Would you want to be Tucker Carlson?


How did he get to be like that? In the famous Orson Welles film, the last word or words of Charles Foster Kane was this now-famous word:


In Welles' rendering, that final word offered the key to how the vastly disordered (and fictional) Kane had come to be the disordered person he was. 

We've been thinking about Citizen Kane ever since Tucker Carlson was shown the door at Fox. Especially given the new accounts of the misogyny which allegedly dominated the world of Tucker Carlson Tonight, we keep wondering how this actual, vastly disordered person came to be who he is.

Yesterday, Abby Grossberg was interviewed by Nicolle Wallace on Deadline: White House. Grossberg is a former Carlson staffer. In her current pair of lawsuits against Fox News. she has described the astounding misogyny which allegedly dominated CarlsonWorld.

Grossberg was interviewed from the 4 o'clock start of yesterday's program until 4:41 P.M. Eastern. We didn't think Wallace did a great job examining Grossberg's experiences within the world of Tucker Carlson Tonight.

How sick and disordered is this sick former star? In its initial report about Grossberg's lawsuits, the New York Times offered this:

CONFESSORE AND ROBERTSON (3/21/23): The lawsuits also include details about Ms. Grossberg’s work life at Fox and on Mr. Carlson’s show. Ms. Grossberg says she and other women endured frank and open sexism from co-workers and superiors at the network, which has been dogged for years by lawsuits and allegations about sexual harassment by Fox executives and stars.


According to the lawsuits filed by Ms. Grossberg, Fox superiors called [Maria] Bartiromo a “crazy bitch” who was “menopausal” and asked Ms. Grossberg to cut the host out of coverage discussions.

Last year, she began working as a senior booking producer at “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” On her first full day, according to the lawsuit, Ms. Grossberg discovered that the show’s Manhattan work space was decorated with large pictures of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, then the House speaker, wearing a plunging swimsuit.

The next day, Justin Wells, Mr. Carlson’s top producer, called Ms. Grossberg into his office, she said, to ask whether Ms. Bartiromo was having a sexual relationship with the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy.

Mr. Carlson’s staff joked about Jews and freely deployed a vulgar term for women, according to the complaint.

Oh yes, that "vulgar term for women." What can possibly explain the fact that "grown men" behave that way?

Carlson's apparent contempt for (liberal) women was routinely apparent in his work on the air at Fox. Grossberg's claims about the behavior of Carlson and his pitiful, incel-adjacent staff seem to deepen the picture.

In his famous film, Orson Welles tries to explain the disordered life of a disordered (fictional) person. In the last few days, we've been wondering how Tucker Carlson got to be the way he, rather transparently, actually is and has been.

How do you get to be like that? What explains the ability of a wealthy person to go on TV and do the various things Carlson did? 

What explains the loathing of women which animated the noxious culture described in Grossberg's lawsuits? We'd like to see such questions explored. For starters, we'd again mention this:

Carlson was an abandoned child. We recommend pity for abandoned children—once they've been stripped of their power, of their ability to do harm to others.

The American song book urges such pity. According to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, "Motherless child sees a hard time when mother is gone."

We offer one last word of advice to all our blue tribe members:

All too often, we bestow power on disordered people when we attack them as liars and racists.

Carlson's a badly disordered child. Describing him (and others) as what they are may lead to better outcomes.

The fuller lyrics: The song tracks back further in the American songbook. But as performed by Terry and McGhee, its initial assessment is rendered as shown:

Motherless child sees a hard time when mother is gone.
Motherless child sees a hard time when mother is gone.
They don't have nowhere to go;
They will run from door to door.
Motherless child sees a hard time when mother is gone.

For a performance from (probably) the 1950s, you can just click here.


  1. The second amendment is evil.

  2. "badly disordered" seems like a gratuitous slander to me when applied to an individual person. it sounds like a unjustified diagnosis of mental illness.

    do you know of any "well-ordered" persons in politics or political journalism?

    American politics and political journalism, generally, is disordered. also corrupt.

    tucker carlson was not so "disordered" that he thought the war in Ukraine was a good idea.

    how many political journalists and pundits thought the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria were good ideas? how many are supporting the U.S. pursuit of war with Russia, China and Iran? how many happily supported the no-prosecutions bailout of 2007-10? touted the Russiagate conspiracy theory? any of them "disordered"?

    1. The “war in Ukraine” is an invasion and attack by Russia on a sovereign, democratic nation. Are you suggesting Russia should be rewarded with inaction on the part of the US and the EU, allowing Putin to conquer at will? That is the upshot of opposing the “war in Ukraine.”

    2. 3:14

      Your response makes use of a logical fallacy known as a false dilemma. It presents only two extreme options: either support the US and the EU in taking action against Russia's invasion of Ukraine or be accused of supporting Russia's aggression. This is a narrow and biased perspective that ignores the possibility of other options for addressing the situation in Ukraine. For instance, individuals may oppose military intervention or sanctions but still support diplomatic efforts or non-military aid to Ukraine.

      Additionally, the response employs loaded language by using the word "conquer," which can be seen as an exaggeration of the situation and a way to elicit an emotional response. It also assumes the motive of the individual in the original statement, suggesting that they are supporting Russia's actions rather than questioning the use of the term "badly disordered."

      Overall, the response uses fallacious reasoning and emotionally charged language to misrepresent the original statement and oversimplify a complex political situation.

    3. As soon as you read someone using the word "Russiagate", you know that person has no intellectual honesty.

    4. 3:44, thank you, Neville Chamberlain. Yes, what a marvelous idea, let's call Vlad and talk over a cup of tea.

    5. "Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, a top Putin official for decades, traveled to the United States for a United Nations Security Council meeting this week and on Tuesday, as he chaired that meeting, with the UN logo in the background, complained that Tucker Carlson had been fired from Fox News.

      "Perhaps it would be useful to consider how things are with freedom of speech in the United States," Lavrov said, through a translator (video below). "I've heard that Tucker Carlson has left Fox News. It's curious news. What is this related to? One can only guess.But clearly, the wealth of views in the American information space has suffered as a result."

      Lavrov also told the UN that the "First Amendment to the United States' Constitution apparently means nothing in practice," a false statement given that Fox News is a private corporation not a government entity.

      Next month will mark the six-year anniversary of when Lavrov, along with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak – an alleged top spy recruiter for Russia – were invited into the Oval Office by Donald Trump, during which he gave them code word classified top secret intelligence, putting Israeli spies at risk, and celebrated his firing the day before of FBI Director Jim Comey. No American journalists were allowed to be present, but a photographer from Russian state media was there to document what historian Michael Beschloss described as a "jovial secret meeting."


    6. Nice to see you again, Bruce Wilder; it's been a while.

      ...is there a place where we could find your comments these days?

    7. This Wilder chump seems deserving of the praise of scumbag Mao. Actually, I know of no one in the US who thought war in the Ukraine was “a good idea.” Many of us feel handing the Country over to Putin is a considerably worse one. As to the other idiot Trump/Bob supporter, there is actually not just two options, he had that right. What we are attempting to do is give the Ukrainians a chance to defend their own Country, not hand it over to a monster because Trumpian logic worships strength.

    8. If Ukraine falls, so will other now independent former members of the Soviet Union, as Putin invades them in turn. If Ukraine falls, Putin may challenge NATO member states, dragging the rest of Europe and the US into a much wider war.

    9. 5:55


      Your statement contains two conditional statements. The first statement is, "If Ukraine falls, so will other now independent former members of the Soviet Union, as Putin invades them in turn." The second statement is, "If Ukraine falls, Putin may challenge NATO member states, dragging the rest of Europe and the US into a much wider war."

      Regarding the first statement, it is plausible that if Ukraine were to fall to Russian aggression, Putin may be emboldened to invade other independent former Soviet states. However, this does not necessarily mean that other states will inevitably fall. The situation in each country is different, and it is possible that other states may be able to defend themselves more effectively than Ukraine.

      Regarding the second statement, it is also possible that if Ukraine falls, Putin may attempt to challenge NATO member states. However, it is important to note that NATO is a military alliance, and an attack on one member state is considered an attack on all member states. This means that any Russian aggression against a NATO member state would likely result in a military response from the entire alliance. The potential for a wider war is therefore a possibility, but not a certainty.

      Overall, the statement contains some valid concerns but also some logical fallacies. The two conditional statements are based on plausible scenarios but are presented as absolute certainties, which is not necessarily the case. Additionally, the statement does not provide any evidence to support its claims, which weakens its overall credibility.

    10. It is my opinion these possibilities are highly likely. That is implied and any human reader would get that I am stating an opinion and do not intend an absolute. Humans know that no prediction of the future is made with certainty.

    11. 6:12

      The phrase "no prediction of the future is made with certainty" itself is a prediction of the future made with certainty. Therefore, the statement is self-contradictory.

      There are many, many more errors in reason contained within your comment. I would be glad to detail each and every one of them for you if you would like.

    12. The sun will certainly rise tomorrow.

    13. @7:06 unless it doesn’t

    14. @6:41

      oh lookee, the bot is demonstrating sophistry!

    15. I don't condone the Russian invasion of the Ukraine in the least. But, part of the whole picture is that after the communists were ousted after Gorbachov, the US and the west lined up all these ex-Soviet countries as NATO members surrounding Russia. Look at how the US reacted when the USSR allied itself with Cuba. Would the US freak out if Mexico allowed China or Russia to build a military base in Mexico? The US basically blew off Russian concerns. Ukraine also has had, and probably still has, lots of corruption in its government. Could the war have been averted if we pledged not to admit Ukraine into NATO? I can't say that is the case, or that doing that would have been a capitulation that would have led to more aggression. Maybe US policy has given Russia reason for its sense of victimhood.

  3. the idea that Carlson, the most popular host on Cable News, was fired because of his misogyny sounds to me like the idea that we invaded Iraq because of WMDs or the idea that we were in Afghanistan for 20 years to protect the rights of girls to go to school.

    1. O’Reilly was fired for similar reasons. Corporate boards generally don’t like lawsuits.

    2. Do you doubt that Carlson was being sexist? Or are you claiming that these reasons are insufficient to fire someone?

    3. I guess that analogy makes sense to you but you appear to be quite the loon.


    4. Fox News firing Tucker for lying to their viewers doesn't make sense. Lying to their viewers is Fox News' business model. Expect a scandal involving Tucker and an under-age boy to drop next week.

  4. Somerby says: "Oh yes, that "vulgar term for women."

    Would he similarly say: "Oh yes, that vulgar term for black people."

    vulgar definition: "lacking sophistication or good taste; unrefined"

    The word in question is not only vulgar (impolite) but also intentially demeaning, derogatory, deliberately offensive. It further reduces a whole person to a sexual body part, which is an aspect of the objectification of women that is part of sexism. It is pretty much only used by men who hate women. Women never use it and it is not used in everyday language in the US (although it is in Great Britain). Any adult man must understand that women hate the word, so using it is a deliberate act of provocation when spoken where women can hear it.

    Somerby here dismisses it as impolite. That is a huge understatement. His "oh yes" implies something along the lines of "that old complaint again" or "that old word". I suspect his tone of voice would be sarcastic or feigned fatigue and his motive to diminish the seriousness of using that particular word, just as white bigots wish to call the n-word "just another word" and no big deal. "You women are just being oversensitive -- is it that time of the month?"

    Poor old Tucker is being attacked for using a word that those silly women get all excited about, but is after all, just a word. ETC ETC ETC.

    1. anon 4:30, you are being ridiculous. "Vulgar" is not synonymous with "impolite." Calling the use of the "c" word "vulgar" is not the same as "disimiss[ing] the use of the word as impolite."

  5. "Carlson's apparent contempt for (liberal) women was routinely apparent in his work on the air at Fox."

    Carlson doesn't only have contempt for liberal women. Maria Bartiromo wasn't treated with respect either.

  6. Republicans should support statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

  7. "Carlson was an abandoned child."

    Carlson's mother left and divorced his father when Carlson was 8, but his father did not abandon him. His father remarried shortly thereafter and Carlson had a stepmother, as is true of the majority of men who do not become misogynists as the result of divorce. Because the experience of divorce is so common among American children, Somerby needs to look elsewhere for his explanation.

    Perhaps Somerby might think about the impact of toxic male culture on boys whose fathers are busy accumulating money. In toxic male culture, the c-word is fun to use because it ticks off women and it makes men feel 10-feet tall with tan testicles to use it, especially where they can hear it said. I suspect that Somerby does not believe in toxic masculinity. I suspect also that Somerby would dismiss any feminist writing that tried to explain why men behave badly toward women.

    It is easy to look at a man like Carlson and assume that some early childhood experience (rosebud) would have made him a bad person, but that isn't how life works. Not even for Citizen Kane. This is a simplistic mistaking of coincidence for causality. How do we know? There are studies of the impact of divorce. Divorce at age 8 may cause some boys to be more aggressive, involved in fights, but that goes away after a few years. About 80% of children show no ill effects after their parents divorce. For most children, the divorce is better for them in the long run than had their parents stayed together in an unhappy marriage. Carlson might be one of the remaining 20%, but if so, he likely had other risk factors than simply his mother leaving.

    Why is Carlson so awful? Why was Hitler so awful? There is nothing overt in Hitler's past that would explain him in comparison to the many other boys with similar experiences and circumstances. Somerby might like to blame Hitler's mother too, but that isn't what psychiatrists or historians say.

    "One of the most puzzling aspects of Hitler's childhood is that investigators have been able to find little there to foreshadow the adult he would become. He did not torture animals (though there is a single, often repeated, story about a billy goat), and from the little that is known, he seemed a fairly normal child, though sexually shy in adolescence. ''Psychohistorians assume that the child had troublesome, deep conflicts (including ambivalent feelings about his mother and father),'' Dr. Redlich writes. ''I am more impressed with the fact that useful data about eating habits, sleep disorders and toilet training are lacking.''
    "Yet Dr. Redlich concludes that attaching a formal psychiatric diagnosis to the Nazi leader is not very useful. When applying such diagnoses, he writes, he often feels ''as if I were in a cheap clothing store: Nothing fits, and everything fits.'' Ultimately, the psychiatrist portrays Hitler as a man who was more than the sum of his pathology, entirely responsible for his actions."

    I think the same can be said of both Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump. These guys know what they are doing.


  8. Bob is reaching hard to make you feel bad for Tucker Carlson. Hard to imagine anyone on either side being swayed by this.
    While Welles was aiming for the tragic at the end of Kane. I don’t think he wants you to pity him at the end. It’s a general sadness at the waste of his folly I think he wants you to feel.

  9. From Digby, who quotes the 10 most fascist things Tucker Carlson has said (from NPR), here's the one about women:

    "10. He minimized the severity of statutory rape and said women are “primitive.”

    Carlson made weekly calls to a shock jock radio show between 2006 and 2011. During those hour-long calls, he repeatedly made vile comments about women and sex. Media Matters for America resurfaced those recordings in 2019, revealing that Carlson had downplayed the gravity of statutory rape and called women “primitive.”

    During one call, Carlson said that child marriage is not “the same thing exactly as pulling a child from a bus stop and sexually assaulting that child.”

    “The rapist, in this case, has made a lifelong commitment to live and take care of the person, so it is a little different,” he said, by way of a totally normal and not at all horrifying explanation.

    In another call, Carlson called women “extremely primitive” and “basic.” “They hate weakness. They’re like dogs that way,” he said.

    Check out even more bonkers things Carlson has said here.

    If there’s one thing that seems to be authentic about Carlson, other than his love of money, is misogyny. The rest can be chalked up to his desire to give his audience what he’s discovered they really want which is conspiracy theories and extreme bigotry. But the hatred for women seems to be a real thing."



  10. "Carlson was an abandoned child. We recommend pity for abandoned children—once they've been stripped of their power, of their ability to do harm to others."

    As someone already said Carlson had a father who married a Swanson Foods heiress and was destined to inherit lots money. There is no evidence of any abuse and he lived in great comfort.

    Carlson has been on our media airwaves since 2000, the whole time Somerby has had a blog. Why does he wait until now to ask us to pity him?

    1. He explicitly says why in the post.

    2. 6:27 I don’t see that.

      Carlson is now mud to Somerby ever since it was revealed that he detests Trump.

    3. "6:27 I don’t see that."

      That makes perfect sense.

    4. 11:08 quote the explicit saying why….

    5. I won't do your reading comprehension for you. But it's there! It was there yesterday too. What are you, stupid?

  11. I had an idyllic childhood and I’m a jerk.

  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Carlson

    Carlson's father is alive and well, so there's an opportunity for Bob to interview him and get the full story of Tucker's childhood. Then we can learn to see how the multi-millionaire was destined to become "badly disordered."

    You would think that the father, not Bob, would be leading the pity party.

  13. If attacking people as liars and racists bestowed them power, they would not howl about such attacks, such as they do.

    I read through all the evidence Somerby compiled to substantiate this above claim, it was not compelling…largely because he neglected to provide any.

    Essentially Somerby is asking why are there right wingers, how do people become obsessed with dominance, manifested through oppression. This isn’t such a mystery, this condition emerged when societies transitioned to agrarian surplus societies that led to privatization and commodification of natural resources. More directly, it seems to be mostly the result of unresolved childhood trauma, which effects brain and character development, even physically - scans reveal a smaller frontal cortex and a larger amygdala, which makes it more difficult to process experiences rationally and fear experienced more often and more intensely.

    Carlson, and the like, are not “bad seeds”, these are wounded people, suffering. Dr Bandy Lee says they are stuck in survival mode, rational persuasion has no effect, and they are leading our country down a death spiral.

    Moving our society away from its knife edge experience, back to our natural human roots of egalitarianism is most likely the best course of action.

    1. "If attacking people as liars and racists bestowed them power, they would not howl about such attacks, such as they do."

      I understand the perspective you were trying to convey, but I noticed a flaw in the reasoning of your statement that I wanted to bring to your attention. Specifically, you seem to be making a false cause argument. That is, you're suggesting that the reason people howl about being attacked as liars and racists is that they believe such attacks diminish their power. However, this assumption may not always be true.

      For example, some people may howl about such attacks simply because they find them hurtful or offensive, regardless of whether they believe the attacks undermine their power. Additionally, it's important to note that not all people who are accused of being liars and racists would necessarily react in the same way. So, making generalizations about how people will react to such attacks may not be accurate or helpful.

      I hope this explanation makes sense and helps clarify the issue for you. If you have any questions or want to discuss this further, please don't hesitate to let me know.

    2. Perhaps we could consider why they might find the attacks hurtful or offensive, or why they react in any manner; I think it’s possible we would wind up circling back to confirming that Somerby’s claim is a bit nonsensical. Having said that I appreciate your perspective, especially about the pitfalls of generalizing, your points are well taken.

    3. 11:48, yes, they've always been so kind and considerate of my feelings when they've criticized and attacked me for the last half a century.

  14. "They don't have nowhere to go;
    They will run from door to door."

    This wasn't true for Carlson or Somerby, who had a mother he didn't like or appreciate.

    1. It seems doubly offensive for Somerby to borrow the lyrics of a gospel blues song and apply them to a rich snot like Carlson.

  15. Well, by golly, roast my fanny over Miami! What a crazy week!

  16. Perhaps the occupants of a burning building should muster up pity for the arsonist, based upon some pseudo psychological babble. What prompts Bobby to engage in such utter nonsense is anyone's guess here.

  17. One hell of an ugly attack here on "damaged" motherless children.