Tucker Carlson has showcased at least one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s primary opponents out of spite, not because of any news judgment - because Abbott didn't do Carlson's bidding soon enough.
Tuesday night, Carlson issued an ultimatum to Abbott on the air:
CARLSON: We opened this show with horrifying pictures of what's happened at our southern border, which is completely open and this country is being invaded -- no, that's not an overstatement, more than a million people this year expected -- by the rest of the world.
It's been going on for months and we've asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott many times to come on this show to explain why he hasn't called the National Guard to seal the Texas border and protect the rest of us from this invasion.
Greg Abbott has refused to come on, repeatedly.
So pretty soon, possibly tomorrow, we plan to invite his primary opponents on this show to describe what they would do if they ran Texas. That might be an interesting conversation. We would like to give Governor Abbott one more chance to come on sincerely. Please, come on and tell us how you plan to save the rest of us from what is happening in your state.
Tuckums’ hissy fit reveals what a petty, malicious, disgrace to cable news and democracy he is. Not only is he willing to book guests on an important subject such as the governorship of Texas based on pure vindictiveness, but his real goal is to bully a governor.
Or maybe it's Carlson's ego. As it happened, Abbott appeared on Hannity that very night, in the very next hour and was quite forthcoming about the border.
It all could have been easily discovered for Carlson to expound upon had he bothered. You may recall Carlson was willing to fly to Trinidad to investigate Nicki Minaj’s claim that her cousin told her his friend was rendered impotent by a COVID vaccine. But, apparently, Carlson thinks Abbott owes it to him to appear on the show and kiss his white nationalist ring. Or else.
Media Matters’ Matt Gertz had some spot-on observations about the difference between the two right-wing hatemongers’ shows and why Abbott would prefer Hannity over Carlson.
“Hannity is first and foremost a GOP mouthpiece -- the broadcast he puts on is rarely distinguishable from what you would expect to hear from the Republican National Committee,” Gertz wrote, and “he largely runs his show as a showcase for the party’s talent, helping Republican officials promote their talking points and defend themselves from criticism.”
Carlson, on the other hand, “actively seeks to move the Republican Party in the direction of his show, which at this point resembles a toxic mix of the conspiracy theories of Infowars, the xenophobia of Stormfront, and the authoritarian zeal of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.” Unlike Hannity, Carlson attacks Republican leaders who don’t follow his extremist agenda, Gertz also noted.
So when Abbott goes on Hannity, he knows he’ll get a friendly platform designed to make him look good. Sure enough, Hannity said approvingly during their Tuesday night chat that Abbott is “spending $3 billion of Texas money to secure Texas laws, but they're not enforcing federal law. … In other words, you're doing your part, you're enforcing your laws, they're not enforcing the laws of the land.”
But if and when Abbott appears on the Tucker Carlson Show, he will almost certainly be pressured into enacting Carlson’s agenda, perhaps with implied or actual threats.
Abbott’s poll numbers are plunging, probably thanks to his extremist behavior and his refusal to try to protect his constituents from the coronavirus. He’s probably too chicken to allow himself to be challenged by the de facto leader of Fox News and the GOP at such a time.
Meanwhile, Carlson made good on his threat and hosted Allen West, one of Abbott's primary opponents. I'll have more on that interview later.
You can watch Carlson threaten Abbott and see Hannity kiss up to him in the very next hour below, from the September 21, 2021 Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity shows.