Views on politics and current events

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Show Is So Fast, It's Changing The Pace Of News!

The above is a blurb for the Tucker show on the MSNBC website. Yes, the show is fast, thus changing the pace. But news? The show is a 'news' show in the loosest sense of the term, and Tucker Carlson is a journalist in the loosest sense of the term. The show is an hour-long editorial where the news itself is not the focus, but the opinions of the host are.

How does such a relatively young man get such a show? He's had shows on PBS, CNN, and now MSNBC. And has had numerous writing jobs for various newpapers. Is he really that good? There are no doubt plenty of journalists out there that are more qualified and more talented. The answer? Tucker Carlson is a man of privilege. Some facts from his biography:

*Carlson is the son of Richard W. Carlson, who was president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from 1992 to 1997 and former U.S. Ambassador to the Seychelles. His stepmother is Patricia Carlson, heiress to the Swanson frozen-food fortune.

*Carlson completed private secondary education at the elite St. George's School, Newport, Rhode Island. He then attended Trinity College in Connecticut for four years, but dropped out without obtaining a degree. Carlson describes his college experience thus:

"After four years, I had met a lot of interesting people, gone to a couple of classes and restored a motorcycle, and that was it. And so I wasted my time at college."

Born with not a silver, but a golden spoon in his mouth, Tucker has had advantages from birth. With a father prominent in the broadcasting industry, no doubt it was a tad easier for Tucker to get his foot in the door. But there have always been and will always be people born into better circumstances than others. If I was born under identical circumstances, my life would no doubt have been much different too. These facts more than likely account for his rapid rise in broadcasting. But there's more to it than that.


It's not the fact that he was born in privilege. He is an articulate, intelligent man that could have used that privilege and intelligence in a variety of ways. So why did he choose to become a 'journalist' that is so egotistical and provocative that his show amounts to nothing more than a diatribe against everyone that doesn't agree with him (and even some that do) and the feeding of his own ego? He is an ultra-conservative pundit that uses his power and influence to promote the conservative agenda purely for his own personal agrandizement. It is not conservative views he espouses so much as his own inflated self-worth. But there’s even more to it than that.

Whether his egocentricism was brought about by his privileged background or his ultr-conservative politics isn’t my biggest gripe about him. His background and intelligence are as much an accident from birth as having green eyes, blonde hair or being left handed. What is so disturbing is his blatant disregard for people. The interview I had with him (transcript on this blog) showed me that he has no regard for working people. His comments and questions were meant to paint me in the most diagreeable way possible. The hostility of his attitude smacks of a total ignorance of the plight of especially blue collar labor in this country.

The NY Times article emphasized the fact that despite the rhetoric about jobs and the economy, it’s not that rosey for many. The easiest way to try and quash that opinion in this instance was to try and commit character assassination towards one of the people featured in the article. The reporter that interviewed me, Louis Uchitelle, and the newspaper he writes for are continually under attack as (get ready for the ‘L’ word) liberal. The fact that I was in the article automatically branded me as one also, and my quotes in the article added to the branding.

I agreed to the interview to add to the debate about this issue. It has created a firestorm on the ‘net. Google my name and see how many ‘hits’ you get. I expected to be harrassed and abused to a certain extent. But the hostility was way more than I expected. His mind was made up about me since reading the article, he knew what he was going to say. He had all of the resources of MSNBC, the convenience of not having me face to face in the studio, and no doubt a feeling of intellectual and moral superiority over an ex-steelworker. His overinflated ego tells me that this was so.

In essence, I was invited to a rock throwing contest. He had the luxury of having a full time staff gather the rocks for him, polish each one so his privileged hands wouln’t get chaffed, and threw them at me with impunity. I on the other hand had only myself, but I was prepared enough to at least grin and bear it and not lose my temper. There was no way I could talk about the issue. The best I could do was what I did; get through it the best way that I could. Tucker had complete control. No matter what I said he was ready to chunk another rock at me. And he did.

But I lived through it. Perhaps a little shaken, but probably better for the experience. The interview has taught me some things, and reinforced some things I already knew. Some conclusions:

  • No matter the ideology, if that ideology is more important than treating people in a civil way, a person needs to do some soul searching
  • Character assassination done by a media talking head to an average citizen is cowardice. It is a flaunting of power that has been gained by high ratings, nothing more.
  • The grander the ego, the more shallow the person.
  • If Tucker Carlson’s a journalist, I’m a submarine commander.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

I can see by the way this article is written that you would make a far better journalist than Tucker Carlson. You could have been much more hostile in your reaction to him, but instead your response is rational and researched.

He and his ilk are a disgrace to journalism and to the people he claims to represent.

Worse is that this selfish, hostile, attitude of entitlement to truth without research or dialog seem to be spreading to other journalists and to the public. It's all going to come crashing down on them someday.

I think the issue of why you chose to do what you do merits a much deeper discussion, and I hope you will write more about it.

Jeff said...

I can see by the way this article is written that you would make a far better journalist than Tucker Carlson. You could have been much more hostile in your reaction to him, but instead your response is rational and researched.

He and his ilk are a disgrace to journalism and to the people he claims to represent.

Worse is that this selfish, hostile, attitude of entitlement to truth without research or dialog seem to be spreading to other journalists and to the public. It's all going to come crashing down on them someday.

I think the issue of why you chose to do what you do merits a much deeper discussion, and I hope you will write more about it.

 
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