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Henry Farrell @henryfarrell
, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. There's a history behind Tucker Carlson's warning to Fox viewers that "If you're looking to understand what's actually happening in this country, always assume the opposite of whatever they're telling you on the big news stations." And it's the history of US conservative media
2. Once upon a time, Tucker Carlson was the former Crossfire host savaged by Jon Stewart for hurting America. Always an opportunist, he went on a mission to reinvent himself. It started with a _very_ different diagnosis of what ailed America media than he retails today,
3. Back then, the problem wasn't with the mainstream media, but with its conservative shadow twin. And the problem wasn't that the mainstream media was untrustworthy on the facts. It was that conservatives didn't know how to do sound and accurate reporting like the MSM.
4. In Carlson's words -… - "… “The New York Times is a liberal paper, but it is also…a paper that actually cares about accuracy. Conservatives need to build institutions that mirror those institutions.”
5. This was the rationale behind Carlson's Daily Caller. As the CJR described it, the website was supposed to "combine the Times’s devotion to accuracy and shoe-leather truth-seeking with the right’s view of what that truth is. Other conservatives would hopefully follow."
6. Carlson's description of the Daily Caller's mission was "Our goal is not to get
Republicans elected. Our goal is to explain what your government is
doing."… That's not how it worked out.
7. From the beginning, the Daily Caller had more in common with the National Inquirer than the New York Times. And it got ever worse over time. Then, after Bill O'Reilly was fired by Fox, Carlson became his replacement -….
8. Very soon, he started whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment, earning him a lot of white supremacist fans -… . And now, we are where we are. Carlson isn't himself very interesting - he's a hustler. As he said in his Caller days, "links are what I'm after."
9. But precisely because he's such an opportunist, he's a human map of where the opportunities are in right wing media. Like Randall Jarrell's President Robbins, he's so well attuned to his environment that sometimes you cannot tell which is the environment and which is Carlson.
10. And the opportunities are not in replicating the structures of fact-based journalism on the right, as he once thought they were. They are in trying to swamp them and drown them. Finis.
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