Monday night, the Tucker Carlson Tonight show stepped in it when, unable to book an organizer for the “Not My President’s Day” protests, it went with an actor/participant and called him an organizer.
On Monday, thousands of Americans honored President’s Day by protesting Donald Trump at “Not My President’s Day” protests. Fox News’ The Tucker Carlson Tonight show was very eager to book one of the organizers. The Daily Beast explains what happened after creator and co-organizer Olga Lexell turned down the invitation:
So, after repeated refusals, Carlson’s show instead booked Shane Saunders, a Los Angeles-based actor and casting agent, who Lexell said “was not affiliated in any way with our rallies and was not an organizer.”
In the five-minute segment, Saunders was referred to as an “organizer” by an on-screen graphic and Carlson himself, who also asked Saunders about why “your protest is going to make a difference.”
“It’s frustrating because, with the exception of one person, all of the organizers are women,” Lexell told The Daily Beast. “For a man who knows nothing about the protests to go on TV unprepared, misrepresent our message, take credit for our weeks of hard work, and make us look bad—and for Tucker Carlson’s team to go along with it—is just disappointing.”
For the record, the executive producer issued a statement to The Daily Beast acknowledging and regretting the on-screen error.
But here’s the thing: Clearly Fox News was not interested in the protesters’ message. It didn't even care much who the protesters were. The network wanted someone Carlson could sandbag and use as a foil to malign the Trump opposition and make himself look smart and wise. Daily Beast editor Andrew Kirell, a former Fox Business producer, weighed in on Twitter:
"Person X is most knowledgeable on a very important topic. Should we book him/her?"— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) February 20, 2017
"Good on camera?"
"Gimme hot rando."
In other words, this is a cable news problem, not just a Fox issue. But on Fox, the “pizzazz” is all about trolling liberals.
Sure enough, Carlson did sandbag Saunders and he never fully regained his footing. For extra political-theater-at-liberals’-expense points, Carlson laughed theatrically at Saunders. Despite the mean-spirited humor, Carlson closed the discussion by telling Saunders, “I’m making the mistake of taking you seriously. Which I will never do again, I can promise you.”
The problem for us liberals, as I see it, is that Fox will always find some “hot rando” to go on camera against a conservative host ready to eat him or her alive for ratings and political gain. Are we really better off letting them choose the hen for the fox house? I’m not at all criticizing Lexell’s decision not to appear. Nobody who is not prepared for Fox's tactics should set foot on their airwaves. But wouldn’t it be better if we had someone Fox savvy ready to go?
Watch Carlson’s shtick below, from the February 20, 2017 Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Stadtler and Waldorf (Cadell and Schoen) certainly didn’t get their fat pay packets (30 pieces of silver?) based on their looks or pizzazz!