Tucker Carlson Can't Question Straight

Saturday, October 06, 2007 at 06:17 PM

I've never been a fan of Carlson, so take this for what it's worth. The man just had one of the worst weeks as a talk show host that I've ever had the misfortune to witness (until I couldn't stand any more and turned it off).

Two quick examples. First, Tucker decided to "interview" senior fellow and director of special projects at Media Matters, Paul Waldman. Some interview!

He introduces the organization by playing the clip of Hillary Clinton saying she "helped start and support" institutions "like Media Matters and the Center for American Progress.” Then he says to Waldman: "So Hillary Clinton helped to start and supports Media Matters? It‘s a political organization then."

Waldman then replies:

Well, we don‘t make any bones about the fact that we are a progressive organization. We don‘t endorse candidates, we don‘t coordinate with candidates.

It was started by David Brock, whom you know. He used to be a conservative and a big part of the conservative movement. But when he had a change of heart, he realized that there was a big gap in the whole area of how we look at the media.

And so what we at Media Matters do every day is we look at the mainstream media, we monitor the conservative media. And when we find misinformation, we put it up on our Web site, explain why it‘s wrong. And another part of what we do is we look for the kinds of things like this statement by Rush Limbaugh that people find problematic. And when we find them...

. But good old Tuck is having none of this. It's back to Clinton. What did she mean?

Wldman obviously doesn't know what Clinton meant, he has no way of knowing what she meant, so he keeps trying to describe what Media Matters is, not what Clinton meant.

And Carlson? He doesn't explore the facts and statements that Waldman has made, and could clarify or defend, such as the claim that Media Matters doesn't coordinate with candidates or politicians. It's all Clinton all the time, and Waldman is looking frustrated.

And it devolves into this:

CARLSON: Here‘s my question. I don‘t—there are many political pressure groups here, many adjuncts to both parties on the right and left. Mostly now on the left, but at times it‘s been mostly on the right.

But they work for the parties. They‘re shills for politicians. And you are, too.

That‘s fine. But why would I listen to you any more carefully than I‘d listen to, say, the Hillary campaign itself?

WALDMAN: We‘re not shills for any politician. What we—the reason...

CARLSON: You‘re not shills for the Democratic Party?.

WALDMAN: The reason that you can trust what we do is because we are completely transparent. When we say that, say, Bill O‘Reilly said something that was false, you go to our Web site, we will have the quote from him, you‘ll have a transcript, you‘ll have the video of him saying it, and then you‘ll have our complete documentation with third-party sources and everything about why...

CARLSON: Really? OK.

Well, I‘ll give you an example, because I get your e-mails. And I notice often that the headline and the introduction doesn‘t match the substance. For instance, on September 25th, at 11:34 a.m., I got this e-mail from you.

“FOX News panelist Mort Kondracke recently made several racist comments regarding the Jena 6. Here are some examples of racism on FOX News.”

So I read down. I know Mort. Not a racist. I thought, what an amazing thing to say about Mort Kondracke.

So I go down, and it says—here‘s Mort Kondracke‘s quote. “It looks as though the people of Jena can solve this on their own.”

That‘s the extent of his “racism”. So I wrote a letter to Media Matters, a note, saying, “Where was the racism?” Busted. They wrote me back saying, sorry, I guess that wasn‘t racist, we‘re taking it down.

The point is, the stuff I get from Media Matters is so colored by a political agenda, that it‘s ludicrous, it‘s a joke.

WALDMAN: Well, look, Tucker if you...

CARLSON: I mean, like, is that racist, what he said?. WALDMAN: I don‘t know what‘s in the e-mail exchange...

CARLSON: Well, here it is right there. No, no, no.


WALDMAN: If you want to go to our Web site, you can see and judge for yourself whether it‘s something that Rush Limbaugh said or something that Bill O‘Reilly said or anybody else.

CARLSON: Have you ever been a journalist?

WALDMAN: Have I? No.

CARLSON: No. So what exactly do you know about journalism or its standards? You worked on political campaigns.

WALDMAN: I spent the last 15 years studying the media. That‘s what I do for a living.

CARLSON: But you told me—no, but you‘ve also—it says in your bio that you were a political hack, you worked on electoral campaigns and political consulting.

WALDMAN: I‘ve done a lot of things. But listen...

CARLSON: OK. So—but now you‘re posing as an expert on the media.

It‘s pretty—that‘s not truth in advertising. That‘s a lie.

WALDMAN: Listen, we have lot of people who look at the media every day, and, you know, this isn‘t about me and what my qualifications are. I have plenty of qualifications.

CARLSON: No, it‘s about a political agenda that it doesn‘t reveal openly. That‘s not transparent. That‘s dishonest.

WALDMAN: We—no, no, no.

CARLSON: You‘re a Democratic...

WALDMAN: We are not at all hiding anything that we believe...

CARLSON: You‘re not a Democratic group?

WALDMAN: We are a progressive group.

CARLSON: Then why would I care what you say? You‘re helping to elect a party.

WALDMAN: Because, Tucker...

CARLSON: It doesn‘t mean anything.

WALDMAN: ... if you go to our Web site...

CARLSON: I have, and it‘s accusing Mort Kondracke of racism. I mean, it‘s crazy. Come on, man.

WALDMAN: You know, you can call us names.

CARLSON: I‘m not calling you names. You called him a racist.

WALDMAN: I think the question is, why are we having this discussion now? We‘re seeing attacks coming from you, frankly, from people like Rush Limbaugh...

CARLSON: I‘m not a shill for the Republican Party. That‘s the difference. I‘m totally independent. I have my own views and they‘re mine alone.

WALDMAN: All of a sudden...

CARLSON: You are a spokesman for the Democratic Party.

WALDMAN: That‘s not true.

CARLSON: And that makes what you do different from what I do.

WALDMAN: All of a sudden we‘re seeing all of these people who want to make an issue out of Media Matters to say that it‘s part of some conspiracy because...

CARLSON: No, because you‘re affecting the press coverage. That‘s why. Because a lot of these liberals in news organizations take you seriously, and I hope they‘ll wake up to know you‘re just another Democratic interest group. That‘s fine, but don‘t pretend to be otherwise.

WALDMAN: You know what? People can go and look—this came up because we‘re talking about what Rush Limbaugh said and because a lot of veterans are angry about that.

CARLSON: Right. Yes.

WALDMAN: And what people can do is, if they want to hear what he said, they can go to our Web site and they can hear the audio, they can read the transcript and they can see the whole thing.

CARLSON: All right.

WALDMAN: This isn‘t about whether Media Matters has somebody...


CARLSON: It‘s about electing Democrats. And we in the media, because we share your agenda most of the time, buy into it, and it just—it troubles me.

Look, I‘m a right winger. I‘m open about it. But I‘m not working for any political party, and you guys are. That‘s all I‘m saying.

WALDMAN: You know, Tucker...

CARLSON: And you know that that‘s true. And I‘m sorry—I‘m sorry to lecture you and then cut you off, but we‘re out of time. And I appreciate your coming on.

WALDMAN: Thanks.

CARLSON: Thanks.

Wow. If that's what Mr. ex-bow tie thinks a real interview is, he's got a hell of a nerve questioning Waldman's journalistic credentials. He invites a man on to talk about Media Matters and its claim about Rush Limbaugh, grills him about what someone else meant about a different issue, demands that he explain why Media Matters got a different issue wrong (for which they apologized), then insists that a group espousing progressive ideas must automatically be political and in the service of a specific party. All while claiming that the magnificent Tucker can espouse right wing ideals yet be completely independent.

In fact, he's questioning the political nature of Media Matters while exploring a story about what Rush Limbaugh said about "phony soldiers." ????? And harping on a single instance of misreprting by Media Matters in a story about Limbaugh, the king of serial misreporting!

Then, I think on Friday, Big Tuck lit into radio talk show host Ed Schultz in the guise of discussing the propriety and ramifications of Elizabeth Edwards' earlier statements that it was really wrong for Limbaugh to dodge the draft years ago, and now be vilifying active service military members for disagreeing with Limbaugh's view of Iraq and the world.

And what tack does Tuck take? [video available here; transcript unavailable as I write this] What is the central theme that he insists on using to mark the boundaries of the debate, and to prevent any discussion of the substance of Edwards' claim? Why, the proposition that what Edwards did was simply to attack Limbaugh for ducking the draft. Not for ducking it while vilifying people who are serving now, just plain ducking the draft.

The quality of the "debate" is pretty well illustrated by the fact that much of Tuck's argument consisted of claims that this is unfair on the part of Mrs. Edwards because, after all, Elizabeth Edwards didn't serve, John Edwards didn't serve, even Schultz didn't serve. In fact, "just about everyone in the Democratic leadership" failed to serve.

Tuck (which rhymes with duck) is on to the best way for good old "independent" Carlson to kick the necessary debate a few degrees to the right. Not that he's supporting a political party. Or even a political view. Or even honesty and logic.

Tucker Carlson is getting even worse with age. Or he just feels the need to kiss up to enough conservatives to build an audience. Or he's just incapable of following a train of thought or logic.


What a joke. An article written by someone who hates Tucker and then proceeds to trash him. What he {Tucker} was saying was just fine. He was dealing with a hack from a hack pseudo newsletter "media matters". This creep from MM was accusing someone of racism when the "proof" was nothing. What a jerkoff. Hey Lee Russ, why not write about what the MM creep was saying and accusing people off. By the way, to clear things up about Rush, the only people he called "phony soldiers" ARE phony soldiers. They did not serve are do what they claim to have done. That makes them phonies. Why can't you radicals nazis on the left get this concept??? You freaks baffle us normals.

No suprise on this one. Tucker had every right to call MM's credibility. And unlike some rightwing hacks, he actually went to the site, subscribed to the e-mails, and reported based on what MM does on a daily basis. I also get the MM updates. Never do I see an attack on "liberal" (Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive, you guys are hacks) media or politicians. On the other hand, it is constantly reporting on the "misrepresentations" of the right. Most often, they abridge the commentary to reflect a skewed view of the dialogue, or as Tucker pointed out, they sensationalize headlines that do not accurately reflect the situation. It so funnies that liberals use the guise of MSM conspiracy. You stole it from the right. Why do you think FOXNEWS blew up in the ratings. The right has always felt slighted by MSM. And it's basically true. Look at the data from polling. The media is nearly completely biased. Which is fine, everyone is entitled to an opinion, just provide ample disclosure. It is beyond pathetic, the level of hypocrisy and piety that you emit, when you present this as some holy crusade on truth in reporting. What hypocrisy and piety? Isn't that what caused the fall of the Republicans in 2006? Guess liberals are faster learners than conservatives after all. The hypocrisy is mot evident by reading the comments of the Randi Rhodes post. Furious that the right wing "hate machine" came after your beloved hack, you began to wish death, rape, and the demise of the US on all conservatives (nice, yet you claim to be patriots). Who's the close-minded, stubborn, biggoted clown, now? Especially you Needlenosehanty, Ramus11, Yaybob, Maryninorb, and the entire cast of people so filled with anger, they'd rather hate than teach. And it is unfortunate, it makes you as corrupt as the people you despise, yet you have the distinction of hating everyone. Plus you're going to hell (sorry, that was uncalled for).

Sounds like Lee Russ can't come to grip with the fact that not all non-Conservatives can find faults with groups like Media Matters that are obviously pro-Democrat, but are evasive when admitting to their affiliation.

There is nothing wrong with taking a side but don't pose as an unbiased organization, for the benefit of everyone listening, when there is a purpose driven agenda.

I have wondered about Tucker's political leaning and now I assume he is a really an unbiased, independent reporter. Good for him that helps most interested viewers.


I have followed media matters from their inception. I used to comment on their site quite often. They are without question deceptive in their approach to correcting "misinformation" in the MSM. That fact that people out there still believe the BS MediaMatters pushes is unfortunate.

Lee, your commentary almost made me sick. Tucker called it like he saw it and for the most part he was correct.

I didn't see anything in any of the four comments that even addresses what I was talking about. I don't care if you love or hate Media Matters. I don't care if Carlson loves or hates Media Matters.

I care if Carlson pretends to conduct an interview while berating the interviewee, insisting that the interviewee explain what someopne else (Clinton) meant, and insisting that the interviewee also answer for an instance of misreporting that did not involve the interviewee. And I care if Carlson completely mischaracterizes the debate about Limbaugh as encompassing the basic fact that he didn't serve during Viet Nam.

And exactly how does my "I've never been a fan of Carlson" somehow means I "hate" Carlson?

And I'm a "radicals nazi"??

And I "can't come to grip with the fact that not all non-Conservatives can find faults with groups like Media Matters that are obviously pro-Democrat, but are evasive when admitting to their affiliation"??? I can't come to grips with it because no matter how many times I read that phrase, I can't figure out what it means.

And Libby, if my comment almost made you sick, be sure to stay away from those right wing sites where phrases like "radical nazis" are so common, and where anyone who doesn't toe the party line is insulted, ridiculed, and not infrequently threatened in that meaningless, abstract way that is so common to internet "communication"

Lee, for the most part I do stay away from the radical right wing sites. Anyone who follows the left/right bs knows the extremes on both sides don't comprehend the issues in relation to how they affect our country as a whole. They are much happier insulting and threatening those with opposing views.
For the record I am not a Tucker fan by any stretch and I would have liked to see him give Waldman more of an opportunity to answer Tucker's accusations about Media Matters. That being said I do believe Media Matters needs to be called on their BS.

CARLSON: Im not a shill for the Republican Party. Thats the difference. Im totally independent. I have my own views and theyre mine alone.

Yeah... about that "independence".

Tucker has had his decent moments in the past. Honestly reporting his revulsion to Dumbya's malicious enjoyment of the upcoming execution of Karla Faye Tucker and the fact that GWB "cursed like a sailor". These revelation obviously put him in hot water with the lock step right and garnered a small degree of respect for him from folk like Spud. Obviously, his time in the political wilderness after that experience has removed all vestiges of independence from the man.

Flash forward to the MM interview and we see a different Tucker Carlson entirely. His former patina of independence completely worn away as he forgoes decent journalism practices to try and prove his preconcieved notion that MM are a purely democratic organisation in business just to elect Dems rather than to return some semblence of integrity and accountability to the shameful MSM, particularily the most grievous offenders found consistently on the right.

His one serious point came in the form of the MM newsletter stating that "Mort Kondracke recently made several racist comments regarding the Jena 6. an accusation that was not backed up with credible evidence. That truly was BS and Tucker was right to call them on it and an apology should have been the end of the matter. Of course it wasn't. Tucker in that interview proved himself to be about as independent as Charlie McCarthy or Bill O'Reilly. His insistance on removing the mote from Waldmans eye while ignoring the beam in his own was really rather pathetic to observe. He's definitely not improving with age. His inability to wrap his head around the hypocrisy factor in Rush's "phoney Soldier" bleatings shows either willfull ignorance or woefull hackery. Neither are good options. Truly sad thing is that compared to most of the other RW hacks out there these days Tucker is actually still one of the better ones. How sad is that?

The really really funny part about all this fer Spud is the fact that the Left Right schism in the modern MSM is largely a canard designed to hide the fact that most media is unabashedly pro-corporate and that the left right divide is mainly fostered to create, along with gerrymandered districts and the like a 51/49% solution that simulates democracy without actually being such.

Be Well.