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John Oliver vs. Tucker Carlson

Published by marco on

John Oliver addresses the menace of Tucker Carlson in the video. It’s a pretty cheap takedown in that the charges of white supremacism are fraught and Oliver relies nearly exclusively on older clips (some from the 90s, for God’s sake). Carlson is on TV every night of the week. Did you have to reach back to the 90s to find sufficiently incriminating material?

I’m surprised the Oliver didn’t point out that Carlson’s “concentrating” face resembles a constipated weasel.

Tucker Carlson by Last Week Tonight (YouTube)

John Oliver, once again, spends long minutes on spurious arguments. A white supremacist interviewed on CNN (CNN!) tells them how his whole family watches Tucker Carlson “to learn from him”. This is red meat for liberals, but they, just like Oliver, will completely miss the point.

Another way of looking at it is they’re learning from Tucker how to express their anguish in a way that doesn’t use the word “nigger” and doesn’t involve burning crosses. How is that … wrong? Instead of just shutting it all down, maybe use it? You have to start somewhere. You can’t just throw 75 million people into the ocean, no matter how much you want to.

He should have focused on all of the things that Carlson is saying, not just the stupid things. The few times I’ve seen Tucker, I’ve been taken aback at how much like Bernie Sanders he sometimes sounds. That’s obviously because Sanders is also a white supremacist.

Because anyone who’s not 100% woke is a white supremacist and a misogynist and gets to wear the dunce cap for the rest of their lives until they’ve atoned enough, which they never can, but they should never stop trying, and the enlightened wizards of the Elect (like Oliver, to some degree, though he’s not nearly at the pinnacle) will let you know how you’re doing, which is, invariably, poorly, because you might have failed to focus the whole of your efforts on doing exactly what they told you to do, which is, quite frankly, at least half of the point.

The other half is to make you vulnerable to being fired or leaving your position in self-imposed exile so that the rare slot you occupied can now be filled by a friend. Classic power plays at work, dressed up as being on the moral high ground, to make it unassailable. Again, classic. Usually, it was about being loyal to the company (not working long enough! Has a life!) or the nation (is a Communist!), but it all washes out to the same ploy. It’s tedious.

Hell, you can view this entire screed by Oliver as a direct attack on a competitor whose rhetoric is getting too close to Oliver’s own and whose nationwide nightly audience dwarfs his own. Through a cynical lens, it appears as if Oliver is jumping on the bandwagon to tear down Carlson in a bid to expand his own audience.

Carlson has a lot of abhorrent views, but he has some non-abhorrent ones, as well. He’s actually kind of Oliver’s competition in some respects, playing the voice for the downtrodden. It’s not like Oliver has more baseline cred there than Carlson does, right? A by-now very-wealthy British-transplant comedian turned people’s polemicist vs. a white upper middle-class turned same.

Oliver focuses on how Tucker Carlson is a rich dude who married into the Swanson fortune, who benefitted from a lot of grift. That’s fine, I guess. You could make the same story about Anderson Cooper—but Oliver would never do that.

I’m over a third through this clip and he’s still talking about stuff from the 90s.

Oliver tips his hand when he says, “that’s a pretty salient point there, but it’s hard to take seriously, given who’s making it. […] I don’t care how good your advice is, I’m not taking from you. (Emphasis in original)”. He literally says that Tucker’s identity is more important than what he’s saying. The conclusion seems to be that Tucker cannot redeem himself by saying more positive things. He can’t redeem himself at all, by this formula. He’s been reprehensible too long to be useful, according to Oliver. He’s irredeemable. Deplorable.

Did John Oliver just call Tucker Carlson a “picket fence”? Is that a soft version of “cracker”? And how does Oliver get to do that? Being even whiter than Carlson? It’s ok to make racial slurs about white people, I guess?

The clip of Ilhan Omar that Oliver showed was a good illustration of his point because what she was saying was something that today’s Carlson would seem to agree with. That quote, though, doesn’t have a year on it, so it’s hard to tell how hypocritical Carlson is proven to be.

“We must fight to preserve our heritage and culture.” (a quote from Carlson) is something that could be in literally any presidential speech. Oliver then trots out another quote from 2006.

That he commands an audience of millions and has gotten my father to watch interviews with Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, and Aaron Maté means nothing to Oliver. That my dad heard him say that Julian Assange should be freed means nothing to Oliver. That Carlson issues screed after screed excoriating Wall Street for its rapacity means nothing. He asked Britney Spears a gotcha question in the 90s, so he’s dead to society, ready for cancellation. He should just give up and let Oliver have his audience and time slot.

It’s not that I agree with Tucker Carlson on more than a handful of issues. It’s that Oliver is spectacularly tone-deaf in focusing laser-like on making literally every one of Tucker’s opinions be based on white supremacism and anti-immigration. Carlson is speaking much more for the nation that Oliver, to be honest. You should try to use him instead of tearing him down.

I love how Oliver’s description of Carlson’s show as a pointy-faced white guy on TV telling people that they are owed something and that “they are being oppressed” is literally a description of Oliver himself, but for a different audience.