On SiriusXM's SignalBoost, Media Matters' Madeline Peltz explains how Tucker Carlson's career trajectory produced “a fundamentally anti-democratic world view”

From the March 13 edition of SiriusXM Progress' SignalBoost:

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ALEX BERG (GUEST HOST): One of the things you mentioned earlier also was that [Tucker Carlson] has had, kind of, many media careers and different iterations. So, talk to me about how, you know, this is on the basis -- the basis for some of his comments today, or how it's related. 

MADELINE PELTZ (MEDIA MATTERS RESEARCHER): Sure, so he is a legacy -- his family has a legacy in media. His father was an anchor on PBS. He was briefly on PBS. He has had a magazine writing career, he wrote long form pieces, then he was at CNN, and, of course, people might know the famous Jon Stewart clip from Crossfire, which was a CNN program. Then he went to MSNBC, and he was fired and, of course, the ultimate social safety net of mainstream media is Fox News, and so he ended up there as a weekend anchor, and was -- failed-up, basically, to prime time. 

BERG: And he, at one point, had kind of positioned himself as a serious-thinking conservative, right?

PELTZ: Yeah, I think that in the Bubba [the Love Sponge] clips, he is leaning hard into the libertarian thing. He used to work at the Cato Institute, which is a libertarian think tank. And he has since said on his program that he's not the same sort of libertarian that he used to be and he's endorsed more market intervention than the sort of fundamentalists in the Republican Party are probably comfortable with. And that, combined with his xenophobia, demonstrates that he is drawing a line around the people, citizens that he thinks are deserving of support, and basically endorsing deadly policies, including mass deportations, for everyone else. And so it's a scary combination of views that he's expressing. 

BERG: In response to this research that you've done, I wasn't surprised that he was not contrite about it. I wasn't surprised at all. It was unfortunate, but I was just wondering, when you are doing this kind of work, when you're hearing these kinds of remarks, and they are even an aberration from the offensive stuff that he says today on his show, are you thinking like, “Oh my gosh, this is -- people are really going to pick up on this”? 

PELTZ: Well, I was surprised by how much of a response this piece got. I was obviously thrilled, but it wasn't something that we were expecting just because the context of this is -- it's surprising to see what gets pickup because every night it's this kind of thing, and at Media Matters, we sort through all of this programming, and so it is -- I'm glad that people have noticed the context of his career and where he's come from, and I think that that combined with what he's doing really projects towards like where he's going, and it's a fundamentally anti-democratic world view. And it's not like a marketplace-of-ideas-type thing, right, it's about like actually stamping people out from this country and from existence. And so I was really glad to see what happened, but you never know what people are going to react to. 

BERG: Yeah, definitely. The other thing too is that, you know, I think I saw some chyron or something from his show saying like, this is against -- this is “political correctness,” you know, which is just such a common refrain that we now see -- it's so frustrating to see that. 

PELTZ: Yeah, I think that this specter of “the mob” that he is trying to invoke in his defense is really a weak one, especially because it's just a sort of rhetorical turn of phrase to stop himself and other conservative media figures from being held responsible for their reckless rhetoric, so it's really a last line of defense and it's not working.


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