SIMPLY PUT, NOT UP TO THE TASK: Tucker gets it amazingly wrong!


But then, so does everyone else: Last night, right at 8 P.M. Eastern, Tucker Carlson got it amazingly wrong.

He got it just about as wrong as a top TV journalist possibly could. In fairness, everyone else was also getting it wrong. But Carlson really did.

He was describing the late-night raid in which Breonna Taylor was shot and killed. Piously claiming to offer "the facts," he started as shown below.

Two warnings! 

First, the account you're about to read is full of misinformation. Also, in highly annoying Euro fashion, Tucker always states a person's name by saying what that person is "called:"

CARLSON (9/23/20): In March, three Louisville police officers served a search warrant at the apartment of a woman called Breonna Taylor. They knocked outside. They announced they were from the police department, and then they entered the apartment.

Once they did, a man called Kenneth Walker opened fire on them. Walker was Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend. He was also supposedly a drug dealer. That's one of the reasons the police were there. 

Walker admits that he fired first and that he shot a police officer. In response, the cops fired back.

By the time, Kenneth Walker surrendered, Breonna Taylor, who was in another room in the apartment, had been fatally wounded. 

Those are the facts of the case. It's a very sad story nobody disputes that. Awful things sometimes happen, despite the best efforts of everyone involved to prevent them from happening. That's the truth.

"Those are the facts of the case." So the top TV star said!

Amazingly, the program was less than two minutes old by the time all those things had been said. In fairness, everyone else was getting it wrong about yesterday's grand jury decisions, generally in preapproved mandated tribal fashion. 

But it's hard to get basic facts more wrong than the perpetually irate Carlson did.

How many things did Carlson get wrong? Most amazingly, he said that Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, "was supposedly a drug dealer. That's one of the reasons the police were there."

Truly, that was astounding. Stating the obvious, any journalist who had spent ten seconds reviewing the facts of this matter would have known two basic facts about Kenneth Walker.

Any such journalist would have known that Walker wasn't suspected, by anyone, of being a drug dealer. He also would have known that Walker wasn't any part of the reason why the police were there. 

An actual drug dealer actually was a key part of this case. That drug dealer  was the reason why the police were at Taylor's apartment that night. 

That much is plainly true. But the drug dealer wasn't Kenneth Walker, and Kenneth Walker wasn't and isn't a drug dealer. Nor was Walker any part of the reason why the police were there.

Carlson's account of "the facts of the case" was imperfect in a wide range of other ways. By the time his program was two minutes old, he had made an amazing array of false or misleading statements:

It isn't clear that the police officers announced themselves in any significant way that night. (For the record, they had a search warrant which didn't require them to do so.)

Beyond that, it certainly isn't clear that the officers did everything they could tp prevent bad things from happening. Just yesterday, one of the officers was indicted on a felony charge of "wanton endangerment" for his reckless behavior that night.

Was Taylor "in another room" when she was fatally wounded? It doesn't matter in any obvious way, but the New York Times' August 31 front-page report on this matter seems to say that Walker and Taylor were together in the apartment's hallway when the fatal shots were fired.

Had Carlson ever spent ten seconds reviewing the facts of this case? It seemed quite clear that he had not—and then came his "correction!"

Late in his program, Carlson offered an astounding "non-correction correction" of his early, astounding misstatement concerning Kenneth Walker. Amazingly, incredibly, the angry star now said this:

CARLSON: We made a mistake at the top of the show and we want to correct it as we always do. We flipped the names around of a couple of people inadvertently. We said police believed Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend was a drug dealer—he might have been. We meant to say her ex-boyfriend, a man called Jamarcus Glover. We wanted to correct that. Sorry.  

Amazing! Even as he "corrected" his astounding misstatement, Tucker slimed Walker again!

Walker might have been a drug dealer, the perpetually angry TV star gratuitously said. One thinks of Joseph Welch chastising Joe McCarthy: 

At long last, have you no shame?

In fact, no one has ever said or suggested that Walker is, or ever was, a drug dealer. Rather, no one had said or suggested that until Carlson did last night.

First he said it, then he suggested it! On a simple journalistic basis, it's clear that Carlson had no idea what he was talking about.

In the past few months, we've recommended watching Carlson's show for the videotapes you'll see. We've warned you that you'll have to tolerate the angry star's overwrought crazy rants.

That said, Carlson rarely engages in bald misstatement of the type he delivered last night. Instead, he features paranoid conspiracy claims in which he offers wild accounts of what everyone's motives are.

(If the people in question are Democrats, they want to have complete control over every part of your life. Such is the virus he spreads.)

Last night, Tucker got it amazingly wrong as he discussed this widely-discussed, extremely high-profile case. In fairness, everyone else was getting it wrong around the cable dial.

Extremely poorly reasoned complaints were being offered on our "liberal" channels. As usual, everyone was upset that the grand jury hadn't agreed to lock all three officers up.

With what crime would two of these people be charged? That was completely unclear. As usual, though, everyone was Saying The Exact Same Things. Our stars were all working from script. 

In the previous days, we'd have to say that New York magazine had also gotten it wrong. They'd done so through a long, now updated account of Taylor's death written by Bridget Read.

What seems so odd about Read's account? Read offers a journalistic overview of "what we know" about the events of that night. We're not sure we've ever seen an overview of that type which relies so heavily on unverified claims in a major lawsuit brought by a victim's family. 

Standard tribal scripts emerged in the process. In its present form, Read's second paragraph says this:

READ (9/23/20):  Taylor was shot eight times by law enforcement. According to a lawsuit filed by her family, her killing was the result of a botched drug-warrant execution. No drugs were found; the warrant in question targeted another person, who lived miles away and had already been detained by the time police entered Taylor’s home.

We're not sure why Read says the warrant "targeted" someone else. 

For reasons explained in detail by the New York Times in its lengthy report, Louisville police, rightly or wrongly, suspected Taylor of being part of her ex-boyfriend's drug business. 

As explained in some detail by the Times, police were raiding Glover and Taylor on the same night as a result of that suspicion.

Yesterday, the snark was widely delivered on cable. Police had already arrested the actual target when they raided Taylor's apartment! This snark was presented as further evidence of the way the Keystone Cops had bungled things when they staged their dangerous, post-midnight raid.

Raids like that are very dangerous, but the snark doesn't seem to make much sense. That said, the claim is tribally pleasing—and vast amounts of what we now read and hear come from the pleasing realm of Storyline and Narrative, from Memorized Pleasing Group Script.

In her front-page report in the Times, Rukmini Callimachi had described a long set of reasons explaining why police had come to be suspicious of Taylor. Read's lengthy report in New York magazine fails to mention the vast bulk of that apparent evidence, on the basis of which a (female) judge had apporoved a no-knock warrant.

So it goes in this brave new era as our nation slides toward the sea. Each tribe has its array of pleasing, oversimplified tales, with armies paid to repeat them.

It would be hard to misstate a set of events any more egregiously than Carlson did last night. His initial account was stunningly wrong. His "correction" made matters much worse. 

("We always do," Carlson said.)

By that time, tribal warriors had already gone to work presenting our tribe's scripted grievance about the grand jury's decisions. As usual, our tribunes were working from the immortal realm in which it's verdict first, rationale perhaps/maybe later.

The previous night, Lester Holt and Brian Williams sleepwalked through an astoundingly lazy report about a startling forecast of virus deaths to come. Yesterday, the tribal spinning started fast after one officer was charged with a crime—one officer, not all three.

What actually happened in Louisville on that fateful night? What kinds of lessons and reforms might sensibly emerge from this deadly event?

Yesterday afternoon, our tribe got busy spinning; Carlson then managed to top them. Are we up to the task of governing ourselves at this extremely late date as our nation slides toward the sea?

Lester and Brian were soundly asleep. Everyone else is on fire.

Tomorrow: Silent on how Trump got where he is, plus the commissar


  1. The guy made a mistake, and then corrected it. Which is one million times better than anything your goebbelsian dembots do every minute of every day.

    What are you so unhappy about, dear Bob?

  2. Bill Barr: "NewYork City, Portland, and Seattle are "anarchist jurisdictions".

    Louisville Grand Jury: "Hold my beer."

  3. “With what crime would two of these people be charged?”

    It was one of the other two officers who actually killed Taylor.

  4. “Raids like that are very dangerous”

    From Callimachi’s story:
    “They had court approval for a “no-knock” warrant, which Louisville has since banned, but the orders were changed before the raid, requiring them to knock first and announce themselves as the police.

    The determination was apparently made that they did say “police.” I couldn’t find any confirmation in the story that they had actually knocked.

    I also couldn’t determine from the story why the cops felt the need to go in at midnight with guns drawn with what was originally a no-knock warrant. Was that an appropriate police action, given the situation?

  5. One of the most galling things to me is the way low-level black, brown, and poor whites are treated by the justice system, getting the book thrown at them and sometimes, like George Floyd, dying for the alleged crime of passing a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. AG Barr says “throw the book at them.” But for his and the President’s friends, he pleads for leniency. In fact, the massive crook in the White House continues to go scot free.

    And Somerby never notices this in his endless defenses of policing in America.

    1. "George Floyd, dying for the alleged crime of passing a counterfeit twenty dollar bill"

      I hear that particular perp, Saint Floyd, died from an overdose:

      Does it calm your ritualistic outrage, dear mh, or only make it stronger?

    2. I heard the cops murdered Floyd because he had filmed Trump in an orgy with Ivanka and Bill Barr.
      We all hear things.

  6. The corporate mass media and the Democratic mayors of cities who are in change of telling police what to do have never done squat about the "way low-level black, brown, and poor whites are treated by the justice system." Sure, they make a big noise when someone gets killed and it gets into the mass media, but we haven't heard of either the corporate mass media or Democratic leaders of these cities proposing any changes, have we? Yet, you're angry because some obscure blogger like Somerby is not taking up the cause of police reform. This blog states openly that its mission is monitoring the national media, not your particular pet cause. Have you thought about maybe seeking out blogs on police reform, I'm sure there are plenty.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. As long as Somerby says the following, he is opening himself up to criticism of his own stated views, whereby he is missing an important contextual framework of the discussion:

      “A lot of people get shot and killed by police officers in the U.S. We'll repeat the points we feel we should make every day:

      As far as we know, no police misconduct is involved in the bulk of such cases.”

      “In such ways, our major press organs are creating a new religion built around the (largely imagined) intersections of "race" and crime and punishment. “

    3. "he is opening himself up to criticism of his own stated views, whereby he is missing an important contextual framework of the discussion"

      Don't you think, even for a second, that dear Bob might be right about all this?

      What's wrong with addressing the alleged misconduct on a case-by-case basis, without vacuous generalizations and creating new religions (aka "contextual framework")?

    4. Or, Somerby could be wrong. He already has his mind made up. To him, there is no possibility of broader police misconduct or racism. He has automatically declared that any media item, not to mention liberal opinion, that posits the existence of such a thing is tribal propaganda.

      That is intellectually dishonest. It simply declares a subject not open for debate because he says so.

    5. You cannot rely on the police version because they apparently engaged in a coverup immediately after the shooting.

    6. Bob's blog is about the media, so you're never going to hear Bob say the grand jury in this case is telling folks to shoot the police, before they shoot you first, no matter how obvious that is.

    7. "That is intellectually dishonest."

      He has an opinion. He expresses it in his blog. His opinion is that your "contextual framework" is nothing but bullshit and propaganda. This is not intellectually dishonest. On the contrary, it's perfectly honest.

    8. "He has an opinion. "

      Right-wing authoritarians are a dime a dozen. Your all out support for the Establishment isn't worth the rubles you're being paid.

  7. "We're not sure we've ever seen an overview of that type which relies so heavily on unverified claims in a major lawsuit brought by a victim's family."

    Somerby claims that the liberal media has gotten its facts from Read, who based her account on the victim's family's lawsuit. Who else would know better what happened than the victim's family? They at least would know who is a drug dealer and who isn't.

    Somerby's chain of reasoning seems to be (1) Tucker Carlson said wrong things about Walker and had other details majorly wrong about the case, (2) all of the media got its facts from Read, who leaned on the family's account, (3) therefore all of the media got things wrong. Notice that Somerby calls the family's account "unverified" but he never states what they got wrong, if anything. And he never says that Carlson got his facts from Read or the family. Yet he seems to think that by impeaching Carlson, he has impeached the entire media, simply by asserting that they said the same things (no examples given). This kind of argument is ridiculous. He should make some attempt to show how the other media were mistaken.

    I do agree that no one should watch Tucker Carlson, not even for the videos.

  8. "Yesterday afternoon, our tribe got busy spinning; Carlson then managed to top them. Are we up to the task of governing ourselves at this extremely late date as our nation slides toward the sea?"

    Why would media malfeasance imply that we cannot govern ourselves?

    Where did anyone say that we are sliding toward the sea? Was that one of the facts that Tucker Carlson and the media got wrong? Or did Breonna Taylor's family say that?


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  10. And so a judge has now ruled that Tucker Carlson should not be construed as a purveyor of truth and that his audience is aware of this. So maybe Somerby can get over misconstruing him as a journalist.

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