The Curious Case of Carlson


“This was the story of Howard Beale,” announces the narrator at the start of the movie Network, “the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.”

Apparently the only thing more dangerous than lousy ratings is excellent ratings.

Tucker Carlson is by far the most popular host on American cable news.

His “Tucker Carlson Tonight” program on the Fox News Channel averages just under 4 million viewers per night.

His closest competitors on CNN and MSNBC are doing well when they reach a third of that.

The war on Tucker Carlson is therefore mainly a ratings war.

What war?

Media: The Kremlin has released a document with special instructions: Get Tucker Carlson on screen
Mikkel Danielsen,, Mar 15

The deceptive propagandist Mikkel Danielsen has chosen once again to deceive Danish readers about American politics by serving as a relay station for the American left. Or, in this case, American leftist media.

The American left, he informs us, has decided that Tucker Carlson is a pro-Putin asset working treasonously against the United States—and they have the proof: they can wave the bloody shirt! The Russian government is actually urging its state-controlled media to broadcast clips from Tucker Carlson’s show!

Let’s jump right to Danielsen’s concluding paragraphs:

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” has in recent years been an excellent barometer of where the Republican Party is headed.

But not right now.

At no other time since 2016 have Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump, and the big profiles of the right wing had such a limited influence on what the party’s establishment was doing.

Republican leaders in Congress condemn Putin as harshly as Biden does.

They’re cooperating with Democrats on sanctions against Russia, and some Republican lawmakers have even praised Joe Biden’s handling the crisis.

For the moment, large parts of the Republican Party have forgotten the culture wars to worry about a real war.

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson has become the Kremlin’s favorite journalist.

I don’t want to dirty myself grappling with Danielsen’s selective and deceptive representations, nor do I want to befoul myself by trudging through the fanatically leftist media sources relied upon by Danielsen (most of his article is sourced on a Russian state document that mysteriously fell into the hands of Mother Jones, an American outlet that’s as far left as you can go without falling off the map). Danielsen has even sunk to recycling his own deceptive material: he lifts an extensive block of text from an older article—one that I addressed at the time—without any acknowledgment of having done so.

Mikkel Danielsen is, after all, just regurgitating talking points from his leftist American overlords. We know what to expect from them so we know what to expect from him.

But even after we peel away all the layers of left-wing deception and misrepresentation and hose off all the slime, the fact remains that Tucker Carlson has done something to incur the kind of savage fury that the American left usually reserves for Donald Trump.

But what, exactly?

Danielsen writes “No wonder the Kremlin is interested in getting Tucker Carlson out on Russian TV screens. Because if you pick the right clips from the popular talk show ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ it’s easy to make it look like one of America’s most important opinion leaders is legitimizing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Sure. And if you play the “right” notes from the 9th Symphony, you can make it sound like Dancing Queen.

So what?

According to the memo obtained by Mother Jones, the “right clips” from Carlson that the Russian government wants to be shown as much as possible are those in which:

He sharply criticizes the actions of the United States and NATO, their negative role in triggering the conflict in Ukraine, and the defiantly provocative behavior of the leaders of Eastern European countries and NATO against Russia and against President Putin personally.

That’s it.

Tucker Carlson believes that the eastward expansion of NATO left Russia feeling threatened.

He believes the American mania for aggressive action against Russia, including military action, is wrongheaded and could produce devastating consequences for Americans.

He’s no Putin apologist: even Danielsen has to acknowledge that Carlson has said clearly and explicitly that the war “was Vladimir Putin’s fault.”

Except the words no sooner leave Danielsen’s pen than he writes that “in a lot of other monologues, the TV host expresses understanding for Putin’s actions and blames the United States for the war.”

I disagree with the characterization, but even so: so what?

America’s not even in the war. Why is the left so upset about an American pundit blaming America for an overseas war it’s not engaged in? Hasn’t that been standard operating procedure on the left for at least the last half century?

Russia’s using a public critic of American policy as propaganda.

So? Foreign despots are always using American dissenters to support their own wretched causes.

Why is it different this time?

After all, any enemy trying to paint America in the worst possible light could just broadcast snippets from the public speeches of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or John Kerry. Criticizing America and NATO is practically a plank of the Democratic Party platform. They’re the party that thinks America’s a stain on the planet, a grotesque abomination, a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. We’re such hopeless racists and misogynists and homophobes (etc) that the entire purpose of the Democratic party is to fight all that ubiquitous American evil.

But Tucker Carlson needs to be “investigated” or even “jailed” for the “treasonous” crime of disagreeing with the conventional Beltway wisdom? Wisdom that’s been so very desperately wrong about just about everything for the past three or four decades?

I said it up top and I’ll say it again: the war on Tucker Carlson is a ratings war.

And now let Tucker Carlson defend himself in his own words.