WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2023
As blue tribe America slept: As we noted yesterday, the headline on Kate Cray's short piece asked an excellent question:
"How Should We Teach the Story of Our Country?"
Especially given the recent dispute about a new Advanced Placement course, that headline was asking an excellent question!
In a slightly different world, it could have triggered a lengthy discussion about our nation's history, such as it is. Also, about the kinds of frameworks we might build around our understanding of that topic.
How should American history be taught in the public schools? It would certainly start with the state of the Americas before European contact and in its immediate aftermath—with the history Charles Mann explored in his 2005 book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.
The story should start before 1492. Proceeding with all deliberate speed, it would soon reach 1619—a time "before the Mayflower."
That said, what frameworks should our public schools build around the exploration of the brutal behavior which is often involved? In a slightly better world, we could have had that discussion.
In fact, we don't live in any such world, and there's no sign that we will at any imaginable point.
At present, tribal warfare tends to intrude on the possibility of some such discussion. All too often, the foolishness may come from within our own blue tribe, though we members of that tribe have a very hard time coming to terms with that fact.
This is no country for solid discussions! By now, that fact is quite clear. Consider what happened on Monday night when Tucker Carlson instructed millions of voters concerning where Covid came from.
We'll start with a disclaimer. Except in the most obvious way, we ourselves have no idea where Covid came from.
We don't know whether it came from a lab or from a Chinese "wet market." The disordered fellow who works for Fox News doesn't know where Covid came from either, but minor matters of that type rarely intrude on his lectures.
How many miles past clowncar stupid can it get on our major "news channels?" Today, we'll show you part of the we saw, this past Monday night, when we watched the excitable fellow pretending to shape our understanding of this recent historical matter.
For starters, it's one of the heartbreaking ironies of modern "cable news" culture. The craziest presentations of all are given the cleanest transcription.
So it went on Monday night as Tucker fumed and posed. The transcript of the bulk of his monologue has been carefully proofread, and the videotape is also presented. The headline on the transcript says this:
TUCKER CARLSON: Why did people 'lie about the truth' of COVID's origins?
People had "lied about the truth!" Setting that odd construction to the side, we'll start as Carlson says this:
CARLSON (2/27/23): Nobody understands the principles of political venture capitalism better than, ironically, the communist Chinese government does. They paid Hunter Biden, too. And this weekend, we learned a little bit about what they got in return.
The Wall Street Journal reported the Biden administration has finally concluded that, yes, COVID was not naturally occurring. It didn't emerge organically from a pangolin, whatever that is, at a wet market, whatever that is.
No, the virus came from a Chinese military lab where it was created. That's the determination of the Department of Energy, based on new intelligence that of course, everyone already had.
As we mentioned yesterday, this fellow's misstatements come so think and so fast that it's virtually impossible for a fact-checker to keep up. And so it was in that short passage, which started with an unsupported, unexplained claim that the Chinese government was rewarded this weekend for having paid Hunter Biden.
That was just the appetizer. Instantly, viewers were handed this flat misstatement:
"The Wall Street Journal reported the Biden administration has finally concluded that, yes, COVID was not naturally occurring."
As you probably know, that isn't what the Journal reported. Also, it isn't what the Biden administration is known to have concluded.
It isn't even "the determination of the Department of Energy," unless you include the fact that department has rated its degree of certainty as "low confidence."
Also, the Department hasn't described the intelligence upon which it based that most likely / low confidence assessment. That said, had "everyone already had" that undefined intelligence?
Readers, please! This is Fox's excitable boy on one of his expeditions.
This week, pundits are asking why Rupert Murdoch, back in 2020, let Dobbs, Bartiromo, Pirro and Hannity pimp Sidney Powell's crazy claims about Dominion Voting Systems. We've seen no one ask why Murdoch lets his excitable boy go on the air with presentations like the one he offered this Monday night.
Setting that irony to the side, let's chart the fellow's performance:
Carlson had already given voice to multiple clowncar statements, including his silly reference to the pangolin. As he continued, he continued to suggest that the Biden administration now "knows" that Covid came out of a lab.
Does the Biden administration "know" that? As with everything else, everything is possible!
That said, Carlson never defended or supported his claim. Instead, he offered this:
CARLSON: Now we know all of that. Does Joe Biden still consider Vladimir Putin, he's so bad, the greatest threat to world peace and stability? It does seem like this story could overturn some of our previous assumptions.
Well, Joe Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, went on CNN yesterday to answer precisely none of these questions. Instead, he told us, "We're still not sure where it came from." Watch this.
DANA BASH: Did the coronavirus pandemic start in a lab? Is that what you believe now?
JAKE SULLIVAN: Well, Dana, there is a variety of views in the intelligence community. Some elements in the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said they just don't have enough information to be sure. And if we gain any further insider information, we will share it with Congress, and we will share it with the American people. But right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community on this question.
CARLSON (mockingly): We just can't say for sure where COVID came from! There's no consensus! We're still debating it!
Well, there's never a consensus in Washington about anything, particularly not with the intel agencies. They're lying! We know perfectly well COVID came from. We've known this for years.
Sullivan's lying, the silly boy said. Without quite remembering to define his principal term, he said, "We've known this for years."
Who is this "we" to whom Tucker referred? And in what sense has this "we" known these things "for years?"
The excitable child proceeded to lay out his brief. As he did, it began to seem that he meant that he—possibly, he and his staff—had known these things for years. This is what he said:
CARLSON (continuing from above): They're lying! We know perfectly well COVID came from. We've known this for years.
In fact, one of the very first things we knew about COVID was that it was an engineered virus that escaped somehow, intentionally or not, from a Chinese military biolab in Wuhan.
It was in early March of 2020, three full years ago, at the very beginning, that we did a long open on this show about the Chinese research paper whose authors later disappeared. Now, these Chinese scientific researchers scolded the Chinese government for the lax safety standards that they said allowed COVID to escape and infect the world.
This was three years ago. Watch this.
He'd known it since March 2020, three years back, when he'd done a long open about a research paper!
On the basis of that long open, we'd all known, for the past three years, that Covid escaped from a lab! Ever since that program, we'd all known that fact—but here was the tape he now played:
CARLSON (continuing from above): This was three years ago. Watch this.
CARLSON (March 2020): In fact, the outbreak may have begun, not in a public meat market, but in a poorly run Chinese laboratory. Now, that's not our theory. Anyone who raises that theory on American television is attacked as a conspiracy monger. But this is a theory from a now censored Chinese paper, a draft paper posted in mid-February.
Scientists at the South China University of Technology suggested the virus outbreak, coronavirus outbreak, began at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control, where an animal may have infected a researcher who then spread the disease outside the facility.
The paper is explicit about this. We're going to quote it. "The killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan," end quote.
CARLSON: So it's not like we did a lot of hard hitting reporting with our Chinese speaking staff. That paper was in English on the Internet and anyone who was interested could have found it. We were just interested. That's why we found it. And then we found someone who was there.
Back in March of 2020, the child had found a paper on the Internet! Anyone could have found the paper, but only Carlson did!
Also, and most clownishly, be sure you understand this:
Carlson had only said, in that three-year-old broadcast, that Covid "may have begun" in a Chinese lab. He had described that as "a theory."
That Internet paper was "explicit," Carlson had said. He had said that he was going to quote it!
And then, Rupert Murdoch's silliest child did quote the paper he'd found on the Net! When he did, the paper had only said that Covid "probably" came from a lab.
On Monday night, the silly child said that Sullivan was lying when he said that we still aren't sure where Covid originated. He seemed to say that he knows this based on a paper from three years ago—a paper whose authors had also said they weren't sure!
Carlson never explained why we should assume that anything in that research paper was actually accurate. As he proceeded, he fleshed out this last statement from above:
"And then we found someone who was there."
He was referring to Li Meng Yan, a Steve Bannon discovery and functionary whose claims, rightly or wrongly, have been widely challenged over the past several years.
At this point, Carlson played tape of one of her interviews on his show from past years, without explaining why we should assume that her claims are accurate. Later, he introduced her for a brand-new guest appearance.
You can watch the videotape of that new appearance here. At that same site, Fox News summarizes what was said, this Monday night, in this manner:
CARNAHAN (2/28/23): Host Tucker Carlson asked Yan on Monday if she still believes the virus was intentionally released nearly three years after the pandemic started.
"Of course, it was not an accident," she responded.
Carlson suggested the Chinese government unleashed COVID to destroy Western economies and elevate their own position globally.
Yan said based on the evidence she has seen and the source she has spoken to, the virus was "intentionally brought out of this strict lab and released in the community."
"However, I don't think the outbreak in Wuhan was intentional. I would say it was because [the] CCP government and the military scientists underestimated the transmissibility," she added. "That's why finally it got out of control and the cost [was] a local outbreak. However, we should know that [the] CCP government intentionally let it go all over the world to kill millions of people all over the world later."
Up to this point, Carlson had repeatedly said that he didn't know if the release of Covid has been intentional. Now, he effusively vouched for his star guest as she offered a different assessment.
Viewers were told that Covid was deliberately released by the Chinese government with the intention of killing millions of people all over the world. No doubt, we knew it all along, thanks to the papers Carlson and his staff have managed to find on the Net!
In the past few days, journalists have asked why Rupert Murdoch let Dobbs and Bartiromo clown in the way they did in November 2020. We've seen no one ask why Murdoch lets this baldly disordered boy go on the air at the present time.
As we noted yesterday, it's very. very. very hard to fact-check a program like Carlson's. As we told you yesterday, the leaps of logic and the fractured facts come at us thick and fast. They're accompanied by Carlson's smirk and sneers, and by his weird gales of laughter.
So how about it, Pilgrim? How should our American history be taught to the nation's kids?
No such discussion could ever occur within our broken journalistic / academic culture. At present, The Crazy comes from several directions, frequently joined by The Merely Stretched or Overwrought, and of course by The Dumb and The Performative and The Merely Ludicrous.
This has been happening for a long time. We started this site in 1998 because things had gotten so bad within the mainstream press.
Our own blue tribe is involved in this cultural breakdown, though we're generally unable to see this. Meanwhile, as Carlson thrashes and flails, mainstream reporters frisk Murdoch's lassitude from three years ago, except on Morning Joe.
Tomorrow: Maureen Dowd?