Tucker Carlson: the Republican who shouts louder than Trump

Chris Wallace during an election debate between Trump and Biden broadcast on Fox News in September 2020.

Anyone who wants to understand the more than two-thirds of Republican voters who still believe in the 2020 election theft scam and see an FBI conspiracy in the wake of the January Capitol Hill attack has a weekday appointment. at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox News. . It’s time for Tucker Carlson Tonight, America’s most popular cable TV show with 3.48 million viewers. Your host is a stubborn, witty 52-year-old man from California who lives in Washington, is married to his high school sweetheart, has four kids, and has wild alternate stories, half-truths, and outright lies. There are other conservative populist speakers, but no one here looks as beefy as his today.

Carlson isn’t afraid to go overboard to connect with an audience of mostly terrified and angry white Americans. Whoever believes that the Biden distribution is an incompetent socialist government, overwhelmed by inflation and citizen insecurity, which views minorities with suspicion (the host defends the theory of the great replacement, which denounces that the left purifies the family of Americans by more disturbed and obedient Third World citizens”) and which sees Kyle Rittenhouse as a hero, the 17-year-old boy who left armed with a pistol in a bewilderment in the summer of 2020, killing two people and injuring one another during the riots, attending an anti-racism demonstration in Kenosha. , Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse chose Carlson’s software to give his first interview after a board found him not guilty on the pad of a controversial vigilante performance. The spokesperson, who refused to whisper to EL PAÍS through a spokesperson for the sentence, defined him as “a brilliant, honest, sincere, obedient and hardworking pipiolo, the type of person whose we need”. His production company is working on a documentary about pipiolo.

Carlson’s style creates a schism at Fox News: either with him or off the network. One of its announcers, Chris Wallace, popular for his terse political interviews, announced to viewers on Sunday that he was leaving the competition, CNN, after 18 years at the conservative station. Wallace is following in the footsteps of analysts Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes, who both gave up Fox News exposure and pay after the premiere of Patriot Purge, Carlson’s three-part documentary about the attack on Capitol Hill, on the Fox streaming service. have . In their resignation, Goldberg and Hayes, founders of The Dispatch, “a gathering place for conservative readers seeking factual bias and opinion,” define the film as “an incoherent collection of conspiracies riddled with factual inaccuracies, Misleading Images and… Omissions”, which aims to spread the message that “the United States government is using the same tactics against American patriots that it used against al-Qaeda”. this week that two other doom stars, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, wrote to White House government patriarch Mark Meadows on Jan. 6, asking him to put pressure on Trump and stop the attack.

Chris Wallace during an election debate between Trump and Biden broadcast on Fox News in September 2020. OLIVIER DOULIERY (AFP)

The resignations are another fight in the American right’s struggle between Trumpism and the mainstream Republican Party. When the mogul lost the 2020 election, Fox News, which turned 25 this fall, seemed willing to let Trump go, but its ratings efficiency was more adamant. “After the departure of Roger Ailes [alma de la cadena, que fue obligado a dejarla por un escándalo de abusos sexuales un año antes de su muerte, en 2017], the scene was looking for its surface,” says Alex Shephard, a journalist at veteran center-left magazine The New Republic. Shephard wrote the cover for the October issue devoted to Carlson. “You need a fortune. And that fortune is Tucker. I think he likes to provoke the Murdochs. [herederos de Rupert Murdoch, propietarios de News Corp., dueña de la Fox]. He is currently the most powerful character. Do you believe everything he says? Probably not, but make no mistake. He has a fierce conspiratorial vision.

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to subscribe toA Trump supporter wearing a Tucker Carlson t-shirt on November 7, 2020, shortly after the election that gave Joe Biden victory.A Trump supporter wearing a Tucker Carlson t-shirt on November 7, 2020, shortly after the election that won Joe Biden. SHANNON STAPLETON (Reuters)

Without blocking, Carlson’s relationship with Trump is not close. During his presidency, he was not the most enthusiastic leader of conviction with the tycoon; chose to ignore it to focus on seemingly insignificant stories about those “culture wars” that have now become the focus of debate in the United States. In 2016, the year of the Republican vote, Carlson, who defined him in 1999 as “the most disgusting person on the planet”, wrote an article in Politico titled “Donald Trump is Shocking, Vulgar, and Right”, in which he claims he argued his progress was in response to ‘popular parenting’ being fed up with the ‘intellectual corruption’ of Washington’s elites, including (or primarily) Republicans, of which he himself has a vivid image of a so-called republican club. of land (Country Club Republican) is Club Republican), it is derived from it.

The article is included in The Long Slide. Thirty years of American journalism (The Big Slide. Thirty Years in American Journalism, Beginning, 2021), including his career as a conservative journalist, always in a bow tie, writing questioningly in magazines from all political stripes. Inspired by Christopher Hitchen’s passion for contradiction and the storytelling techniques of New Journalism (Hunter S. Thompson apparently changed his life), these works are accompanied by a prologue in which Carlson offers his usual defense of free speech. and shows nostalgia for a time when news magazines and “reporters were free men, proud to have an open mind” and regrets that publications like La Nouvelle République, “then devoted to journalism, now propaganda” or Politico (“trash”), they will let it be true how he did not write today

Media more to the left than Fox are among his software’s favorite enemies. He likes to poke fun at the competition: On new software, he capped off a series of clips of other network anchors discussing the problem of inflation with this comment: “Really? Why let them talk about wealth? If the subject was still postmodern feminist poetry, but… wealth?

CNN is always on alert, and inside CNN is Brian Stelter, host of a weekly column on the American journalistic ecosystem. He is also the author of the issue Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Danger of Distortion of the Truth (Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Danger of Distortion the Truth, Simon and Schuster, 2021), on the drift of conviction of the truth under the influence of the former president. Stelter recounts how Carlson became a leader during the lockdown and ditched Hannity’s software through his attacks on vaccines, masks, or mandatory school rehearsals, issues that have deeply polarized Americans.

This Sorpasso was his revenge after years of crossing the desert. After freelancing in print media, he worked as a talk show host on CNN, had his own show on MSNBC Progressive, and participated in the American translation of Look Who’s Dancing! and founded a political website called The Daily Caller, which did not pay off as expected. Now he’s got an empire, gets paid for his late-night software, and Tucker Carlson Today (streaming three days a week offline from a set that might be his Maine country home) sells his books by the hours. prime time (” Thu don’t not buy it on amazon [dueña del diario The Washington Post]’, warns in each software) and produces documentaries.

Stelter dubbed Carlson “the new Donald Trump”, who he said had succeeded “as a right-wing leader, outrage producer and incendiary”. It now remains to be seen whether the host plans to go into politics, as the Exalted Éric Zemmour has just done in France (“the Frenchman Tucker Carlson”, as the Washington press defines him). “I don’t think,” Shephard says, “he’s very comfortable in his role as a cynical right-wing agitator.” So far, several t-shirt companies have embarked on inventing logos with this message: “Tucker Carlson 2024”.

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