Why Tucker Carlson is showing 'no embarrassment, no shame' over damning NY Times exposé: conservative

Why Tucker Carlson is showing 'no embarrassment, no shame' over damning NY Times exposé: conservative

In April, The New York Times published a three-part series of articles on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that painted him in an extremely negative light. The headlines included “How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable” and “How Tucker Carlson Reshaped Fox News — and Became Trump’s Heir” as well as “Inside the Apocalyptic Worldview of ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’” and one of the articles warned that Carlson hosts “what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news.”

Never Trump conservative Charlie Sykes, in a column published by The Bulwark on May 2, stresses that Carlson is obviously unfazed by the articles and being called a racist by the Times. On May 1, Carlson tweeted a photo of himself laughing at the articles and saying, in essence, that he couldn’t care less what Times reporters think of him.

In his tweet, Sykes observes, Carlson is showing “no embarrassment, no shame, no chagrin at being accused of the vilest sort of racist demagoguery — and not even a lingering trace of anxiety that this might actually be bad for his career, or his status as a decent human being.”

“There was once a time, believe it or not, that this kind of expose would have been a world-destroyer, both for Fox News and for Carlson himself,” Sykes explains. “Allegations of ‘racism’ were once toxic for both broadcasters and ‘thought-leaders,’ who could quickly find themselves cast out as pariahs. The more virulent bigots would lose their platforms and would be shunned from polite society.”

Sykes continues, “Even six years ago, the sort of rhetoric that is now routine on Carlson’s show would have drawn condemnation from conservative leaders and GOP politicians. But look at Tucker’s reaction again. He knows that none of that is going to happen…. We have to reckon with the fact that for much of the Carlson-esque right, ‘racism’ no longer carries any stigma. They literally no longer give a shit.”

Sykes is vehemently critical of Carlson and the MAGA movement in his May 2 column, but he also criticizes liberals and progressives — arguing that in that past, some people on the left were much too quick to accuse conservatives of racism. The result, according to Sykes, is what when someone on the far right such as Carlson really does promote racism, warnings from liberals and progressives are ineffective.

“Crying wolf had serious consequences for both sides, because over time, our audiences shrugged off the charges, responding to accusations of racism with an eye roll and ‘Not this again,’” Sykes argues. “By the time the real thing came along, the left had used up its rhetorical ammunition — and the right had become numb to the realities of the bigots around them.”

Sykes continues, “Many on the left seemed genuinely shocked that their charges of racism, sexism, and xenophobia did not seem to dent (former President Donald) Trump’s popularity with conservatives. Only belatedly did some of them realize that this may have been, at least in part, the price they paid for crying wolf for decades. Conservatives had become accustomed to being called mean, dumb, benighted bigots. So liberally had epithets been hurled at them, that conservatives came to recognize charges of ‘racism’ as merely the left’s code for ‘I don’t like you, shut up.’ While many Democrats claimed to be nostalgic for the kinder, gentler, more statesmanlike GOP candidates of the past, they often neglected to remember what they had said about them when they were actually running for office.”

Sykes, however, goes on to slam Republicans who were willing to look the other way when members of their party promoted overt racism — for example, the GOP birthers who pushed the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama wasn’t really a U.S. citizen and was born in Kenya.

“For years, we ignored the birthers, the racists, the truthers, and other conspiracy theorists who indulged fantasies of Obama’s secret Muslim plot to subvert Christendom, or who peddled tales of Hillary Clinton’s murder victims,” Sykes writes. “We treated them like your obnoxious uncle at Thanksgiving. Rather than confront them, we changed the channel because, after all, they were our friends, whose quirks could be indulged or at least ignored…. The hope was that the center would always hold, things would not fall apart, and principled conservatives would rise to the occasion — except they didn’t. That proved to be a moral failure that lies at the heart of the conservative movement.”


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