Tucker Carlson’s smear campaign against Ukrainian President Zelensky couldn’t hide the fact that his visit to Washington, D.C. proved Carlson’s pro-Kremlin propaganda an utter failure.
My Crooks and Liars colleagues and I documented a lot of Carlson’s childish attacks on Zelensky's visit: From smearing his attire in order to suggest he’s sleazy (when Zelensky was, in fact, dressed in military fatigues and a matching sweatshirt, a symbol of Ukrainian patriotism) and even accusing him of waging a war on Christianity, Carlson’s very un-Christian onslaught was especially odious given that Zelensky is in the middle of valiantly fighting a war against Russia’s brutal aggression that has left many Ukrainians without power.
But Greg Sargent’s smart analysis in The Washington Post points out that Zelensky’s visit and his address to Congress was little more than a humiliating rebuke of Carlson’s Kremlin-adored efforts to sabotage America’s alliance with Ukraine.
Carlson has long insisted that Ukrainians are “pawns” in the United States’ quest for “regime change” in Russia, predicting our warmongering would trigger nuclear catastrophe. He has trivialized the invasion as a faraway “border dispute,” and has scoffed that Democrats are hypnotizing Americans into feeling “hate” for Russia.
Carlson’s obvious bet has been that voters wouldn’t care about the conflict and would see little virtue in U.S. military aid to Ukraine. Lawmakers would ultimately abandon the cause.
But Zelensky’s appearance itself forcefully repudiated all of this. It demonstrated that Ukrainian resistance is driven by its people’s own extraordinarily courageous commitment to self rule. It showed that U.S. support for Ukraine is unwavering. It displayed the success of President Biden’s careful balance, which has enabled Ukraine to regain substantial ground while avoiding direct U.S. escalation, refuting Carlson’s predictions otherwise.
All this, Sargent notes, against the backdrop of Carlson’s epic fail in the 2022 midterms.
Sargent warns against liberal overconfidence and he’s right. Media Matters named Tucker Carlson its Misinformer of the Year not because he misinforms better than the rest of his Fox News colleagues but because he “stands out from the rest by urging his viewers to take direct action — at times even explicitly urging them to respond to his rants with violence.” Media Matters’ Matt Gertz concludes the article explaining the year-end award by noting that Carlson’s poisonous propaganda is likely to get more dangerous, not less:
A decade and a half ago, Rupert Murdoch grabbed Carlson off the cable news scrapheap. Since then he’s climbed the Fox ladder from contributor to Fox & Friends weekend co-host to host of an eponymous weekday prime-time show, until he reached his current status as the nation’s most powerful right-wing commentator, a GOP kingmaker and the linchpin of the right’s misinformation ecosystem. His rising influence within the network and the Republican Party is a testament to their willingness to reward and elevate toxic demagoguery. And since the message he’s been getting from the network brass and party leaders is that they are fully on board, it’s only going to get worse from here.
But Sargent’s piece points out that Carlson is not invincible. Dominion Voting System’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit may prove that Fox and/or the Murdochs are not, either.
It's something to give us hope as we fight on in 2023.
(Carlson image via screengrab)
It reminds me of Trump’s one-time acknowledgement that Obama was a citizen, which wasn’t taken seriously by the Base. It also reminds me of Trump’s at one moment using the word “peacefully” in his first speech on Jan 6. “Peacefully” was a mobster’s bullshit disclaimer: For one thing, he was addressing only the crowd in front of him, not those he knew were already approaching the Capitol. More to the point here, “peaceful” was sharply contrary to everything else Trump said early that day.
Other than their BS disclaimers, what have Orban and Carlson done that hasn’t pleased Putin? Indeed, even their disclaimers probably pleased Putin, who, as a mobster, gets BS disclaimers