4 min read

Tucker Carlson's cranks

I posted to whatever is left of the bird site today about Tucker Carlson's array of weird guests and why his exit (story here by my esteemed colleague Jason Wilson) could potentially spell trouble for them.

Look, self-assigned website pundit Michael Tracey is a running joke in media. I run a fantasy football league for reporters and someone named their team "Mr. Tracey's League Of Extraordinarily Damp Men" in reference to the fact that this man always seems to be wet with flop sweat. Only in a world where an extremely popular Carlson and his producers sought to exploit the fringes of the right-wing politics could Tracey appear on primetime TV and play the role of serious reporter.

A loud and sweaty cameo from Michael Tracey on FOX

There are many other examples of this phenomenon. Carlson treated Andy Ngo, an "editor at large" for an obscure Canadian junk news site called The Post Millennial, as a legitimate reporter too. Never mind that Ngo is so desperate to be taken seriously as a reporter that he lost money speaking to a half-empty room in Poland about antifa. He was one of Tucker's stars.

Andy Ngo is still desperately trying to make antifa into national news.

Carlson did the same thing with Darren Beattie, a guy the Trump White House pushed out for his ties to white supremacists. Keep in mind, the same team left in place celebrity bigot Stephen Miller, another regular Tucker Carlson guest. Beattie is a crank too. His website Revolver once floated the suggestion of having police gun down Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Beattie also helped buoy the comically stupid and somewhat insidious Ray Epps conspiracy theory that Carlson also liked.

Darren Beattie making an effort to be normal on television. 

Not even going to bother getting into Glenn Greenwald, and his flagrantly goofy post-Infowars neon green aesthetic on Rumble. The point is that Carlson, following Trump's footsteps, opened the floodgates for weirdness. As long as he anchored the FOX News universe, fringe figures like this could pretend they were part of something important or urgent.

And, say what you will about Carlson being a bigot, he also captivated his audience. You could walk outside of your house almost anywhere in America while his show aired and find some homebody glued to it, bathing in his privilege, his sense of entitlement, and his rage. He gave these freaks a good run.

The fringe right just got a lot more fringe tonight.

In darker news

Jury selection started today for the trial of Robert Bowers. My story below:

Antisemitic Mass Shooting Suspect Faces Death Penalty in Trial
Jury selection starts Monday in the trial of white supremacist Gab user Robert Bowers, who allegedly gunned down and killed 11 Jewish worshippers in 2018 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I still remember the morning of this evil attack. See, I was one of the few non-Nazis on Gab at the time Bowers allegedly murdered those innocent people. I also had a verified account on Gab that they gave me in 2017 as a way of showing me that the site wasn't only for Nazis. (Stupid move for them.)

Not only was I aware of Bowers around the time his Gab account appeared to warn about the Tree of Life terror attack, he had also popped in my mentions on that site in the past. I immediately recognized his account that morning of the terror attack and so did many other Gab users. Gab was a tiny little hateful community and while Bowers didn't have the profile of a Douglass Mackey, he was one of the site's verified posters. As I mention in that SPLC story, I knew some of the things he did on Gab too. He used to collaborate with other extremists to ID antiracist and antifascist activists. Pretty spooky to think about in retrospect.

Anyway, I'll be covering this trial and looking for details about Gab in particular, because it served as such a critical organizing hub for extremists. Anyone who Bowers chatted with deserves to be put on blast. And I think it's fitting that Bowers' trial starts on the same day the guy best known for amplifying "great replacement" propaganda loses his job at FOX.