Tucker Carlson did yet another about face on Trump and Ukraine last night, this time “forgetting” his condemnation of Trump’s Ukraine behavior in print on Thursday night and returning to his “nothing to see here” stance on Fox News.
On Carlson’s Thursday night show, he blasted Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal, which prompted a formal impeachment inquiry, as a “ludicrous, unbelievably dumb story.”
Three hours later, a Daily Caller column co-authored by Carlson scathingly criticized Trump’s behavior with Ukraine as, essentially, an abuse of power that nevertheless did not rise to the level of impeachment. The column began:
Donald Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden. Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea. Like a lot of things Trump does, it was pretty over-the-top. Our leaders’ official actions should not be about politics. Those two things need to remain separate. Once those in control of our government use it to advance their political goals, we become just another of the world’s many corrupt countries. America is better than that. [My emphases added]
America may be better than that but Tucker Carlson isn’t. Last night, he lurched back to his “nothing to see here” Fox host persona without explanation.
In his opening statement, Fox News Channel Carlson complained about the media’s “second full week of total saturation Ukraine coverage.”
FOX NEWS CARLSON: So at this point, you'd think it would be obvious what exactly the fuss is about. After this much talking, you would assume every person in America would understand what crimes Donald Trump is being accused of committing.
But no, even now, the story still feels obscure and strangely light. There's nothing mysterious or weighty about it. We already know all of the facts, there's a transcript, and yet they still don't seem very shocking.
And so maybe for that reason, our news anchors have been doing their very best to keep the blood pressure high. The game is boring, so the cheerleaders have to work overtime, twice as hard.
Carlson played a clip of MSNBC host Chuck Todd saying, “The basic rules of our democracy are under attack from the president.” That’s not very different from what Daily Caller Carlson said. But on Fox, he pretended otherwise, with extra venom:
FOX NEWS CARLSON: Well, I think a good cliche bomb just went off. Try to ignore how hackneyed and badly written that speech was. The state of education in this country clearly is in rapid decline. Nobody can write a decent paragraph anymore. Someday we're going to do a special on that.
But for now, consider the substance of what you just heard, to the extent there was any. The basic rules of our democracy are under attack - that's what they're telling you. So what exactly are the basic rules of our democracy? Well, the most basic rule of all, is it the people rule.
FNC Carlson’s point was that the impeachment effort itself is an attempt to undermine to democracy. “So yes, our democracy is under attack. They are right about that. And yet for all of his faults, Donald Trump is not the attacker,” Fox News Carlson said.
Fox News Carlson also suggested there’s nothing wrong with soliciting information from foreign countries – which is the exact behavior Daily Caller Carlson called “over-the-top” approximately 10 hours earlier:
FOX NEWS CARLSON [in mocking voice]: Soliciting information from foreign countries is corrupt and evil. That's what they're telling you. Okay, fine. But let's at least acknowledge that this standard is a brand new standard, I mean, brand new standard, like 20 minutes ago...
Fox News Carlson next embarked on a long, familiar jag against the Democrats and the press over the Steele dossier and the Russia investigation, with the suggestion that the supposed hypocrisy mitigated Trump’s malfeasance. Even though Daily Caller Carlson had just lectured “there’s no way to spin” Trump’s behavior.
Then before launching an attack on Hillary Clinton and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, we got this from FNC Carlson:
FOX NEWS CARLSON: So let's just be totally honest. Let's stop lying if we can, just for a second. I know it's hard in modern America where everyone is required to lie all the time. But let's just be honest, for this one moment.
Fine, Tucker, why don’t you go first and provide an honest explanation to your viewers as to how you can gyrate so much in just 24 hours?
FNC Carlson also made this intriguing comment that suggests he knows darned well that Trump’s own family corruption could stand some scrutiny:
FOX NEWS CARLSON: We're picking on Joe Biden's son because it's in the news, but it could be a lot of people's sons, trust me.
In fact, Trump’s family corruption is way, way worse than anything Biden and his son are being accused of. It just so happens I wrote about that today in a post for Crooks and Liars. Yet, FNC Carlson didn’t say a word about any of it.
Maybe Daily Caller Carlson will get around to it.
Watch Daily Caller Carlson whipsaw back to Fox News Carlson below, from the October 4, 2019 Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Some angry Right Wingers, particularly the more uninformed ones like Limbaugh, disgraced former host O’Reilly and and the looney Glenn Beck, will continue to triple and quadruple down on the notion that the Pence White House is totally above reproach and that everyone should just go with their conspiracy theories about Biden and the Democratic Party.
This secondary approach is likely to be the one that prevails on Fox News, regardless of Carlson’s attempt to hedge. Partly because Fox News takes its cues from Limbaugh, and partly because all involved know that this is an electoral strategy.
The most likely result we could see from this situation is sadly not a trial in the US Senate, and the Democratic congresspeople are fully aware of that. Instead, there may or may not be a vote to impeach in the House, which will go through almost completely on party lines – maybe one or two Red State Dems staying out of it. The GOP will try to maintain a wall of unity against it. Then Mitch McConnell will snicker that he’d said he would be forced to have that trial – but he never said WHEN. And then he’ll opine that this matter should be left to the American people to decide at the ballot box in a year. The Dems will then campaign through the year on the injustice of it all, hoping to win the Senate as well as the White House. The Right Wing will also campaign through 2020 on it, saying that “YOUR PRESIDENT” is under attack and everyone must vote to save him – in addition to continuing to throw around lies about the Bidens. And it will all come down to who shows up to vote in November 2020. Which is frankly the way this was always going to go anyway.