Thursday, July 01, 2004


Tucker Carlson - What we're losing

PBS, our so-called “unbiased” television news source, has given Tucker Carlson a 30-minute right-wing rant fest on Friday evenings. It’s all a part of reining in and “balancing” the explosion of information about government and corporate misdeeds that Bill Moyers’ “Now” has put forth on those same Friday evenings. Moyers, sadly, is retiring after the November election, and “Now” will be cut to a half hour.

Just in case you thought cronyism and nepotism were not part of the PBS line-up, let me point out that Tucker Carlson’s dad Richard was president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) from 1992-1997. The CPB distributes federal funds to the local public television licensees and provides the bulk of the funds for program production.

With a photo of Tucker wearing his trademark khakis and bowtie, looking for all the world as if he’s just stepped out of a Young Republicans meeting where they’ve just laid plans for a racist cookie sale, PBS, under the heading “Fearless Television,” describes Carlson’s show as
... a one-on-one interview with a newsmaker from the realms of politics, academe, letters and culture. Joined by contributors from across the political spectrum, Carlson's discussions bring together stimulating, thoughtful observers of the American scene. Moreover, each episode opens with Carlson's commentary on an issue that particularly piques his interest that week and concludes with a conversation with a noted author or social thinker. [Italics mine]

In other words, unless one of the “thoughtful observers” shits on camera, there’s no news here.

Carlson’s show is called “Tucker Carlson Unfiltered.” Well, here’s a filtered version of Tucker, attempting some Clinton-bashing while speaking with former Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr.
Carlson: Clinton’s book is out and he reserves his harshest words for Ken Starr. He said your investigation was an abuse of power and for him the battle was “a badge of honor.” What do you make of that?

Starr: I think he has strong feelings about it.

Carlson: Can you boil it down for us.
What did Bill Clinton do wrong?
What laws did he break?

Starr: Read the referral, Tucker. It had something to do with the integrity of the justice system.

Carlson: Do you regret your role in that investigation?
Do you regret anything you did during that investigation?

Starr: We might have “shaped” it differently, but I enjoyed the people I met.

Carlson: Clinton said he got so angry when he got to the part about you that he had to go for a four-hour walk.

Starr: I regret it, but I understand it.

Carlson: Are you going to read the book?

Starr: Yes. But I don’t feel that way [whatever that means].
Carlson: Almost six years after you delivered your report to the House of Representatives, Bill Clinton is rich, he is thin, he appears to be happy, his approval rating is rising.
He is winning his way back into the affections of America.1
His wife is a senator.
You are not going to be on the supreme court.
You were talked about as a likely nominee under the republican administration.
Do you feel frustration?
It seems Clinton won.
Starr: I don’t see it that I way. I did my duty.
Carlson: Why not write a book about the investigation and the Clinton years.
What precisely did Clinton do wrong.
Boil it down.
You didn't boil it down.
It is not so clear what Clinton did wrong.
He lied about sex.
Maybe you should write a book and explain.
Starr: I don't want to reduce it to a bumper sticker. The facts are there.

Carlson: What will Clinton's legacy be?

Starr: I think it will be a mixed legacy. We all make mistakes.

Carlson: He is smart but he is a liar?

Starr: I'm not going get into characterization.

Carlson: You are next month leaving and going to Pepperdine law school.
You will be the dean.

Starr: I'm so glad you mentioned that.
Carlson: Are you glad you’re leaving Washington?

Starr: No.

Carlson: If you were called to government service in the future would you go?

Starr: I have never said no, but I might if I was asked to be an independent council again.

Carlson: Hopefully you will write a book.
Thanks for joining us.

Well, wasn’t that enlightening?

This is the kind of crap that CPB is sponsoring with your dollars.

Drop them a line from time to time. They run their mail online at And if you write, send me a copy. I'll be happy to publish good rants to the media.

Oh, and don't forget to write your local PBS station--especially if you're a member.


1Clinton never lost the affection of Americans, and Carlson knows it. As Joe Strupp said over at Editor and Publisher, "let's not forget ... that the often-mocked Bill Clinton ... left office with approval ratings that beat Reagan's (and no federal budget deficit, to boot)."

Gallup News Service wrote, "What we do know is that he [Clinton] left office with a relatively high average job approval rating, and that his image, to this day remains polarized. Enough Americans still like Clinton, however, to ensure that he retains a place on Gallup Poll's annual list of most admired men, and that he is fourth on the list when Americans are asked to name the greatest president of all time."

Carlson is a lying twit. [back]

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