Monday, June 12, 2006

Tucker Carlson: The willing degradation of the reservation conservative

Watching Tucker Carlson cover the Duke lacrosse travesty of justice brings to mind those old photographs of Geronimo riding around in a car in Florida. It took a big chunk of the U.S. Army to send the old warrior to the reservation. Carlson went willingly as the price of having his own little-watched cable show.

To his credit Carlson was an early skeptic of the political prosecution underway in Durham. For this he has been mocked by guests on his own program. The conventions of cable news allow talking heads to spew the most amazing nonsense under the pretense of presenting "both sides of the story." In the Duke case, people like Wendy Murphy have been reduced to screeching "defense spin, defense spin" when confronted with those inconvenient things called facts.

Carlson as host has to act like this lame farce is meaningful and that he and his guests are engaged in a real dialogue. Take this transcript from a recent program.

After Wendy Murphy behaves like an obnoxious LaRouchite, Tucker closes with:

Wendy Murphy, completely insane, but delightful nonetheless.

Thanks for joining us
Where is the outrage? Why does a host have to pretend that Wendy Murphy or Georgia Goslee are honestly seeking the truth when they lie and spin? Is this news or pro wrestling?

The shame of it all is that Carlson's early instincts on this case have been proven correct. He was suspicious of the accuser, aware of the political motives of the DA, and worried about the harm done by false accusations. He could have claimed the mantle of Atticus Finch and Edward R. Murrow. Instead he chose to go along to get along and allowed other to move ahead of him on the story.

Tucker Carlson: Can a reservation conservative boost MSNBC?

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