Credit: Tucker Carlson on Twitter

Tucker Carlson's Ironic Return

By Timothy R. Butler | Posted at 11:37 PM

Tucker Carlson says he’s “back.” His three minute long Twitter video return is a tour de force argument on what’s terribly wrong in the media and the need for free speech. How desperately we need the whole truth and not just controlled bits of it. He’s right, but I’m hardly celebrating, because the setting is so ironic.

Ironic because Fox News’s recently settled Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit revealed Carlson to be the opposite of the champion of truth he postured to be. While the on-air Carlson interviewed election conspiracy theorists and seemed lockstep with President Trump, we now know behind the scenes, he was as scathing as his archnemesis Democrats about many of those same theories and guests.

Withholding some truth as the now exiled host worries about in his Twitter address is one thing. Outright duplicity is even worse.

And, he did plenty of cherry picking of data, just as he bemoans in the video, too. It was Carlson who, a few months ago, upon getting exclusive access to Capitol Building security cameras, took the most mundane moments from the January 6, 2021 protests and showed those (while skipping the violent parts) to paint an alternative reality about what happened that day. Republicans — even Trump supporting ones — not just Democrats, were disturbed.

So we have the ironic Knight for Truth, who indeed is speaking fine points, just not practicing them. That is, of course, par for the political “swamp” Carlson so frequently condemns even as he shows himself an inhabitant thereof. As so often is the case, he is what he hates.

The more disconcerting part is this: what of those who have bought or will buy into his newest quest for the truth holy grail?

Many of those who share my Christian commitment to the truth are so fixated on Carlson’s ability to amplify messages against his (and their) political enemies that none of this quite stark hypocrisy seems to raise concern.

I can see why. Much of the reason his is such a siren song can be placed at the feet of his (and their) political enemies, who are likewise unreasonable. They value the truth little more than he. In an era where the political left wants to regularly check the ideological purity of everyone who posts on social media, in a time when someone like the quite progressive J.K. Rowling is somehow the moment’s “bigot,” a counterweight as powerful as Tucker is hard to resist.

Sophistical as Carlson may be, if he can “own” the other side and show glimpses of the madness in certain parts of a form of progressivism hardly recognizable even to liberals of a decade or two ago, perhaps he offers enough truth. That’s a Faustian bargain, however.

Maybe Tucker’s adventure onto Twitter is less so. While Carlson himself has shown himself to be no true champion of the truth he supposedly advocates for, his new “host,” Elon Musk, does have more of a meaningful reputation in the area. Musk’s reaction to Carlson’s announcement (which included high praise for Twitter), encouraged left leaning commentators to follow Carlson’s move to the platform.

If the serial entrepreneur, space racing, electric car building, mad-tweetin’ Musk can succeed in turning Twitter into a long term space for genuine disagreement of opinion, what the Carlsons of the right and their counterparts on the left are all loath to do — tell the whole truth — can be done, if not by any one side, at least by the chatter between.

But that will take us all genuinely getting behind free speech and not just free speech for people like me. Musk can tell a “few” tales of how both left and right will turn whenever one’s free speech advocacy happens to protect the opposite side and not just their own.


Timothy R. Butler is Editor-in-Chief of Open for Business. He also serves as a pastor at Little Hills Church and FaithTree Christian Fellowship.

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