Tucker Carlson and the Power of Truth
During the 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, President Joe Biden declared that “a poison is running through our democracy and parts of the extreme press. Truth buried by lies and lies living an honest truth.” Yet what is the “extreme press” and what is this alleged “poison” running through the American system? The United States is having a fundamental debate on truth, and on whether voices should be allowed to challenge established narratives.
Tucker Carlson struck a chord in a video published on Twitter after he left Fox News. In it, he raises a new debate for the news outlets of the world, questioning whether the stories of choice actually matter for the public, and questioning even more deeply why the stories that matter are not being discussed.
Hello, and welcome to Crossroads!
The 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner was just held in Washington.
This is a unique event. The news media isn’t under state control in America, yet the annual dinner tends to give a pulse on the state of the news industry.
President Joe Biden gave some strong words on the importance of truthful media, but also gave some strong warnings about the threats of a dishonest press. Watch:
Is there a “poison” running through our “democracy?” Is it also running through the “extreme press?” And what is the “extreme press?” Who makes that definition? Regardless, Biden seems to think so.
And to defend the American system, the Republic, or “our democracy” as Biden says, is something going to be done to stop this alleged threat? Of course, Biden says something important as well: that truth is being buried by lies, and lies are living on as truth.
The problem from a political level though, is who decides what truth is? And what happens to the “threats to democracy” who go against what’s established as “truth?”
The sad reality, not just for America, but most of the world in the information age, is that much of what’s often shown on both sides of the political establishment are half truths. And the danger we’re now facing as a society is that when the other half of a story is shown, it’s often painted as “dangerous conspiracy” or as a threat to the system.
Take for example the accusations that former President Donald Trump illegally took home classified documents. Do you remember how that turned out? Comedian Roy Wood Jr mentioned this during the Correspondents Dinner:
The point he raised was important. Yes, Trump had classified documents at his home. It’s still being determined whether he had them legally. These are facts. Much of the media pushed this as a scandal of the century. Yet, when it was found Joe Biden had also taken home classified documents, including when he was a Senator, the story basically disappeared from the airwaves. So was it really such a big scandal? If so, why did partisan news outlets seem to lose interest as soon as the political value disappeared?
This goes back to the problem of half truth. The half truth served a political purpose. The full truth did not.
It’s issues like this that make people question whether today’s news media is interested in reporting truth, or whether it’s just serving a political role. And then there’s the bigger question of whether the media is being manipulated by politics.
The glee of a journalist losing their voice is being applauded by other journalists. The President also appears to be celebrating this. Of course, this isn’t partisan either. Trump similarly criticized the press and celebrated the failures of outlets that were critical of him. I’ve also been guilty of this.
But the firing of Tucker seems to be different. We still don’t know the full story on why he parted ways with Fox News. Public statements have kept it vague.
Yet what we do know is that shortly after leaving, Tucker posted a video on Twitter that currently has over 23 million views. He struck a chord with the nation. And what he spoke about are the problems in the media-political establishment, and the very issue of truth. Watch:
What we’re really debating as a society is what truth is, who should determine what is true, and whether truth that contradicts set narratives should be permitted by the state. It comes down to the idea of whether truth is powerful enough to expose “disinformation,” and whether actual truth is more important than convenient lies.
But truth is powerful. The legacy of human philosophy tells us this, and the annals of history show it. Tucker also noted this in a Heritage Foundation speech shortly before he left Fox:
In a way, Tucker is being seen as the modern Icarus. He flew too close to the sun. And his fall from mainstream TV is being portrayed both as a cautionary tale, and as a type of martyrdom for those who’ve dared venture beyond the boundaries of established narratives.
Most of the world has been faced by this challenge over the past few years. Everyone had to weigh the risks or benefits of getting vaccinated. Everyone weighed the truths or falsehoods of political scandals we saw under Trump, and now under Biden. Discernment and choice are the driving forces of elected government. The ability of the public to choose what to believe and what not to believe are what informs their votes, and decides the direction of our nation.
Like him or not, and believe him or not, what Tucker did was question the narratives on both sides of the political establishment. He questioned Ukraine. He questioned big pharma. He received and published videos that challenged the narratives on January 6. This often went against his self interest, both with fewer advertisers wanting to sponsor his show, and with big tech platforms that openly censor content like this. But by doing so, he also became an anomaly among the mainstream voices.
And this raises an important question for us as a nation: should we be allowed to see information we may not believe in. Is the threat of “disinformation” so serious that certain opinions and perspectives should be forbidden? What do we risk without information that challenges what we’re told is absolute?
Without journalists who break from the pack, what you’re left with are just journalists who tow the line. The risk is that it ends with glorified state media whose expected role to maintain political accountability and transparency, is replaced instead with keeping the public subdued. Journalists are always accountable to someone, and if it’s not to the public, then the question is: to whom do they serve? And without a dedication to truth, can we trust that what they say is true?
That’s all for tonight, folks. Thanks for joining us. And as always, Stay informed, and stay free.