‘Tucker on Twitter’ is equal parts Fox News and Fox Mulder

Most of the time, it won’t be newsworthy to see a man in your social media feed staring at the camera, asking “What exactly happened on 11/ 9?” and asked to know why the media didn’t dig up the truth about the JFK assassination. Usually, it’s just a sign that you shouldn’t accept so many friend requests from high school friends that you barely remember.

But when that man was recently paid millions of dollars by Fox News to say much the same thing on one of cable TV’s most popular shows, people took notice. In the first episode on Tuesday of “Tucker on Twitter,” Tucker Carlson’s new home-brewing show, the brand of outrage, insinuation, and mockery of the ousted early star’s dog whistling, finally got the picture of the right guy for it. .

There is a slight echo in the sound; there are wall paintings, wooden panels, a little green of the wood through the window. Carlson keep your own Teleprompter controller and wears a suit with square pockets. Overall, it’s a talk-show.”Green soil sample,” or Ron Swanson if he shaves and goes to prep school.

As a production, “Tucker on Twitter” looks less like a newscast than one of those impromptu quarantine shows that showed late-night talk show hosts recorded from home in the early days. of Covid 2020. But in this case, Carlson’s quarantine was self-inflicted.

Fox abruptly let him go in April, following an investigation into a now-resolved lawsuit with voting software company Dominion. turn on racist text messages and slurs against women from him, as well as disparaging statements about Fox executives. It’s unclear whether streaming on Twitter would violate Carlson’s contract with Fox, which runs until early 2025.

But commentators had to comment, and the time in the woods didn’t calm Carlson. He gives the simplest introduction – “Hey, I’m Tucker Carlson!” – before summarizing the dam explosion in Ukraine that will hit the Kremlin like the smoothest vodka. “Any fair person would conclude that the Ukrainians may have blown it up,” he said, since the dam, located in an area occupied by Russia during an invasion, “is in fact Russian “.

Carlson also called Volodymyr Zelensky, the Jewish president of Ukraine, a “persecutor of Christians” and described him as “tricky, bleary-eyed” and “sweat and like a rat.” For several years, Carlson washing far-right rhetoric and bigotry toward Fox, and there’s no indication that, in Elon Musk’s Twitter-everything mode, the laundromat is shut down.

Carlson’s eloquence hasn’t diminished, but his product has. For the first 10 minutes, there were no guests, no produced segments, a few news clips. It’s completely monologue, from Ukraine’s opening commentary to its blunt blows on diversity and transgender women to the ending about a whistleblower claiming that the US government owns material from extraterrestrial plane.

In other words, it was a Tucker Carlson gig. One big question is whether Carlson can be what it used to be without the Fox News platform and production resources.

Of course, Fox has ideology (which has experienced different flavors of conservatism over the decades), but it also has an aesthetic. Its performances are made to be polished and urgent, in order to convey a sense of polished confidence. Fox News is designed to look like it’s broadcasting from the top of the world; “Tucker on Twitter” looks like a live stream after the apocalypse.

Others — Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck — have failed to regain their peak influence after losing Fox’s position. Carlson may be different; Fox News has yet to recover primetime ratings following his sudden departure.

But Carlson, for all his anti-elite posture, is quite a creature of legacy television, having hosted shows on Fox, CNN and MSNBC. He’s a houseplant that’s grown under the company’s studio lights, even if they installed in his rural Maine town let him broadcast remotely to Fox.

On the other hand, maybe the pivot to lo-fi Twitter is a better fit for the current Carlson embodiment. Whether he’s pro-Russia or immigrants or the January 6 riots, he has a nagging super theme: Elites are controlling your information and telling you what you’re allowed to do. speak. “Let’s go ahead and talk about something really important and see what happens,” he said at one point, seemingly alluding to his being fired by Fox while portraying himself as a martyred for freedom of speech. “If you keep going, they will silence you. Trust us.”

In this rhetorical framework, it is not necessary to prove that aliens have been discovered on Earth or that the Ukrainians blew up a Ukrainian dam. Carlson said that was enough They don’t want you to believe itand viewers can accept the idea for the sake of sticking with it Surname. Surname say you’re wrong, you’re crazy, you’re a racist. Well, what do they know?

That’s the premise created for the social network, as many YouTubers and Facebook supporters have noticed. The premise of his appeal – that he is the only truth-teller and you are the only critical thinker, in the world of shepherds and sheep – fits the idea of ​​the launch. your computer to find a man speaking from his lair.

It also fits the taste of Twitter owner Musk, who describes himself as an unorthodox libertarian whose unorthodox inadvertently manifests itself through the reinstatement of popular social media users. right-wing mocker and organizer Announcement of the Republican presidential campaign by Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida.

But since 2017, Carlson made himself potentially the most influential broadcaster in conservative politics by appearing to be an outsider on the inside. However, how well he can monetize his Twitter audience, retaining a lot of political-cultural power as an outsider is another matter. We also don’t know if this is a real transition or just a stepping stone until Carlson is free to return to TV under contract.

Until then, the truth remains, and so does Tucker Carlson – whether they are necessarily in the same place or not.


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