THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2022
The shrieking proceeded from there: Last evening, for a few brief shining moments, Tucker Carlson got to be pretty much right.
At least on a purely political basis, Carlson got to be pretty much right with respect to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas—and we'll just leave it at that.
For a few brief shining moments, Carlson got to be right about a political / culture war controversy in which, at least in the short term, liberals and progressives can't possibly hope to prevail.
Bringing the eternal note of dumbness is, Carlson was even able to link these moments to a certain Supreme Court nominee's sensible but unsettling refusal to offer an answer, during yesterday's Senate hearing, to the apparently straightforward question, "What is a woman?"
In real time, it was obvious that this question, from Senator Blackburn, linked to the issue of transgender athletics and transgender policy in general. Last night, for a few, brief shining moments, the Fox News Channels "excitable boy" was able to bring it all home.
For the record, but also in fairness, Carlson isn't always wrong in everything he says on his nightly "cable news" program. Sometimes, he even makes statements which are pretty much right on the merits, not just on the temporary politics.
That said, such moments rarely last.
Last evening, Carlson was briefly right, at least on the politics, with respect to Thomas' recent wins in NCAA swim meets. But then, the inevitable!
After complaining that the Biden administration won't force Ukraine to stop fighting the Russkies, The Lost Child of La Jolla et L'Ecole Suisse shocked the planet with this:
CARLSON (3/23/22): Marjorie Taylor Greene is one of the only members of Congress who's willing to think this through in public. She represents the state of Georgia. We're honored to have her on our show tonight.
Just like that, there was Greene, filling us in on Ukraine. Richard Carlson's hopeless lost child was honored to have her on.
Tomorrow, as we end our week, we'll return to the striking bit of family history we've cited in recent days. We rarely watch Carlson at this point without thinking of the human story lurking inside those paragraphs.
For today, we thought we'd return to the start of this week's reports. We thought we'd show you the way this wounded child behaves on the air, even when he's working from a reasonable point of departure.
We return you to the Tucker Carlson of Wednesday evening, March 9. On his "cable news" program that evening, he played the videotape of an exchange from the day before:
RUBIO (3/8/22): I only have a minute left. Let me ask you, does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?
NULAND: Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces, may be seeking to gain control of. So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.
Might we give credit where credit is due? Someone on Carlson's staff had actually noticed something!
The exchange in question had taken place during a Senate committee hearing. Senator Rudio had posed a very specific question to Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs in the Biden administration.
Rubio had asked a highly specific, perfectly straightforward question. But uh-oh! In her response, Nuland didn't give a specific answer to the highly specific question she'd specifically been asked.
Intelligent observers will sometimes describe that type of reply as a "non-response response." Politicians frequently give such "responses." Sometimes, though not always, it means that there is something the politician doesn't want to admit.
On its face, Nuland had plainly authored a "non-response response." She'd been asked if Ukraine had chemical weapons. In her reply, she hadn't said yes—but she also hadn't said no.
A journalist might want to check to see if there was a reason for this. But in the hands of this lost, helpless child, something quite different occurred.
On his March 9 program, Carlson played the videotape of the Rubio-Nuland exchange. Immediately after he played the tape, this braindead shrieking occurred:
CARLSON (3/9/22): "Does Ukraine have biological weapons?" Ugh,
"Ukraine has biological research facilities." What? You mean secret bio labs like the secret bio labs that Ukraine definitely doesn't have?
Ukraine has those? Yes, it does! And not only does Ukraine have secret bio labs, Toria Nuland said, whatever they're doing in those labs is so dangerous and so scary that she is "quite concerned" that the so-called research material inside those bio labs might fall into the hands of Russian forces.
Try not to use profanity on the air to describe our reaction. Our jaws dropped, let's leave it there.
Under oath, in an open committee hearing, Toria Nuland just confirmed that the Russian disinformation they've been telling us for days is a lie and a conspiracy theory and crazy and immoral to believe is, in fact, totally and completely true.
Whoa! You don't hear things like that every day in Washington. Talk about a showstopper and a dozen questions instantly jump to mind.
What exactly are they doing in these secret Ukrainian bio labs? Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe. It's hardly a hotbed of biomedical research. We're assuming these weren't pharmaceutical labs. Probably not developing new leukemia drugs.
From your answer, Toria Nuland, we would assume, because you all but said it, that there's a military application to this research, that they were working on bioweapons. Again, your answer suggests that.
So it went as this pitiful child staged his latest breakdown. On our side, our flailing team constantly props this child up.
What did Carlson say in that passage? More to the point, what didn't he say as he wandered the countryside?
For the record, he didn't say that he or his staff had actually researched this question. Nor did he actually say that Ukraine does have bioweapons.
Instead, he wandered the countryside, offering excitable insinuations and making excitable claims. By the time that passage was done, he was saying that Nuland's answer "suggests" that Ukraine has bioweapons—that he would "assume" that it does.
On that basis, the person who writes the headlines at Fox reported that Carlson said this:
Tucker Carlson: Someone needs to explain why there are dangerous biological weapons in Ukraine
The Pentagon is lying about this—why?
Those are the headlines which sit above the transcript of the excitable boy's remarks. The person who wrote those headlines seemed to think that Carlson had said that Ukraine does have biological weapons, and that the Pentagon had been lying about that fact.
Did Carlson explicitly make those claims? You can score it as you like—but we'll cut some slack for the functionary who put those headlines atop that transcript. We can assure you that, if you watched the entire meltdown, that's the way this latest mess sounded.
Carlson isn't always wrong in the things he says, not even on the merits. That said, he rarely makes a claim, or espouses a viewpoint, without staging an immediate journalistic breakdown.
He displays a contempt for liberal women—but also for normal rules of analysis and decorum. At age 51, La Jolla's Lost Boy is trailing a story behind him.
In our view, we need to stop propping him up by taking his endless offers of bait. We need to see him as a lost child—as the lost boy he plainly is.
Last night, the child was honored to host Taylor Greene. Such bait is cast out every night.
Tomorrow: "It was actually not really part of my life..."