FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2021
But also, Cooper and Borger: Have questions of basic honesty ever been so near at hand?
How about questions concerning basic intellectual competence? How about questions of possible or apparent mental illness?
Dishonesty leads to bogus claims—but so do various forms of mental illness, and so does intellectual incompetence. That said, our world is awash in bogus claims, coming from many directions.
The western world has long tended to claim that "man [sic] is the rational animal." Has there ever been a time when this traditional claim was being undermined by human behavior coming from so many different directions?
We cite a few recent examples:
For starters, consider Tucker Carlson's recent assessment of Alex Jones. At the Washington Post, Aaron Blake's report starts like this:
BLAKE (12/2/21): Two weeks ago, Infowars founder Alex Jones lost yet another defamation suit brought by the families of victims massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School—a shooting rampage that Jones spuriously claimed was a “hoax” and a “false flag” exercise, allegations that the families said compounded their personal tragedies.
On Wednesday night, the most prominent conservative pundit in the country hailed Jones as “one of the most popular journalists on the right” and often a more reputable journalist than mainstream media figures who reported on the Russia investigation.
“Yes, journalist,” Tucker Carlson said after using that term to describe Jones. “Jones is often mocked for his flamboyance, but the truth is, he has been a far better guide to reality in recent years—in other words a far better journalist—than, say, NBC News national security correspondent Ken Dilanian or Margaret Brennan of CBS.”
It’s difficult to imagine a more ridiculous statement. It’s also difficult to imagine a better microcosm of the American right’s descent into its current post-truth era than this.
Earlier this week, Carlson did offer that assessment of Jones. You can see his fuller remarks in the transcript of Wednesday night's Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Does Carlson really believe what he said? Forced to guess, we would guess that he possibly does, or possibly something like that. We would guess that he possibly does, despite such downsides as these:
BLAKE: To be clear, one can take issue with how media outlets covered a given story...But that’s different from elevating a guy who has done the following:
Claimed the federal government has turned “weather weapons” on its citizens.
Claimed the government has used chemicals to turn people gay — and that “the majority of frogs in most areas of the United States are now gay” because of the experiments.
Said people would “let [Robert] Mueller rape kids in front of people, which he did,” before walking back the assertion.
Promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and top aides were running a satanic sex-trafficking ring out of a D.C. pizza restaurant, then backtracked and apologized.
Suggested the following were inside jobs and/or false flag operations: 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, Charlottesville, the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the Brussels terrorist attack and the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Falsely connected the Chobani yogurt company and its employment of refugees to child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis. (Jones later settled a defamation suit brought by Chobani.)
Was sued after Infowars falsely identified the shooter in the Parkland massacre.
Is Alex Jones mentally competent? What does it mean if we suggest the possibility that he possibly isn't?
How about Tucker Carlson? Does he believe what he said about Jones? What would he say if hewas challenged concerning the various points Blake cited?
Regarding that last question, we will never learn what Carlson would say if challenged. The reason for that is obvious:
Our "news channels" have moved from the old left/right "Crossfire" warfare model to a model based on complete tribal segregation. To wit:
You will never see any competent person challenge Carlson on his own show (or anywhere else). On MSNBC, you will essentially never see anyone who disagrees, in whatever way, with the prevailing tribal line on any prevailing issue.
We've gone from the old "Crossfire" model to the current "segregation" model. At present, it's all about selling the Storyline, no matter which channel you watch.
There's one last point to mention:
Our major "cable news" journalists seem to have almost no intellectual or analytical skills—essentially none at all. Routinely, their apparent lack of sophistication is simply astounding.
Carlson's comments on Jones seem to be insane. That said, we keep seeing pseudo-discussions on CNN and MSNBC which strike us as barely sane, though in a different way.
Tomorrow, we're going to look at last night's discussion on CNN concerning Trump and Covid. Our question would be this:
At this point in time, do Anderson Cooper and Gloria Borger have any intellectual competence at all? Their discussion last night was stunningly bogus, as was the earlier discussion of the same topic on yesterday's Morning Joe.
Simply put, our corporate elites are in shambles. Whichever tribe you happen to be in, you can probably see this about The Others—but about Your Own, not so much.
(Your lizard is shouting, Moral equivalence. We'll suggest that you fire your lizard.)