William Saletan nails it. Here is a taste of his piece at The Bulwark:
Eighty years ago, when a dictator rose to power in Europe and invaded his neighbors, he found an ally in the United States. The dictator was Adolf Hitler, and his ally was Charles Coughlin, a popular radio host. Coughlin belittled democracy, defended the Nazis, and opposed America’s entry into the war, arguing that the movement to enlist the United States was a conspiracy on behalf of a sinister minority: Jews.
Today, a new demagogue has taken up Coughlin’s mantle: Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Like Coughlin, Carlson has spewed venom for years. And, like Coughlin, he has gradually made his treachery, nihilism, and bigotry unmistakable. If anyone still thought there was an innocent explanation for his behavior, Carlson’s latest monologue, delivered on Tuesday night, rendered such generosity indefensible.
To begin with, Carlson mocked the idea that rolling tanks into another country was wrong. In the view of liberals, he joked, “Invading America is called ‘equity’”—apparently he was referring to illegal immigration—but “invading Ukraine is a war crime.” He delivered this line with scornful incredulity, ignoring the fact that Russia’s invasions of Ukraine—this is the second one in eight years—are indeed acts of war and violations of international law.
Carlson downplayed the putative moral differences between Russia, Ukraine, Canada, and the United States. He asked why Americans should side with Ukraine against Russia, since Ukraine was “not a democracy.” (Actually, on the Freedom House democracy scale, Ukraine gets a rating of 39 out of 100. Russia gets less than seven.) Carlson also ridiculed the notion that “dastardly old Vladimir Putin” is “much worse than Justin Trudeau,” the prime minister of Canada, who—according to Carlson’s absurd lie—has imposed “martial law” and reduced Canada to a “failed democrac[y].” Turning to his own country, Carlson denounced America’s current leaders, saying they “don’t care at all” about our country’s stated principles.
In his monologue and in a follow-up interview with former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Carlson promoted the slander—often featured in Russian state propaganda—that when American politicians talk about defending freedom or democracy, they’re really just serving their own commercial interests. He offered two explanations for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine: corrupt financial ties between Ukraine and President Joe Biden and a secret plot to drive up energy prices. “Maybe expensive energy would be good for the many renewable deals their friends and donors are invested in,” he speculated—the “they” referring to Biden and other Democrats. In the interview with Gabbard, Carlson nodded along—“Right,” he interjected—as Gabbard accused the American “power elite” of betraying both “the American people” and “the Russian people.”
Read the entire piece here.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.