WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2023
...for what Tucker Carlson did: In this morning's widely praised report, we discussed some of what Tucker Carlson did in Monday night's opening monologue.
Just this once, let's be frank: We don't even have a word for what this "lost boy" did.
Also, we don't really have a word for a related phenomenon:
We don't have a word for the fact that someone can do what Carlson did and no one will say a word.
At this site, we've tended to describe this cultural phenomenon as an "imitation of life"—more specifically, in this case, as an imitation of discourse.
But no, we aren't the rational animal, and we don't have a national discourse. We have a culture in which tribes shout soundbites at each other and call each other names.
In fairness, it's very, very, very hard to critique what Carlson did. The lapses of logic and self-contradictions come at you thick and fast.
The false or unfounded factual claims are instantaneous and general. It's easy to create a realm built on misdirection, much harder to take it apart.
We tend think of something the later Wittgenstein said in a totally different context:
Here it is difficult as it were to keep our heads up...We feel as if we had to repair a torn spider's web with our bare hands.
Speaking to millions of people each night, Carlson tears spider's webs. His viewers don't hear the logical leaps and the flight from facts—and for the most part, the rest of the world just lets the whole gong-show go.
For what it's worth, we'll mention Morning Joe once again:
How did the virulently anti-Trump show react to Monday afternoon's court filing, in which Rupert Murdoch acknowledged that at least four Fox hosts had "endorsed" Sidney Powell's crackpot claims about the way Dominion Voting Systems had stolen the 2020 election from Donald J. Trump?
How did the program react to that front-page news? As we noted yesterday, the fiery program completely ducked the issue on Tuesday morning.
On this morning's four-hour show, the name "Murdoch" was mentioned exactly once. It was mentioned in the manner shown, right at the start of a new segment at 6:24 A.M.:
JIMMY FALLON: A new court filing shows that Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch admitted some of the network's hosts endorsed false claims about the 2020 election. Today, Fox News promised to focus on real issues, then introduced their newest host, Dilbert.
MIKA: Oh, wow! O.K. Welcome back to Morning Joe.
It's 24 past the hour. I guess we should give Trump a moment to not watch, because he doesn't want to get triggered, Willie.
From there, Mika introduced a discussion of Ron DeSantis. Translation:
When someone out in the world says "Fox," Morning Joe plays it safe and says "Trump."
We lack a word for what Tucker does, or for the ongoing dumbnification of the online Washington Post and the increasingly fatuous Slate. It's a dumb, dumb upper-end media world, and the media tends not to say so.