Accuracy in Media

Columbia Journalism Review asks in all capital letters, “WHAT HAPPENED TO TUCKER CARLSON?” in an unbalanced 7,000-word article by Lyz Lenz.

In the piece, Lenz tries to decipher “The Mystery of Tucker Carlson.” But the piece has no introspection about the anti-conservative bias by the mainstream media (as explained by Harvard University, for example) and how that may have led Carlson to his Fox News platform today.

Instead, Lenz writes: “WHAT HAPPENED TO TUCKER CARLSON? People in media ask themselves this question with the same pearl-clutching, righteous tone they use when discussing their aunt in Connecticut who voted for Trump.

“The question, ‘What happened to Tucker Carlson?’, is worth answering. If we can figure out how an intelligent writer and conservative can go from writing National Magazine Award-nominated articles and being hailed by some of the best editors in the business, to shouting about immigrants on Fox News, perhaps we can understand what is happening to this country, or at least to journalism, in 2018.”

Lenz accuses Carlson of “wily incongruity” and a cult-like persona built around telling Fox News viewers that “The mainstream media is lying to you.”

“Everyone, except him of course,” Lenz writes.

“It’s a neat trick. Say something, and when challenged, insist it was a joke. As if jokes themselves rise above criticism.

“Or by not laughing you are a humorless bore—a liberal. It’s just a play on another Carlson rhetorical move: Say something and then, when criticized, insist that criticism is an attempt to infringe on free speech.”

Lenz makes the interview personal and implies that her marriage to a Republican dissolved because of Trump. She says Carlson’s argument that conservative free speech has been repressed is flawed because he ignores that speech has justified, negative consequences.

“But Carlson isn’t being silenced,” Lenz writes. “He’s plenty loud enough. And anyway I don’t want to silence him. I don’t want to end free speech, I just want to tell him speech has consequences. I tell him that a year after Trump was elected I ended my 12-year marriage to a Republican.”

The CJR piece offers no critical analysis of the New York Times, which has shown a repeated anti-Trump bent, with double standards on its coverage of everything from Supreme Court judges to the economy.

“If I can figure out what happened to Tucker Carlson, how he went from successful magazine writer to contrarian journalist to raving Fox News host, I believe I will understand what happened to my country, my life even,” Lenz concludes.

“What happened to make a rich white man the vox populi? How did I, a mom in the Midwest who can’t afford health care, become the humorless, censoring, liberal elite? How are the winners still insisting they are losers? What happened to this whole mess of a world? So I listen and listen. But I get no answers. Most of the quotes I get don’t make any sense. And I’m no closer to an answer now than when I started.”

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