Carlson has some abusive personal comments about me 2/3 of the way through this complicated excuse and justification for the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Anti-vax; pro-insurrection - quite a combo. As to the abuse, I'll say just this ... 1/x
I've known Carlson for more than 20 years. We were colleagues at the Weekly Standard in the 1990s, I appeared fairly often on his MSNBC show in the 2000s. We were "Washington friends" - we had lunch, he came to parties at my house, etc. 2/x
All this was during the period of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Carlson now proclaims his fierce opposition to both. But *when it mattered* - when his already influential voice could have made a difference to the national decision - he was a FEROCIOUS advocate of both wars. 3/x
I supported the wars too of course. But Carlson's support was way more outspoken, radical, disdainful, and - frankly - bloodthirsty. His radio broadcast description of Iraqis as "semiliterate primitive monkeys" resurfaced in 2018.… There's a lot more. 4/x
Maybe Carlson authentically changed his mind about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Or maybe he was performing in 2009 and is performing again today. It doesn't matter. What does matter is this ... 5/x
What matters is *what you said at the time that your words could influence public action.*

We all rethink, we all evolve. But even as we change, we carry our responsibility for our personal histories along with us. At least, I believe that.

Not Carlson. 6/x
To Carlson, it's all just sounds and images on a box, to be spoken, then forgotten. Say one thing today, the opposite tomorrow. Urge a war on national television, then disavow it afterward as if it had nothing to do with you. It's cynical, but above all it's cowardly. 7/x
Maybe that's the fascination of the Carlson TV persona. We all sense that if a Murdoch ordered him, he would say the opposite of everything he says now. Last year, he flipped from "COVID is real" to "COVID is fake." He could flip from anti-vax to pro-vax literally tomorrow. 8/x
Carlson's like a one-man TV special effect, a creation of market analysis of race-baiting as a segment within an ever more fragmented infotainment industry.

He would just as happily host Jeopardy or do a cooking show with a Kardashian. 9/x
I've written much about the Bush years and will write more. I'm undertaking now a book about the whole period 1989-2021. I've felt I owed that. It's not a show or an act. Maybe that's why I so get on Carlson's nerves. END.

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More from @davidfrum

6 May
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