Is something wrong with Tucker Carlson?


Sisyphus, Carlson and Trump: How do misconceptions arise? We're talking about the kinds of misconceptions which can be quite destructive.

Before we cite a recent personal experience, consider one part of Paul Krugman's column in today's New York Times. 

In the column, Krugman is describing what it's like to live in New York City. Midway through, he cites one part of Donald J. Trump's crackpot speech to CPAC:

KRUGMAN (3/7/23): What about crime? There’s a widespread perception that New York [City] is a dangerous place. In his speech Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Donald Trump asserted that “killings are taking place at a number like nobody’s ever seen, right in Manhattan.” Yet the reality is that New York is one of the safest places in America. No doubt, New Yorkers themselves were greatly upset by a surge in the crime rate during the pandemic, but this surge may be ebbing, with murders in particular down to their lowest level since 2019.

"There’s a widespread perception that New York [City} is a dangerous place," Krugman correctly says. Then he quotes a crackpot part of Trump's crackpot speech—a crackpot passage which will give many people that (generally) false impression.

As Krugman correctly notes, that impression does exist! Over the weekend, we visited a lifelong resident of New York City who now lives in the Hudson Valley. In passing, she relayed the impression that Gotham has become a much more dangerous place. She specifically mentioned the many killings.

We didn't have the specific numbers, but we said, to this lifelong New Yorker's street-smart surprise, that homicides were way, way down in Gotham compared to the 1990s, when she and her husband were out and about in their city's streets. 

And then, sure enough! In Sunday morning's New York Times, Linda Qiu fact-checked Trump's lunatic assertion:

“Killings are taking place at a number like nobody’s ever seen, right in Manhattan.”

False. Murders declined in New York by about 11 percent from 488 homicides in 2021 to 433 homicides last year. It was the lowest level since 2019, according to the city’s Police Department...

Those numbers also pale in comparison to the height of crime in New York in the 1980s and 1990s, when Mr. Trump was a mainstay of the city and when it regularly recorded more than 1,500 murders annually. Homicides peaked in 1990 at 2,245.

Last year, homicides in Gotham were roughly one fifth what they'd been in 1990! That said, one native New Yorker had no idea—and there was our disordered former president, engaged in the sort of disordered behavior which is now his disordered trademark.

Last night, things got worse when Tucker Carlson was allowed to go on the air. He was starting his exposition of what he has supposedly learned about the events of January 6 from those 44,000 hours of videotape.

All in all, the dissembling was general. As we imagined trying to fact-check Carlson's rolling collection of misstatements, we thought of the way Sisyphus famously labored under his irreducible load.

As always, there were leaps of logic and fractured facts, mixed with the O'Donnell-like claim that everyone has constantly been "lying." 

Sweeping claims were made, with all attempts at sourcing withheld. Indeed, if it weren't for the total absence of sourcing, there would have been no sourcing at all!

In all honesty, it's virtually impossible to fact check such an array of fake, fudged, phony statements. If you have the stomach for it, it's relatively easy to make an array of bogus claims. It takes a major effort to correct or address such a collection of groaners.

As always, there was a bit of a hint of a germ of truth to a few of Carlson's complaints. On the whole, we were left wondering, as we've wondered in the past, about what kind of intellectual or emotional breakdown might perhaps begin to explain where this lost boy has gone.

You can't really fact check such work! The waves of misstatements keep rolling in. By the time one misstatement has been addressed, six others have washed ashore.

Meanwhile, our highest end journalists still refuse to deal with the obvious fact that something seems to be "wrong" with people like Carlson and Trump. 

Over at The Atlantic, Tom Nichols recently tried to address this point. We'd have to say that he tried and he failed—in the end, that his courage abandoned him.

These people simply aren't up to the challenge of coming to terms with the current state of play within our failing pseudo-discourse. Tomorrow, with Sisyphus wearily trudging along, we plan to take you to Nichols' piece and show you where he lost his nerve concerning this existential problem.

Is something wrong with Tucker Carlson? Dangerous though the question may be, it's time that top "journalists" asked.

UPDATE / At long last: "At long last," at least half a dozen Republican senators are condemning what Carlson did last night. Also, Senator Schumer.

 Yahoo's breaking report is here. It offers plenty of quotes.


  1. Thank God for the incomparable Tucker Carlson, dear Bob; the only one establishment talking head who would invite the incomparable Jimmy Dore to his show. his January 6 effort. It is unfortunate that you somehow missed all the "sourcing", but others did see it. Hopefully, it'll help reduce the embarrassingly high number of political prisoners in the US of A...

    1. "incomparable"?
      Comparing them to Nazis is far too easy.

    2. Mao Jr again seems engaged in the sort of disordered behavior which is now his disordered trademark. What kind of intellectual or emotional breakdown might perhaps begin to explain where this lost boy has gone?

    3. "the embarrassingly high number of political prisoners in the US of A..." Shame for all those White capitol tourists that in response to BLM protests on Federal Property Trump signed an executive order to punish them harder. Too bad the same law applies to white tourists. Hardy hathat.

  2. "Is Something Wrong with Tucker Carlson?"

    Only if you think supporting fascism is wrong.

    1. Somerby is among those lacking nerve, since he too was recently telling us to go listen to Fox because they have better facts, things our own cable won’t tell us, like millions of bald lies, too many to fact check! Somerby is too late with too little, to take him seriously in his criticism now.

    "Fox News’ Violent Crime Coverage Plunges 63% After Election Day."
    Yes, it's a proven fact that Fox news is purely and solely a propaganda arm of the Republican Party.
    News Corp and IHeartMedia are the multi-billion dollar media corporations that have driven the vicious right-wing propaganda, which is all that many Americans ever get. These billionaire-owned companies and others have perfected the hate-filled irrational ranting that is the backbone of the right-wing media landscape. The only ideas left in the Republican Party are "greed is good," hatred of non-whites, and fundamentalist Christianity, which is the source of the anti-sex obsession(gay/trans fear and fear of women controlling their own bodies.

  4. Neither the Yahoo article, nor Krugman, nor Bob quoted what Carson actually said.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. What do you think the people who broke into the Capitol wanted to accomplish?


    3. Oh dear. You don't even know what was happening there, at the time? we seem to recall, they were protesting something...

    4. I think they wanted to protest and to forstall the vote.

    5. Forestall means to hinder, or prevent. They did hinder the vote for a few hours. Do you think this kind of action is a good thing and should become a Republican tradition every time they lose?

    6. They wanted to prevent the voting so Trump could go to the capitol and be proclaimed king. That was forestalled.


    7. Every time there is a massive establishment-run effort to swing an election, something like that might happen. It doesn't matter if it's against Rs or Ds..

    8. Gloucon, no, I think it was a bad and misguided thing.

      I think some people were there to protest and some where there riot.

      As can be seen in many of the protests during 2019, when the violence gets rolling, everything goes out of control.

      It was not the first riot on federal property. Protesters from a former protest in the ‘60s tried to blow things up.

      After they were arrested, they were met with numerous pro bono offers from high profile attorneys.

      Some of those people went to be influential the political sphere.

      As usual, it not what you know, it’s who you know.

    9. Cecelia, some were there to capture the capitol building and hang Pence and Pelosi, by their own admission. That’s why people have been convicted of seditious conspiracy, not just violence relayed to rioting that got out of hand.

    10. Talking about the weathermen doesn’t excuse what happened on 1/6.

    11. Anonymouse 5:30pm, show me a protest that has turned riotous without some people being there to hurt other people.

      Do you think throwing soup cans at the heads of police officers is a non-lethal action?

      Same with aiming fireworks the cops.

      Do you think trying to burn down the building where the mayor of Portland lived wasn’t an act against the powers that be in that city?

    12. Cecelia they were there to put Trump back in office, to overturn an election. They were convicted for that, not just hurting cops and destroying property.

    13. Cecelia — look up the word sedition.

    14. Anonymouse 5:32pm, I didn’t say the Weathermen group excused anything.

      However, people still have historically managed to make distinctions between some people protesting against the U.S. government and other people protesting it,

      Even when they had Molotov cocktails in their hands.

    15. David, let me help you out.
      Here's what Tucker said.

      You and the rest of the Fox audience are a bunch of fucking ignorant rubes. You're the mark, David. Except, he said that when you're not looking.

    16. Cecelia, trying to overturn an election by force (violence) is not a protest. It is sedition, which is a crime.

    17. Since the British army burned it in 1812 there has been no large scale attack on the US Capital Building until the one organized and led by Trump and Republicans. The Republican mob committed more than 1,000 assaults on police. For three hours Trump said and did nothing to stop them as he gleefully watched it on tv. Congratulations to the party of so-called "law and order." Open, violent, sedition is now the proud legacy of the Republican Party. How can anyone who believes in democratic values continue to support such a party?

    18. "they were protesting something..."
      something = black people's votes being counted in the 2020 Presidential election.
      Let's not whitewash why these snowflakes threw their temper tantrum. It's insulting to those who pay attention.

    19. Congratulations. Even Rupert Murdoch threw Carlson under the bus. But you defend him. Well played. Do you not understand your role in the Fox business model? Zero insight.


    20. @Gloucon 8:01 PM

      "Since the British army burned it in 1812 there has been no large scale attack on the US Capital Building until the one organized and led by Trump and Republicans."

      Ha-ha: the British army? How quaint, dear dembot.

      Yeah. Hordes of smelly commoners, contemptible Walmart shoppers, desecrated the temple where Demigods Pelosi, Schumer, and Ocasio-Cortez live!

      We demand a divine retribution! Dear Liberal Gods, please strike down upon the deplorables with great vengeance and furious anger!

    21. Mao wold like us to forget Republican voters wanted to smear their ideology on Pelosi's office walls.

  5. Somerby is complaining because one trump lie out of so many was not immediately rebutted. Everything he says is a lie!

  6. You don’t need Carlson to supply sources in order to fact check him. Find your own. I doubt there were any crumbs of truth since Somerby himself needs fact checking these days.

  7. “Is something wrong with Tucker Carlson?”

    “As always, there was a bit of a hint of a germ of truth to a few of Carlson's complaints. …what kind of intellectual or emotional breakdown might perhaps begin to explain where this lost boy has gone.”

    There’s is nothing unusual about him (or Trump) if you have any knowledge at all of the long and deep history of right-wing demagoguery in the USA. There is no “lost boy” among them, they know exactly what they are doing and so do the billionaires who own the media platforms they use. It’s moronic to frame this as a problem can be cured by giving therapy to a few individuals.

  8. From Digby:

    Quite ordinary and shallow men are able to produce tweets of very great importance because of their matter, which was accessible to them alone. Take, for instance, tweets which give descriptions of foreign countries, rare natural phenomena, experiments that have been made, historical events of which they were witnesses, or have spent both time and trouble in inquiring into and specially studying the authorities for them.
    On the other hand, it is on form that we are dependent, where the matter is accessible to every one or very well known; and it is what has been thought about the matter that will give any value to the achievement; it will only be an eminent man who will be able to write anything that is worth reading. For the others will only think what is possible for every other man to think. They give the impress of their own mind; but every one already possesses the original of this impression.
    However, Democrats are very much more interested in matter than in form, and it is for this very reason that it is behindhand in any high degree of culture. It is most laughable the way the public reveals its liking for matter in poetic works; it carefully investigates the real events or personal circumstances of the poet's life which served to give the motif of his works; nay, finally, it finds these more interesting than the works themselves; it reads more about Goethe than what has been written by Goethe, and industriously studies the legend of Faust in preference to Goethe's Faust itself. And when B├╝rger said that "people would make learned expositions as to who Leonora really was," we see this literally fulfilled in Goethe's case, for we now have many learned expositions on Faust and the Faust legend. They are and will remain of a purely material character. This preference for matter to form is the same as a man ignoring the shape and painting of a fine Etruscan vase in order to make a chemical examination of the clay and colours of which it is made. The attempt to be effective by means of the matter used, thereby ministering to this evil propensity of the public, is absolutely to be censured in branches of writing where the merit must lie expressly in the form; as, for instance, in poetical writing. However, there are numerous bad dramatic authors striving to fill the theatre by means of the matter they are treating. For instance, they place on the stage any kind of celebrated man, however stripped of dramatic incidents his life may have been, nay, sometimes without waiting until the persons who appear with him are dead.
    The distinction between matter and form, of which I am here speaking, is true also in regard to conversation. It is chiefly intelligence, judgment, wit, and vivacity that enable a man to converse; they give form to the conversation. However, the matter of the conversation must soon come into notice—in other words, that about which one can talk to the man, namely, his knowledge. If this is very small, it will only be his possessing the above-named formal qualities in a quite exceptionally high degree that will make his conversation of any value, for his matter will be restricted to things concerning humanity and nature, which are known generally. It is just the reverse if a man is wanting in these formal qualities, but has, on the other hand, knowledge of such a kind that it lends value to his conversation; this value, however, will then entirely rest on the matter of his conversation, for, according to the Spanish proverb, mas sabe el necio en su casa, que el sabio en la agena.
    A thought only really lives until it has reached the boundary line of words; it then becomes petrified and dies immediately; yet it is as everlasting as the fossilized animals and plants of former ages. Its existence, which is really momentary, may be compared to a crystal the instant it becomes crystallized.

  9. Happy Birthday Bob:

    1. Yeah, but Bob's specific hang-up was Einstein's explanation of the relativity of simultaneity