When Senator Ted Cruz begged Tucker Carlson’s forgiveness for calling the January 6th insurrection “a violent terror attack” and pretending he didn’t mean it, it wasn't just another demonstration of Cruz’s cowardice and Carlson’s anti-American fascism but just as much the perniciousness of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch who fund and profit from it all.
The jaw-dropping exchange between Carlson and Cruz occurred Friday night. Keep in mind that in addition to spreading white supremacy propaganda, Carlson is a lying, January 6th denier whom Fox has argued, under oath, nobody should take seriously. Yet the network, under the Murdochs, has given him outsized power and driven out more truth-based personnel.
Clearly, U.S. Senator Cruz takes Carlson very, very seriously.
CARLSON: [T]here are a lot of dumb people in the Congress, you're not one of them. I think you're smarter than I am. And you never use words carelessly, and yet you call this a terror attack when by no definition was it a terror attack? That's a lie.
You told that lie on purpose and I'm wondering why you did.
CRUZ: Well, Tucker, thank you for having me on.
CARLSON: Of course.
CRUZ: When you aired your episode last night, I sent you a text shortly thereafter and said, listen, I'd like to go on because the way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy, and it was frankly dumb.
CARLSON: I don't buy that. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't buy that. Look, I've known you a long time since before you went to the Senate. You're a Supreme Court contender.
You take words as seriously as any man who has ever served in the Senate, and every word -- you repeated that phrase, I do not believe that you used that accidentally. I just don't.
CRUZ: So, Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing, it has caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant. Let me tell you what I meant to say.
What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers, and I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail. That's who I was talking about.
And the reason the phrasing was sloppy is I have talked dozens, if not hundreds of times, I've drawn a distinction. I wasn't saying that the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn't saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting President Trump are terrorists, and that's what a lot of people have misunderstood that comment.
I would focus --
CARLSON: Wait a second, but even your way -- but hold on what you just said doesn't make sense. So if somebody assaults a cop, he should be charged and go to jail. I couldn't agree more. We have said that for years.
But that person is still not a terrorist. How many people have been charged with terrorism on January 6th? Like why did you use that word? You're playing into the other side's characterization that as Joe Kent just explained allows them to define an entire population as foreign combatants and you know that, so why did you do it?
CRUZ: So Tucker, let me answer you directly. The reason I used that word, for a decade, I have referred to people who violently assault police officers as terrorists. I've done so over and over and over again. If you look at all the assaults we've seen across the country, I've called that terrorism over and over again.
That being said, Tucker, I agree with you. It was a mistake to say that yesterday. And the reason is what you just said, which is we've now had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists, trying to say you're a terrorist, I'm a terrorist.
And so look, I don't like people who assault cops and I will stand up and defend cops, and the reason I use that word is that's the word I've always used for people that violently attack cops.
But in this context, I get why people were angry because we've had a year of the corrupt corporate media and Democrats claiming anyone who objected to the election fraud and by the way, remember what was happening during those protests –
CARLSON: Wait. Can I just ask -- hold on -- you work in the Senate. I just -- I guess I just don't believe you and I mean that with respect because I have such respect for your acuity and your precision and I've seen it on display.
I've covered you as a reporter. I know how you speak and you have sat there for a year and watched people use language to distort the events of that day, intentionally -- insurrection, coup, terrorism.
CRUZ: And of course, it wasn't an insurrection. Saying it is an insurrection is a political term. It's a lie. I've repeatedly denounced it.
And when it comes -- look, I was focusing on what I normally say that -- what you aired was a little 15-second snippet. What I normally say is violence is wrong, peaceful protest is right.
If you engage in violence, you should be prosecuted. If you're speaking, you have a right to speak. I say that all the time.
CARLSON: Right. Amen, and I agree.
There was even more Cruz groveling but you get the point. As Crooks and Liars put it, he was pantsed by the new ruler of the GOP, Tucker Carlson.
Yesterday, historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an expert on authoritarianism and threats to democracy, pointed out on MSNBC that while Cruz became a laughingstock for yet another act of deceitful cowardice, it’s really no laughing matter.
BEN-GHIAT: A lot of people laughed at this ‘cause they don’t like Cruz and I don’t like Cruz either but I view this with dread because what this is, is authoritarian party dynamics – literally, they have a party line and it’s not just about repeating propaganda, you have to enforce it. And so, this is what dictators do when people cross the party line, when they’ve said something that they shouldn’t have said.
Ben-Ghiat went on to note that now-deceased Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein used similar tactics of forcing people to confess and retract their sins on television. “So, what we’re seeing with Tucker, who made [Cruz] come on, is the same kind of dynamic,” she added.
Only now it’s a cable "news" host that Fox claims is not to be believed who is the de facto dictator.
You can watch Cruz disgrace himself below, from the January 7, 2022 Tucker Carlson Tonight, via Crooks and Liars. Underneath is Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s perspective, from MSNBC’s January 8, 2022 Velshi.
The groveling before Fox News was actually nothing out of the ordinary for the usual angry Right Wing politico – the only ones I’ve seen to push back on Fox News were John McCain from time to time, and Donald Trump whenever he felt he wasn’t being totally worshipped. (I’ll note that many angry Right Wingers took the occasion of McCain’s death to join Trump in their dismissal of McCain, which is but one of many reasons why the McCain family backed Biden in 2020.)
The only surprise in this entire story is the anomaly of Cruz admitting that anything even remotely violent occurred on January 6, 2021. The standard angry Right Wing line for a year has been to deny the violence and/or blame it on the Left. One really has to ponder why Cruz went off script here. He apparently is pondering it too.
Bemused, as long as I don’t move, not feeling too badly. Just waiting to see if I’ll be considered essential or non-essential surgery when I go back to the doc on Wed. Area hospitals have cancelled NES for the next few weeks due to Covid.
Hope you are feeling better too Ellen.
Latest Carlson “scoop” ……. viagra as a cure for covid on the basis of one woman in the UK who reportedly woke up from a coma after being given viagra. Unfortunately, Tuckums – as usual – provides no evidence or source. And so-called Dr. Seigal bobs his head.
Hope you’re feeling better, Ellen. We’re agonna need you a lot in the next few months.
Also hope Marge is recovering from her fall. My brother tells me you were lucky even to get that script. I’m sick with worry for the sane folks of Florida.
All this pathetic, puffed-up jelly of a man has actually achieved in his miserable public life is a permanent diminution of the general regard for Princeton, Harvard Law School, Texas, the Republican ‘brand’ and the Senate itself.