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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Carlson starts lucid, ends in strange conclusions

I don't make a habit of reading Tucker Carlson. In fact I did not know he had a blog or column on the MSNBC website. However today his was one of the links on the MSNBC front page under the title 'NBC News Highlights' and so I took a look.

Seems he had a guest on to discuss a theory that the events on 9/11 were an inside job caused by bombs not planes. This is hardly a new accusation but it is still clearly doing the rounds. It seems the interview did not go well.

I was first drawn to this quote:
When one of my producers first told me about him, my first thought was: Stephen Jones is insane. And he may be. On the other hand, he does have a legitimate job and a responsible-sounding title. He's not living in the park, or writing me letters in crayon. How crazy could he really be? In the interest of open-mindedness, we booked him.
Now this just shows off Carlson's elitism. Look pal, just because you have a job and good sounding job title it does not mean that you can not be a crazy person. Give the privileged the opportunity to be maddies as well!

Anyway, I digress. Apparently an overwhelming majority of viewers who bothered to write in thought this guy had some credibility:

But the overwhelming majority wrote to thank me for my "courage" in putting him on, and to complain that we didn't give him more time to explain the conspiracy.

In other words, a lot of people seem to think it's possible that the U.S. government had a hand in bringing down the World Trade Center buildings.

Now of course Tucker knows exactly what those emailed said and I suspect that his interpretation is correct but what he says in the second paragraph does not necessarily follow from the first. From the information that Carlson passes to us it could be that a lot of the 'overwhelming majority' were simply praising the courage in putting a 'nut' on TV and/or drawing attention to the fact that these conspiracy theorists are out there peddling their wares. We are left to fill in the blanks that those people that wrote in actually believe in the possibility of the US government involvement. I just mention this as an example of sloppy journalism - making a broad accusation based upon information that is only partially offered to the reader so that we fill in the gaps.

Tucker then goes on to say:
If you really thought this - or even considered it a possibility - how could you continue to live here? You couldn't. You'd leave the United States on the next available flight and not come back. You'd have no choice. Continuing to pay taxes to a government capable of something so evil would make you complicit in the crime.
Whoa!! Slow down there boy. He starts with a simple and legitimate question and then immediately leaps into an answer that fits his worldview. He thinks that way so it must be the way it is. I can understand this but it is a little unfair. What follows this is even worse:

So of course most of the people who wrote to say they think the government might have been behind 9-11 don't really think the government might have been behind 9-11. For whatever reason, they just like to say so. Which as far as I'm concerned makes them phony and irresponsible.

Holy crap! What a fantastic conclusion based upon no evidence other than his own beliefs. He has just branded these people liars on the basis of his own opinion of how one should react to a certain thing. He has not considered other possibilities such as these people might be wanting to change the government and punish them and as such this could only be done from within the country. Nope, his view trumps all others.

I would like to point out that I do not believe the conspiracy theory, I just wanted to point out a piece of sloppy analysis which is touted as a 'NBC News Highlight' not as a 'NBC News Opinion'.


Averroes said...

Kav, it is much about Tucker's style. he is often criticized for being the Colmes of the right.

His entire show is opinion, of course, not news.

Kav said...

His entire show is opinion, of course, not news.

I missed his MSNBC show as I left the States just before it started to air, but I did realize that it was going to follow in the MSNBC evening 'news' shows in that they are opinion first and foremost. I include Countdown in that, even though I found it entertaining and it did tell us the news, it was heavy with opinion.

My main beef with this, as I think you got, is that it was not labelled under 'opinion' but under 'news'.