Historian Rutger Bregman apparently got under his host’s very thin, inherited-wealth skin during a Tucker Carlson Tonight discussion that never aired, presumably about Bregman’s thesis that the rich should pay a bigger share of taxes.
Bregman caused quite a stir at Davos recently when he told the elite attendees that getting the wealthy to pay more taxes is a solution to many of the world's economic problems. That, apparently caught Carlson’s attention.
It’s not clear what set off Carlson during their discussion. Though he admits to growing up privileged, he also brands himself as a populist. But as I have repeatedly noted, he is either too lazy and/or unwilling to debate like a grownup. My guess is Carlson saw an opportunity to boost his own populist cred both by agreeing with certain of Bregman’s tenets and then sandbagging him in some way to paint him as an elitist, out-of-touch academic.
I’m also going to guess that Bregman did not submit to Carlson’s fatuous tactics. Almost everything we know about what happened comes from a series of Bregman’s tweets but I think we can surmise that Carlson did not come out looking good. Otherwise, he surely would have aired the segment. According to Bregman, Carlson began “swearing profusely” during the segment and then called him an “a**hole” in an insult-laden email afterward. Bregman also claims to have audio of the entire discussion.
So @TuckerCarlson just called me a ‘fucking moron’ during a prerecord for his show, for pointing out that he’s a millionaire funded by billionaires.— Rutger Bregman (@rcbregman) February 12, 2019
Let’s see if they’ll air it.
‘Did they get it on audio?? Fuck fuck fuck’ we heard them say here..
(Yes, we did.)
It’s difficult to read Bregman’s image, supposedly of Carlson’s email, so I’m copying it here: “I loved what you said at Davos, so I had high hopes for our interview. But you turned out to be far dumber, more dogmatic, and less impressive than I expected. You’re professional academic, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but it was still disappointing. Also, for what it’s worth, you’re an asshole.”
Good morning @TuckerCarlson, why didn't you air the interview with me last night? Couldn't handle the criticism? I think you should just show it. And try to resist the temptation to edit, I've recorded the full thing - including that moment when you start swearing profusely.— Rutger Bregman (@rcbregman) February 12, 2019
Mediaite got a statement from Carlson’s senior executive producer, Justin Wells:
“Tucker is someone who appreciates many points of view,” Wells said. “Sadly, the guest turned an opportunity to have a substantive, informative discussion into an obviously calculated personal insult campaign. We were disappointed in the segment and respect our audience’s time too much to consider airing it.”
We so hope you release the audio, Mr. Bregman!
Interestingly, the tweet pinned to the top of Bregman’s feed is a photo of Rupert Murdoch reading Bregman’s book:
So this is Rupert Murdoch reading my book on universal basic income, the 15-hour workweek, and open borders around the globe. I'm sure he'll love it. https://t.co/OPxTBXHO5D pic.twitter.com/pFFVrczgjz— Rutger Bregman (@rcbregman) January 2, 2019
(Carlson image via screen grab)