
The key passage is this:
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 media. Both political parties and their donors have reached consensus on 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.
Tucker has said similar things before on his program, yet he chose to say them again in the wake of his firing — when millions were waiting with bated breath to hear from the man himself exactly why he was fired. Why? Clearly because he believes he was shut down because he is a threat to the establishment — that there was “collusion” to shut him down. He is undoubtedly correct. Strikingly, however, his tone in the video is optimistic. Perhaps the best line is “This moment is too inherently ridiculous to continue, and so it won’t.” I agree. The regime may be able to hold on well past my own demise, but it can’t last forever. No system that has set itself against nature, against decency, against law and order, and ultimately, against all the conditions of human flourishing can survive for long. The United States will ultimately go the way of the Soviet Union, another failed ideological state. And its dissolution may come just as suddenly, and just as unheralded by any of the pundits — save, perhaps, one.
Tucker goes on to say that the “people in charge” know that their grip on power is tenuous. “That’s why they’re hysterical and aggressive. They’re afraid. They’ve given up persuasion; they’re resorting to force.” Thus, we have been treated to such recent “it can’t happen here” outrages as peaceful protestors held indefinitely on cooked-up charges of “insurrection,” government agencies colluding with tech companies to shut down dissent, as well as attempts to jail — or at least legally hobble — leading populist presidential candidates.
These are clumsy, authoritarian moves and they are so obviously authoritarian you would think the establishment would be worried about optics. But this is what happens when those in power become genuinely afraid: We’ve seen this throughout history. They become reckless and overplay their hand. Tucker’s firing is just the latest example of this. You would think that the establishment would be worried that cancelling the one independent thinker in corporate media might be too obvious an admission that they “actively collude to shut down” real debate. But, again, they’re not thinking about optics. They’re afraid. And that is very encouraging.
For me, the most courageous line in Tucker’s video is “Suddenly, the United States looks very much like a one-party state.” He has said as much in the past, but — so far as I can recall — never before so bluntly and directly. Significantly, many of the media outlets that reported on the video’s contents did not quote this line. That was smart — because this is a genuinely radical idea. Tucker’s video netted 57 million views on Twitter in less than 24 hours, and as I write this the number has now climbed to 77.8. Now, I know that this does not mean the same thing as “unique viewers,” but those doubtless considerably dwarf the 3.3 million that Tucker’s show averaged each night.
This means that millions more people than Tucker ever reached with his show have now had the idea planted in their heads that America is effectively a one-party state. And this is just the beginning. Liberals wasted no time in crowing about Tucker’s “demise” — but nothing could be further from the truth. For me, the other part of the video that had special significance was right at the conclusion: “Where can you still find Americans saying true things? 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.” Tucker is teasing us about where he is going to land. Where are these places where you can still hear true things? I would bet that Tucker has in mind one in particular, with which he has possibly already had discussions — or one that he himself may create. And he ends with, “See you soon.”
Did you know that the median age of FOX News primetime viewers was 68 as of 2015? 68! (The life expectancy in the US, by the way, is 78.5.) The median age of MSNBC viewers is 65, and CNN’s is 60. There is obviously no future in these channels. When I was growing up, we had to choose from the “big three” every night: ABC, CBS, and NBC. Now, the median age of viewers tuning in for “prime time television” on these networks is, respectively, 60.5, 64.3, and 60.0. Newspaper subscribers are similarly geriatric. Yet, just as the regime still wants to fight the Cold War more than 30 years after the fall of Communism, it somehow thinks that the “legacy media” still matter.
These people are afraid — but they are also dumb and out of touch. That’s also very encouraging. Our establishment is an out-of-touch gerontocracy backed up by a lot of younger, clueless, affluent cunts (in government and in the corporate world) with bad educations from supposedly good schools, little to no contact with “real people,” and no self-knowledge. These are the people who think that Bud Light can easily recover from the loss of its redneck and frat-boy customer base because legions and legions of trannies will pick up the slack.
I mean, just how clueless do you have to be to think that Tucker’s departure from FOX means the end of Tucker? The liberal media is writing about the man as if he were dead, telling us that his days as a conservative influencer are “over.” Huh? Obviously, Tucker is not going away — something he clearly signals in his video. He is just going to move to another platform, where he will undoubtedly reach far more people (and not just people on dialysis), make more money, and have no corporate cunts to constrain him.
Of course, that move may take time. One of the many unanswered questions here has to do with Tucker’s remaining obligations to the FOX corporation. Although everyone is referring to him as having been “fired,” some sources are claiming he has simply been taken off the air and is still under contract — possibly for the next 18 months. His contractual obligations could preclude him from starting a new show (but not, of course, from giving interviews or posting individual videos). Of course, they could release him from his contract, but one of the latest rumors is that they (whoever “they” are) want to keep him sidelined through the 2024 election. We shall see. All that I really know for sure is that, unless they “suicide” Tucker, he is going to be back, sooner or later, and bigger than ever.
Yes, indeed: See you soon, Tucker. Most definitely.
* * *
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