Tucker Carlson is shouting when he tells me he isn’t shouting. The barrage of his voice has been relentless throughout the interview.
“I don’t want to be John McLaughlin yelling at people. Why would I want to do that? I don’t need to do that,” he insists. “I actually don’t think the audience likes that. I don’t like it. But the idea that I win debates because I yell louder, it’s, like, absurd.”
“I didn’t say you win because you shouted. I just said there is a lot of shouting.”
“There is not a lot of shouting. I do the show every night. I know what’s on it.”
“Okay,” I say, “but you are shouting right now.”
“It’s because I talk loud. I was shouting before.”
Carlson also has one very big fan in the president of the United States, who watches his show and gleans policy ideas. Only weeks ago, after Carlson spoke on his show about a South African policy of seizing property from white landowners, the president tweeted that he was having his Secretary of State look into the matter. (Both Carlson and Trump misinterpreted the policy. Carlson later clarified his remarks on the issue; Donald Trump has not.)
Other vocal fans of Carlson include Richard Spencer, David Duke, and white nationalist website The Daily Stormer. On August 24, 2018, The Daily Stormer published a post that noted gleefully, “Tucker Carlson is basically ‘Daily Stormer: The Show.’ Other than the language used, he is covering all of our talking points.”
Pointing out the similarities between Nazi supporters and positions advocated by Carlson has become a subgenre of DC media. The most thorough examination was by Carlos Maza, a journalist for Vox, who recently broke down the ways in which Carlson’s talking points resonate with professional racists. His video is worth watching in full, but he points out how Carlson’s show cherrypicks stories of immigrants committing crime and ties illegal immigration to the crime rate. (Studies from the FBI and the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, have proven no link between immigration—illegal or otherwise—and crime.)
But he’s not a racist, Carlson insists. It’s bogus. Just because he believes everyone should be able to say what they want without being punished for it, doesn’t mean he supports them.
“If you think my views are bad tell me how. But [my accusers] don’t, because they’re either too dumb or they don’t care. They are trying to silence people they disagree with…And they are leading the effort to silence people they disagree with, without any debate, with out any intellectual due process, not legal, intellectual due process.”
To pause briefly, I have no idea what “intellectual due process” is, but surely Bret Stephens will explain how he’s being denied it anytime anyone criticizes him on Twitter soon.
Carlson’s voice is rising. He begins to mimic liberals in a higher pitched voice. “Shut up, Nazi. I get to punch you now.”
That, he says, is where the world is going.
So is he a racist? “My god, I’m not a racist. I hate racism. Tell me how.”
He kept going, mimicking the debate he believes his accusers/liberals/me are having about him. “It’s like ‘Oh, creepy people like your show. Therefore, you shouldn’t have a show.’ What? How could you go along with that? I don’t understand. Like, that’s the lowest form…that’s so contemptible. And it’s, it’s amazing to me that that kind of goes on uniformly. Shut up. You’re a bad person. Go away. You’re fired now. What? Tell me what he did wrong. Speak slowly so that I can understand. What did he say that’s untrue? What did he say that’s not allowed? What’s the right position? Why don’t you explain it to me? Shut up, Nazi.”
His publicist calls after our interview to make sure I know that Carlson is not a racist.
I don’t want to deny him intellectual due process, so let’s just say he’s a master of protesting too much.