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Open Thread, and Tucker Carlson
There can be no proper posting until I finish my long-promised review of Robert F. Kennedy’s The Real Anthony Fauci, but I want to spare a few words for Tucker Carlson’s surprise firing from Fox News on Monday.
I’ve never seen a full episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, and I only know the man from short clips on Twitter and YouTube, but it’s obvious to me that this is bad for us. Carlson was a major conduit via which unapproved views – including many of the core arguments in this space – made it to mainstream television audiences. The dominance of American media lent him an outsized influence far beyond the Anglosphere, which is one reason that even German state media are doing a grotesque victory dance upon the ouster of this allegedly “racist, sexist and transphobic” foreign television commentator. Carlson is far from finished; he’ll surely take no small part of his audience to an alternative platform and continue to broadcast from there, but we should not deceive ourselves, that his reach – and, by extension, our own – has been substantially curtailed.
The specific circumstances surrounding Carlson’s firing don’t matter, for this is merely one small event in a much bigger process. In his recent statement, Carlson remarks that political discourse in the United States increasingly resembles that of a “one-party state.” The phenomenon is not confined to America. The establishment responded to the twin 2016 populist backlashes of Brexit and Trump’s election by circling their wagons and working to establish ideological conformity across all major Western institutions, as a means of preempting similar upsets from the unwashed masses in the future. One effect of this campaign is the ongoing exclusion of all nonconforming voices from the press, in favour of a bland, paternalistic Pravda-esque uniparty discourse. Carlson is more optimistic than I am, that this will end anytime soon.
UPDATE: While it is probably stupid to add an update to an open thread, I want to clarify one point, in light of comments. The significance of somebody like Carlson having a major television news show extends well beyond his specific viewers. Major media engage in a power process that determines the range of acceptable debate and ensures uniformity among elites on key questions. Carlson, however many views he’ll rack up in his post-Fox career, is now decidedly outside that process; the range of debate just got that much narrower, and the enforcement of regime-favouring orthodoxies that much easier. The result, in our eyes, is a narrow monotonous establishment discourse, but this doesn’t mean that mainstream media is dead, merely that it’s excluding ever more contrary voices.
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