March 10, 2023


Tucker Carlson knows his viewers want to be lied to: Their feelings don't care about your facts. (Aaron Rupar and davidrlurie, 3/10/23, Public Notice)

Ultimately, however, Carlson gave up on such hedging.

Over the ensuing weeks and months, Carlson appears to have realized that he had underestimated his own viewers' gullibility, and failed to recognize the depth of their desire to believe the election had been stolen. His own messages to his audience became all the more untethered from reality. 

In late 2021, Carlson hosted a special strongly suggesting that the January 6 attack wasn't actually the doing of Trump and his supporters, but rather was the product of an FBI false flag operation meant to entrap them. Fast forward another 16 months, and Carlson is now regularly heard on air claiming that Biden's victory was an injustice of historic significance. 

On Monday, for instance, Carlson declared: "In retrospect, it is clear the 2020 election was a grave betrayal of American democracy."

Carlson's latest gambit is to selectively present the 1/6 footage McCarthy gave him to reframe the insurrection as an honorable protest against a stolen election -- something of a last stand for a lost cause. 

In support of this revisionist history, Carlson played, and replayed, snippets of tape showing the insurrectionists during moments in which they were not vandalizing the Capitol or attacking police officers. It's a bit like insisting arsonists get a bad rap because people don't pay enough attention to all the times they aren't burning things down.

Carlson plainly has no concern that the "revelations" he's offering up are readily shown to be false. For example, he contended Monday that it's a mystery how the "QAnon Shaman," Jacob Chansley, entered the Capitol, suggesting he might have been invited in by police.

But footage of Chansley's entry into the Capitol is readily available. And it shows he was among the first wave of vandals to break in.

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger also immediately stated that Carlson's claim about police officers serving as Chansley's tour guides was "outrageous and false," explaining that the officers "did their best to use de-escalation tactics to try to talk rioters into getting each other to leave the building." But no matter -- even after the police chief spoke out, Carlson just kept insisting Tuesday and Wednesday that his out-of-context footage showed police and Chansley working together.

Being exposed as a bald faced liar by people outside the right wing media-sphere is plainly of no concern to Carlson. His finger is constantly on the pulse of his audience, and he's wary only of losing their allegiance by telling them facts they don't want to hear.

For Carlson, the "credibility" he feared Fox might lose by acknowledging Trump's Arizona loss is not preserved by telling viewers the truth. Rather, it's maintained by telling them what they want, and are willing, to believe, no matter how false the presentation may be.

Posted by at March 10, 2023 6:54 AM


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