Guest post by Peter Navarro at Substack
Hi. I’m Peter Navarro, it is March 12, 2023.
And here is some breaking news: Fox News show host Tucker Carlson has purportedly sent out a questionnaire on America’s Ukraine policy to a set of Republican presidential candidates.
My immediate thought upon hearing this news was, to speak in the salty vernacular of one of my old Chiefs of Staff at the Trump White House, John Kelly, “Who the hell does Tucker think he is?”
Before I try and answer to that question, settle down all you fan boys and fan girls of Tucker. I like Tucker, and Tucker has been good to me – at least he was up until the point where the Fox brass canceled me from his show. I’ll get to that in a minute; but first, this:
What Tucker is doing seems to be the height of arrogance. In effect, Tucker thinks his ratings are so big that he can set himself up as a powerbroker in the 2024 presidential race as if he were the actual Fox network itself – such questionnaires the sponsorship of debates are typically the province of the network itself, across the cable news diaspora.
To put this another way, Tucker is sending out questionnaires to presidential candidates in the an apparent belief that because the show is so popular and highly rated, these candidates must kiss Tucker’s ring and fill out those questionnaires – or risk retribution if a candidate fails to answer the questionnaire.
Truth be told, I’d like to know the answers to a lot of the questions Tucker is asking about Ukraine. But where does this end? Is Hannity going to start sending out questionnaires? How
about Laura or Jesse or Brian Kilmeade?
And if Tucker at Fox can do it, why not Ari Melber at MSNBC or Joy Reed at CNN?
The answer is that of course none of these other talk show hosts are going to go down that road, at least not without permission from their network, yet Tucker apparently thinks he can do it because his show is so popular.
Here is my real concern about giving Tucker so much power to influence the 2024 election. Numero Uno is that Tucker Carlson is not a Donald Trump fan. That is certainly no secret as the recent spate of emails and other correspondence that have leaked out from a lawsuit confirm this statement.
Second, his on-air populist, nationalist personality aside, Tucker appears to care more about ratings than policy. Put simply, Tucker is not a MAGA true believer but simply a pragmatist
who, like a jeweler with precision taps at the resentments of his audience. This, too, is revealed in the email correspondence recently leaked.
Third, and most worrisome, Tucker ultimately gets his paycheck from Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News Corporation. Yes, Tucker is now walking an interesting tightrope taking on issues that run counter to the globalism and corporatism of Rupert, and he is getting away with it because of the popularity of the show.
But Memo to Tucker: You are just one misstep away from going the way of Lou Dobbs who likewise was very popular. Yet Lou lost enough advertisers that his highly watched show
stopped making the kind of money Fox wanted despite its high ratings. So Lou Dobbs became the sacrificial lamb for the Dominion lawsuit – it was as quick and as cruel as a guillotine
beheading French royalty.
My own experience with Tucker strongly suggests that, when push comes to shove, Tucker still bends to the knee of the Murdochs when Fox CEO Suzanne Scott comes a-calling.
For example, I was scheduled twice to fly down to his Fox Nation complex in Florida to do an extended long-form interview; but both times, the interview was canceled. At the time, I found the cancellation suspicious, particularly in light of the other cancellations I was getting with other shows; but I gave Tucker the benefit of the doubt at the time. Now, I am certain pressure was put on Tucker, and he folded like a cheap suit.
Hey, it is Rupert’s network, and he can do what he wants. But so can we, nobody is forcing you to watch Fox News. Cut that damn cable.
This gets me back to my main point: As Lord Acton aptly said “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely;” and if Tucker is able to grab the absolute power of being a real
powerbroker in the 2024 presidential race, it will not bode well for Donald Trump.
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I repeat here the Tucker is not a Trump fan and to use another French Revolution analogy, I think that the old bow tie now dressed in a populist suit Tucker looks down upon Donald Trump in the same way that Louis the Fourteenth looked down upon the peasants. When push comes to shove, Tucker simply cannot be trusted to have Trump’s back in any way.
So, even though Tucker is taking on a lot of important MAGA issues now and still deserves our attention, I will continue to advocate cutting the Fox News cable cord until such time Fox starts televising all of Trump’s rallies like it used to do, stops many of its Never-Trump anchors from dumping all over my old Boss, and uncancels folks like me and Mike Lindell and Rudy Giuliani.
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