by Michael Anton
Let’s be completely clear here. Nobody—least of all the leftwing mobs attacking Tucker Carlson right now—cares what he said on the radio a decade ago. Except to the extent that his words can be wrapped around his neck like a noose.
All the feigned outrage is exactly that: feigned. David Brock and his henchmen, along with their instantly mobilized Twitter mob, are not outraged. Not in the least. They’re giddy! And why wouldn’t they be? They’ve been looking for a way to get “Tucker Carlson Tonight” canceled since the show debuted. The search intensified as its popularity rose and its message caught fire.
The imperative to kill the show reached a fever pitch after Carlson’s now-legendary January 2 monologue, which is the most searing indictment against a failed ruling class since Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
Carlson may not be alone in autopsying, in humiliating detail, the massive failure of our elites. But he is the best at it, with the largest audience, and the biggest following of follow-on pundits, writers, bloggers, memers, and tweeters. Carlson and his show are the tip of the spear in a spiritual war, the most effective voice of the disaffected, despised, left-behind, forgotten America that our elites have manifestly failed.
The ruling class knows this. Its leftist handmaidens know it. They can’t beat Carlson on the field of ideas; not simply because he’s smarter and wittier than they are, but more fundamentally because he’s right and they’re wrong. And they know that, too.
If I may preview a piece I will publish soon on Carlson, his show, his book, and the phenomenon he’s created, here’s something he told me in a recent interview. Speaking of our elite, he said
On some level, they know they’re rotten. They know their gains are ill-gotten and not deserved, the result of bleeding middle America dry. But rather than accept responsibility, what do they do? They blame middle America. They hate middle America because they shafted middle America. Think about it, who do you hate the most? You hate the people you wrong. You get mad at family members more when you wrong them than when they wrong you. It’s the same dynamic. Grownups can admit it and apologize. The ruling class can’t.
Exactly. The ruling class and its social media mob-bodyguard hate Tucker Carlson because he exposes—and laughs and jeers at—their misdeeds on a daily basis.
It’s a measure of the power of Carlson’s message that, despite hosting just one show on one network—despite 99 percent of the rest of the media pumping out ruling class propaganda 24/7—the Left fears Carlson. Why on earth would that be?
It’s not just that they know he’s right, it’s that they know he’s effective. The longer his show goes on, the more tenuous their grip on power becomes.
For now, Carlson’s show is both exhilaratingly and unfortunately unique. The greatest danger to the ruling class is that his message spreads: to other hosts, other shows, other networks, other media and—most dangerous of all—more people. In their view, the danger has already been allowed to build for too long. It’s well past time to kill it.
That’s what’s really going on here—and, really, the only thing.
But, but—what about what he said?
OK, what about it? Have you never said something over-the-top, for a cheap laugh, a quick guffaw, a sucker-punch jolt? Leftists say far worse every day—up to and including threatening violence—and pay no price. Sarah Jeong was rewarded with a slot on the editorial board of the New York Times.
Yeah, yeah—hypocrisy aside, why can’t we discuss this case “on its merits”?
That is what we’re doing. Are you willing to chase into the outer darkness the one commentator-journalist most attuned to the crisis of our time, and most effective at addressing it, over tawdry comments made between eight and 13 years ago? If your answer is “yes,” you already wanted the show canceled yesterday, and for totally different reasons. The comments influenced you not a bit.
The ruling Left cannot defeat Carlson and so must silence him. As it will attempt to silence anyone who carries his message or anything like it. Every “conservative” who joins the ritual denunciation of Carlson wishing to be eaten last may get his wish, but he surely will be eaten. In this, as in so many other things, we must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
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Michael Anton is a lecturer and research fellow at Hillsdale College, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and a former national security official in the Trump Administration. He formerly wrote under the pseudonym Publius Decius Mus when he was a senior editor of American Greatness.
Photo “Tucker Carlson” by Daily Caller.