When Hollywood Surprises

I’ll be honest: Tucker Carlson isn’t my favorite FNC host. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed when he was brought on to take over for Brit Hume, who’d been standing in, I thought, quite nicely since Greta Van Susteren’s departure. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Carlson’s abilities. I’m just not particularly enamored of his primary approach – i.e., inviting guests who take unpopular (to most Fox viewers) stances and debating and berating them to demonstrate just how silly they are. So I don’t typically watch his show(s). (I can’t remember which one he hosts now, there’s been so much shuffling around of late.)

But the headline for this video clip (“Dreyfuss talks sanctuary cities ruling, importance of civics“) caught my eye this morning, so I cautiously clicked the link…and found myself more than pleasantly surprised. As I subsequently noted on Twitter,

Here’s why: The clip starts off with Carlson reminiscing about his recent on-air sparring match with Santa Clara Councilman David Cortese over President Trump’s Executive Order regarding sanctuary cities. In fairness to Carlson, he does appear to stump Councilman Cortese, pointing to other recent instances of the Executive threatening to withhold funding from states for failing to accede to the federal government’s policies or guidelines, in apparent contradiction of Cortese’s assertion that this scenario was unprecedented. This discussion prompted Richard Dreyfuss – yes, that Richard Dreyfuss – to e-mail Carlson and volunteer to come on his show and “explain this rudimentary illustration of the basic checks and balances to you and your audience.”

Carlson took Dreyfuss up on his offer and the remainder of the clip is the two of them having a rather unexpected and honestly amazing dialogue. Dreyfuss starts by defending Judge Orrick’s recent ruling blocking the Executive Order, calmly setting forth his reasoning. Carlson, naturally, is primed to object and they debate the issue a bit, but then Dreyfuss turns the discussion on its head by asserting he has stepped away from partisan politics and devoted himself, instead to the cause of the Constitution and bringing a basic understanding of civics to the American populace. He emphasizes the importance of teaching our nation’s framework and basic values, in a way which has largely fallen by the wayside over the past 40-50 years.

Dreyfuss is so sincere and steadfast in his message that Carlson largely falls silent. In fact, by the end of the clip, Carlson acknowledges that he typically would have interrupted and attempted to debate Dreyfuss, but instead, found himself in complete agreement with him. It really is an awesome seven-or-so minutes of video. Do yourself a favor and give it a watch. I expect your take away will be similar to mine (and Roy Neary’s): “This means something. This is important.”

Dreyfuss notes at the very end that he’s actually started an initiative geared toward “prioritizing civics education.” You can find out more about it here.