On Monday night, Tucker Carlson blasted the New York Times for preparing to publicly reveal his new home — a home he had to move to when progressive activists vandalized his previous home and repeatedly threatened his family.
The Times gave a flimsy response on the matter, and the rest of the media nodded in agreement, fully on board with the idea that, sure, Carlson’s private home is absolutely newsworthy and so what if his family could be endangered by that? It’s basically his fault, they continue arguing silently.
One of the reasons that the media either doesn’t care that he’d get harassed (or, perhaps, they secretly want him to be) is that they would prefer him silenced. Carlson, as I argued yesterday, has gained an incredible audience in just a few short years. He poses a threat to the traditional order of things, and there are many in the mainstream media who do not like what it is Carlson represents.
I want to explain exactly what it is that Carlson is doing and why they find it so dangerous.
Carlson approaches the news as someone who understands and feels the populist ideas that have long been ignored in the United States, but he does so as someone uniquely gifted to give an intelligent voice on them. He has gained a following by explaining the very things that led to President Donald Trump being elected, and he has done so without swearing absolute fealty to Trump.
In fact, the relationship is rumored to be somewhat reversed: Trump himself pays close attention to what Carlson is saying because he recognizes that those views are largely the views of his base. So when Trump does something that Carlson disagrees with, and Carlson voices his disagreement, you can bet the President has heard him and is seriously considering a change of course.
This is also what makes Carlson so unique on his own network. Consider this exchange as Carlson hands off to Sean Hannity last night on the air.
Tucker Carlson ended his show by criticizing the fact that Jeff Bezos has gotten richer during the pandemic.
Hands off to Sean Hannity who refutes him. pic.twitter.com/bspPD3Y5dF
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 22, 2020
Hannity is quick to disagree with Carlson, because it sounds like Carlson is reciting the same tired rhetoric progressives do when it comes to billionaires and their money. Hannity’s response is an almost conditioned one that he feels compelled to make, and he himself admits that he didn’t watch any previous segment to understand what Carlson was saying.
That’s the difference between Carlson and pundits like Hannity. Hannity’s job is largely reactionary. He responds and recites the talking points every good conservative is supposed to make. He quickly goes to the defense of a Republican under attack without stopping to think if what that Republican did is actually worth defending. The majority of the opinion hosts on Fox News do the same thing because they got their jobs being able to do that.
But Carlson treats the job differently. He approaches it by looking at the issues through the lenses of the populism that is currently running through the Republican Party and speaking out based on what he sees. The other hosts simply respond with the same thing they’ve already responded with because they look at the issues through the lenses of the people who have looked through the lenses in the past. It’s ingrained in how they approach things, and it is losing its appeal.
As I said yesterday morning, I see Carlson becoming a major force in the conservative movement, with the ability to mobilize the populists in the party in ways the other pundits can’t and the ability to really step into any void that is left by the more famous and iconic figures in conservative media (like Rush Limbaugh) stepping aside. That is why traditional media and even some in conservative media see Carlson as a threat. He is as likely to shake things up as Limbaugh did when he came on the scene.
It remains to be seen if he’ll actually do that, but the potential is there, and I think there are a good many in the traditional media who see that and are genuinely scared by it.