What happened to Tucker Carlson? This journalist set out to find the answer.


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Years in the past, Tucker Carlson was a well-regarded conservative author with award-nominated articles and reward from journalism’s prime editors. Now, he shouts about immigrants, cries that huge tech is stifling conservative voices, and poses questions like “How, exactly, is range our power?” on his nightly Fox Information present.

Carlson’s journey has puzzled media critics for years. “What occurred to Tucker Carlson?” they wish to know. Now, Lyz Lenz, a author with the Columbia Journalism Overview, might have discovered the reply: Nothing.

Lenz sat down with Carlson for 2 and a half hours for her piece “The Thriller of Tucker Carlson” to determine what Carlson’s journey might inform her about journalism and America in 2018. She unpacked her findings for CNN’s Brian Stelter on this week’s Dependable Sources podcast.

Take heed to the entire podcast right here:

The reply to “What occurred to Tucker Carlson?” has truly existed for years, Lenz stated.

“We wish to suppose that, oh, it is a entire new shtick for him,” Lenz instructed Stelter. “However truly, I believe it is simply a part of who he is at all times been. Should you take a look at loads of his early writings… there has at all times been type of a latent racism.”

In terms of his job at Fox Information as host of a major time present that is within the time slot beforehand held by Invoice O’Reilly, Carlson typically promotes a worry of immigrants taking up white, working-class jobs.

He hardly ever talks about President Donald Trump’s challenges and habits, in accordance with Stelter. As an alternative, he dabbles in what a communications professor Lenz spoke with referred to as “change-the-subject conservatism.”

“You already know, do not thoughts that burning constructing over there,” Lenz stated. “Let us take a look at this, , small kitchen hearth over right here.”

Lenz describes herself as “a single mother, a contract author with two children, swiftly dealing with a future with no well being care.” She lives in Iowa and is at the moment navigating a divorce after 12 years of marriage to a Republican. Lenz stated the divorce “did not come due to the election,” however “the election definitely revealed loads of enormous issues that we could not overcome.”

As a author, she stated, she sees metaphor all over the place; what she noticed in her personal life, she additionally noticed in politics.

So, she wrote her profile of Carlson within the first particular person. She acknowledged it was daring, saying writers are “not speculated to make it about ourselves.”

“Once we’re speaking about Tucker Carlson, we’re not simply speaking about Tucker Carlson,” she stated. “We’re speaking about America. And once we discuss America, we’re not simply speaking about statistics. We’re speaking about particular person lives which are altering and being impacted due to the politics on this nation.”

When it got here time to take a seat down with Carlson, Lenz anticipated to have a fruitful dialog. She thought he could be much like Hamlet — “pretending to be loopy whereas pulling off a much bigger scheme,” she instructed Stelter.

This did not occur. “It ended up simply him yelling at me for 2 hours about free speech,” Lenz stated.

Carlson typically depicts himself as an individual of the individuals. However on the similar time, he makes tens of millions. When Lenz requested about his life-style, Carlson instructed her he had to offer for his household.

“At one level, I stated, ‘You already know, I’ve to offer for my household,'” Lenz instructed Stelter. “‘I do not go on TV and shout about immigration.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, nicely, nicely, you are so noble and so good however me, , that is simply what I needed to do.’ Which once more, I believe is simply type of a disingenuous deflection about the actual state of issues.”

“I discovered the distinction actually jarring,” she stated. “That me, this mother within the Midwest who’s struggling to pay for well being care, I am the elite liberal media, however he isn’t.”

CNNMoney (New York) First revealed September 15, 2018: 2:06 PM ET

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