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Powerline Blog
Power Line
2 Sep 2023
John Hinderaker


NextImg:Has Tucker Lost It?

I haven’t seen as much of Tucker Carlson as most conservatives, since it is a long time since I have watched Fox News and I haven’t followed his recent efforts on Twitter. But I find him likable and agree with him most of the time.

Check out, however, this podcast with Adam Corolla, which runs more than an hour:

It is vintage Tucker, and as usual I agree with most of it. But in some respects, Carlson seems to have gone around the bend.

First, he asserts as a fact that the CIA “had a role in the Kennedy assassination.” This is bonkers. To say that there is no evidence for it understates the case. The Kennedy assassination is the single most investigated and most thoroughly understood event in human history. Lee Oswald murdered Kennedy. End of story. And, for what it is worth, Kennedy was probably the biggest fan of the intelligence community of any president. For a respected conservative commentator to indulge this fantasy is beyond unfortunate.

Second, Tucker asserts without qualification that Larry Sinclair told the truth when he claimed to have smoked crack and had gay sex with Barack Obama. He adds that everyone in the Washington press corps knew it was true, and their failure to cover the story was one aspect of their corruption. Could Sinclair possibly have told the truth? Perhaps. But he was a disreputable character who failed a lie detector test. Not that I think polygraphs are infallible–they aren’t–but the suggestion that everyone in D.C. knew Sinclair was telling the truth is beyond the pale.

Third, Tucker asserts, again with total confidence, that the Biden administration blew up the Nordstream pipeline. Might that be true? In the absence of any real evidence, I suppose it is possible, although I have a hard time imagining Joe Biden doing anything that bold. But again, in the absence of any clear evidence, it comes across as one more right-wing conspiracy theory.

Fourth, Tucker vouches for a book that claims Charles Manson was a CIA source–“agent is too strong,” he says. OK, I haven’t read the book. But what the CIA could want with Charles Manson is beyond comprehension. I dislike the Agency (or its leadership, anyway) as much as anyone, but Charles Manson? Seriously?

Fifth, Tucker thinks the Democrats are in big trouble in 2024, and as a result, they are going to start a hot war with Russia as a distraction. He says he would bet his house on it. I suppose war with Russia between now and November 2024 is possible, although I would bet my house in the other direction. (Maybe Tucker would take me up on that, I am sure his house is worth more than mine.) But if war occurs, it won’t be because the Democratic National Committee thinks that a shooting war with Russia is just what the party needs to cruise to victory. The Democrats have their faults, but political miscalculation on that scale is not one of them.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast. I enjoy both Carlson and Corolla, and I agree with most of what they say. But I am afraid that Carlson, regarded as one of the conservative movement’s principal spokesmen, has stepped into the deep end of the pool. Way too often, he is injudicious, to put it kindly.

One last comment: the podcast includes a suggestion by Corolla and ensuing conversation about the idea that we are in a new era of independent journalism, alternative media, and a freer exchange of ideas on the internet, so that the old gatekeepers can no longer keep secrets. But isn’t this where we came in? People were saying the same thing–more people, more enthusiastically–back in 2003. How have things gone since then?

Well, one thing that has happened is that social media took the world by storm. Relatively few people now surf the internet. Instead, as an intelligent young person explained to me a few days ago, people generally expect information to be delivered to them in their “feeds.” Great. So the Deep State (or whatever you want to call it) was able to block information from getting to tens of millions of Americans, if not more, by the simple expedient of pressuring and collaborating with a handful of liberal social media and tech companies. This is progress?

I think it is true that a more diverse array of voices can be heard these days than, say, in the heyday of Walter Cronkite and the New York Times. But the establishment’s ability to influence and sometimes control the “news” has not gone away.