SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 2023
Also, what Paul Krugman said: Last evening, Tucker Carlson was finishing his opening segment.
In that opening segment, he had discussed the beating and the subsequent death of Tyre Nichols. Tucker had gone to the usual places, saying elites are using the incident to increase their power over people like his viewers.
Briefly, let's be fair. On this rarest of occasions, he didn't say that the Chinese Communists were behind the whole thing!
His remarks about Memphis were crazy enough. For today, though, let's start with what Carlson said as that first segment came to a close:
CARLSON (9/27/23): So it's Friday, apparently a big day for bodycam footage. We got what we showed you from Memphis tonight. But in San Francisco, authorities also released bodycam footage from that very weird Friday night at the Pelosi household in Pacific Heights in San Francisco back in October.
We'll have that—not that we can make sense of it, but we'll have it anyway. And of course, we'll continue, for the duration of this show, to monitor the riots that appear to be unfolding across our country tonight.
We'll be right back.
As it turned out, the riots to which Carlson referred were unfolding inside his own head. For today, we'll focus on what he said about the Pelosi bodycam footage, which he still can't make sense of.
Upon his return, Calson played that bodycam footage. After that, he tried to decipher the footage, or at least he pretended to try.
You can watch the bulk of what Carlson said simply by clicking here. He starts by saying that the 911 operator in the Pelosi incident ought to be "fired immediately." She's plainly our "dumbest 911 operator," Carlson said, without attempting to explain his assessment.
Sadly but unmistakably, it's the type of judgement Carlson constantly makes about the nation's women. Later, you'll see him affirm an account of what's seen on the bodycam tape—a poorly sourced, misleading account which NBC News aired in real time, then quickly retracted.
Now that the bodycam footage has been released, we can see that the NBC account was grossly misleading (and flatly wrong in parts). Inevitably, Carlson—he still can't make sense of what happened that night!—said it was basically accurate.
"Shame on NBC," the excitable fellow excitedly said, complaining about the fact that NBC News had quickly disavowed its report and suspended its reporter.
This sort of nonsense is broadcast, each night, to millions of Carlson's viewers. Elsewhere, people are exposed to vastly different factual claims and assessments.
When large societies break down into an array of such disconnected groups, it becomes very, very hard for such societies to function.
For the record, Carlson does this sort of thing on a nightly basis. He may believe the things he says. It may be that he doesn't.
Do we, within our own blue tribe, ever have any blind spots? We're going to say that we actually do. Consider something Paul Krugman wrote in his latest New York Times column.
Tucker Carlson seems to be crazy-adjacent. Quite plainly, Paul Krugman is not.
That said, Krugman's strength has always lay in his analysis of policy matters. He's less strong in the area of politics, as he showed at one point in yesterday's column.
Krugman was discussing "rural resentment" and the role it plays as rural voters keep trending Republican.
Much of his column made perfect sense. Eventually, though, he said this:
KRUGMAN (1/26/23): What about rural perceptions of being disrespected? Well, many people have negative views about people with different lifestyles; that’s human nature. There is, however, an unwritten rule in American politics that it’s OK for politicians to seek rural votes by insulting big cities and their residents, but it would be unforgivable for urban politicians to return the favor. “I have to go to New York City soon,” tweeted J.D. Vance during his senatorial campaign. “I have heard it’s disgusting and violent there.” Can you imagine, say, Chuck Schumer saying something similar about rural Ohio, even as a joke?
J. D. Vance seems to be transparently phony. Plainly, Paul Krugman is not.
That said, is it really hard to imagine a Democratic politician making the sort of remark which might fuel rural resentment? Not too long ago, a fairly well-known Democratic pol made this famous remark:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Eventually, every major politician will make a dumb remark. Vance makes dumb remarks on purpose. Plainly, Barack Obama does not.
That said, rural and small-town America has been looked down upon by upscale urban progressive elites for as long as such places have existed. This pattern obtains fairly widely all over the world, but also right here in this country.
Many Trump voters feel disrespected by our blue tribe's elites, even by blue tribe rubes. In many cases, they feel disrespected by our elites because they routinely have been.
Within our tribe, it tends to be the way it is with human tribes all over the globe. We find it hard to see the truth about the way our own tribe behaves. Even a person as bright and decent as Paul Krugman may fail to discern the pattern.
We wouldn't vote for major Republicans ourselves. We also wouldn't say the things we see blue tribers say, on a daily basis, about the deplorable people who do.
From comments threads on up to the top, we love to name-call these fellow citizens. Please please please don't speak to Those People, we tell our major news orgs.
Tucker Carlson lives off this dynamic. He can see that it exists. Quite often, we blues cannot.
Spoiler alert: Your lizard is going to tell you that we're just stupidly wrong in what we've said about Krugman's statement.
Your lizard is going to tell you to split tiny hairs in search of that verdict. According to an array of experts, that's the way lizards work!