As someone who pioneered the transition from what we euphemistically call the “mainstream media” to the new media some 20 years ago, I want to sing the praises of a friend who went the other way – going from the new media to the so-called “mainstream.”
That would be Tucker Carlson, who’s new prime-time Fox News show is something to see.
In its early goings, it has all the earmarks of being what TV journalism should be all about.
I’ve offered a sample here of one his hard-hitting interviews with a character named Mathew Blanchfield, chief executive officer of the Albuquerque-based Internet marketing firm 1st in SEO, who became instantly famous when he announced that those who support President-elect Donald Trump are “not welcome” at his company.
I would like you to note how polite Carlson was, how gentle were his probing and incisive questions, how skillfully he eviscerated the intolerant know-nothing:
This was television worth paying for.
Carlson began by letting Blanchfield hang himself with his own words by asking a simple question: Why would you say something like that?
Blanchfield explained that he was standing on “moral principle” and that he is intolerant of bigotry, racism, sexism and fascism. The businessman went on to draw comparisons between Nazi Germany and the U.S. under a Trump administration.
Carlson: “When you say ‘fascism,’ I mean, you don’t really believe that? If you believed that Trump was a fascist dictator, then you would organize an actual resistance to him. You would be Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You would be fighting against him for real. [W]hy wouldn’t you take up arms against him? If you really believe the country is being taken over by someone you compare to Hitler, then that’s – I mean – that’s like the worst thing that could ever happen.”
Blanchfield explained that his action was his form of “resistance.”
Carlson suggested Blanchfield was” “belittling historic reality” by comparing Trump to Hilter.
“Being rude to news anchors who make $3 million a year is not the same as rounding up an entire ethnic group and killing them, or invading Poland,” Carlson countered. “For you to say that really does diminish actual historical crimes.”
The only downside of what I’ve seen with Carlson to date is that he may not be able to get guests like this in the future – which would be too bad.
“Has it ever occurred to you that every rich, famous person, fashionable person, in America agrees with you?” Carlson asked. “That you’re taking no risk at all? That, in fact, people like you are celebrated in every American newspaper, at award ceremonies? I mean, come on.”
Watch the interview for yourself. It’s worth the time.
While I worked on my chops in the old newspaper world, Carlson is best-known for starting DailyCaller.com, one of the better political news sites competing with WND.com. I don’t mind the competition. We have different styles, different emphases, and competition makes everyone hungrier and sharper. It keeps us on our toes.
Think about the recent presidential election. How did Trump overcome such an overwhelmingly hostile media? There were a few new media sites that welcomed the challenge by a Washington outsider – among them the DrudgeReport, Breitbart.com, DailyCaller and WND. These are not really my competitors. They’re my colleagues.
The way Trump broke the back of political correctness and won the presidency positions the new media for more “mainstream” credibility and larger audiences and opportunities like the one Carlson has landed.
So let me give my friendly “competitor” Tucker Carlson a shameless plug. You’ve been doing a great job on the weekends for Fox. Congratulations on your new gig! So far, it’s great television. It’s what TV news could be and should be like.
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