Carlson writes off Trump's losses: Do you mind if we ask you a question about "the latest bombshell Times story?"
(We're quoting the childish language of one one of our team's professors. To confirm that she really employed that locution, you can just click here.)
That latest bombshell "story"—to us, it looked like a news report—concerns the $1.17 billion Donald Trump is said to have lost over a ten-year span starting in 1985.
He lost a ton of money, we were told in the bombshell story. Also, he paid no federal income taxes in eight of those ten years!
Do you mind if we ask a blindingly obvious question? Here it goes:
If Trump lost money in each of those years, why would be pay any income tax at all? Why would a person pay income tax in a year when he had no income?
That strikes us as a blindingly obvious question. There may even be an answer, but we haven't seen that question asked or answered during the hubbub on our own tribe's cable channels.
Future scholars are telling us that there's a good reason for that. "These successive hubbubs are actually serial novelizations," they have despondently said.
These scholars report that these perceived bombshells are part of the phenomenon which is already known, to future academics, as "the criminalization of everything."
"It's tribal scripting all the way down," we've been told. "No one knows or cares about anything beyond the loud recitation of memorized tribal script!"
Why would a person pay income tax in a year when he had no income? Questions like these don't seem to arise when the latest "bombshell" arrives within our own "liberal" world.
Meanwhile, in the realm of The Others, these "bombshells" may even seem silly, or daft. If you're willing to take a walk on the not-totally-tribalized side, consider the way this "latest bombshell story" was handled by Tucker Carlson.
Carlson reviewed the latest bombshell at the start of his Wednesday night program. Donald J. Trump was about to appear at a rally, Carlson said as his program began.
After that, Carlson said what's shown below. For his full transcript, click here:
CARLSON (5/8/19): One thing we're going to be watching for is whether the president responds to the seismic story that broke last night on cable news.In that way, Carlson began his mocking, perhaps insightful treatment of the bombshell about all the money Trump lost.
In case you weren't watching CNN at 10 PM, here's how they summarized it:
DON LEMON (videotape): This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Are you listening? The president of the United States is a fraud and a con man.
CARLSON: Holy smokes! This sounds like a big development. What happened?
Did the president get caught running a Nigerian phone scam? Has he been selling Bitcoin? Did he spend two full years pretending that the Russian collusion hoax was real?
Nope, nothing that sleazy.
As he continued, Carlson played tape of embarrassing, over-the-top presentations the previous night by Lemon and Erin Burnett, a pair of CNN anchors. To watch those over-the-top presentations—and a fair chunk of Carlson's report—you can just click here.
After Carlson's viewers saw Lemon and Burnett emote, they saw Carlson critique the latest bombshell story. Our view? The latest bombshell loses a lot of its steam as Carlson takes it apart:
CARLSON: Trump lost money! Well, it's a good thing CNN is on that story. Otherwise, nobody would have guessed that Donald Trump had financial problems in the early 1990s—except people who were alive then, or people who have Internet access now.For the record, it isn't clear that anyone has "stolen" Donald J. Trump's private tax information.
Thirty years ago, Trump's personal debt crisis was national news:
"Inside his wallet: Trump papers reveal huge debt," read the tabloids. "Trump in a slump."
Even David Letterman mocked Trump with a top 10 list. "Top 10 signs that Donald Trump is in trouble."
In the end, Donald Trump recovered. He made the disaster part of his brand.
In fact, he wrote a book about it called The Art of the Comeback. When he launched his reality show, The Apprentice, he bragged about all of this:
TRUMP (videotape): About 13 years ago, I was seriously in trouble. I was billions of dollars in debt. But I fought back and I won—big league.
CARLSON: So in other words, what we learned last night wasn't really news.
What is news is that you can steal someone's private tax information, put it on television, and nobody even pauses or asks whether that's a good idea, much less an invasion of privacy. Are those the rules now?
That said, we'll guess that many people share Carlson's sense, which he further explored, that significant lines are being crossed when an individual's tax information is made public without his permission.
Whatever! However you stand on a question like that, we'll suggest that you consider the rest of what Carlson said.
He said that everyone already knew that Trump lost tons of money in the era under review.
He said even Letterman knew! He said that Trump fashioned a well-known book around this theme in 1997.
He said Trump noted that he'd once been "billions of dollars in debt" during the very first episode of his widely-watched irreality show.
The news around which that Times "story" was based was actually news to no one, Carlson said. It was news to no one who lived in the 1990s. It was news to no one who's linked to the Internet now.
Over on our own tribe's channels, Lemon and Burnett were arguably embarrassing themselves through their over-the-top presentations. That's a question you'll have to decide for yourself.
But over on the other tribe's channel, this "bombshell story" may perhaps have seemed a bit silly once Carlson's presentations (plural) were done.
After Carlson finished his own presentation, he brought on Victor Davis Hanson to author a second critique. In our view, Hanson took some liberties as he expounded—but at one juncture, he even raised the point we highlight below:
HANSON: The New York Times is sanctimonious and, for a higher good, it's ethical to break the law, or at least traffic in people, with people who break the law.Hanson played the familiar old game in which a president "gives us" a certain economy by some magical act of the will. But after this familiar flight, Hanson gifted Fox viewers with that blindingly obvious question:
But I don't understand the narrative, because they're basically saying that 35 years ago, when Donald Trump was in his early 40s, he either did one of two things:
The guy who now gave us 3 percent GDP plus and a record economy we haven't seen in 40 years was financially incompetent—and that matters, apparently. Or he didn't pay taxes on money he never made, or money he lost. So it doesn't make any sense.
Trump "didn't pay taxes on money he never made!" How does that even make sense?
For ourselves, we thought Carlson's critique was quite effective this night. Might we put all this in perspective?
According to a raft of post-apocalyptic scholars, many of the "bombshell stories" which thrill our own tribe may not make all that much sense Over There.
According to these future analysts, these "stories" appeal to our own instinctive desire to fashion and promote potent group "fictions." But they may look pretty silly to those in The Other Tribe.
Future TV Critics With No Cable Access tell us that this phenomenon was common in the years preceding Mister Trump's Untelevised War. Tribal liberals had almost no sense of this phenomenon, these future scholars have said.
Bowing to these surprise revelations, we offer one last point:
Representatives of Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM) have told us that no one will pay a lick of attention to what we're telling you here.
"Anthropologically speaking, we 'humans' were always deeply in thrall to the power of our lizard brains," these future scholars have despairingly said. "Your readers will thrash about, looking for ways to insist that you're silly and wrong."
For extra credit only: Rich Lowry dissected the "latest bombshell story" for Politico.
He approached it much as Carlson did. To peruse his critique, click here.