Tucker Carlson is back with a brand new web show and I’m sorry to report that it’s already gone viral.
The ex-Fox News host, who was ousted from his longtime home at the conservative news network in April, has launched Tucker on Twitter, which—as you might have guessed—is hosted on Twitter. Once the great orator behind Tucker Carlson Tonight, one of the most popular programs on cable television, Carlson was abruptly ejected from his position earlier this year over network executives’ concerns, allegedly regarding his connection to Fox’s Dominion Voting System lawsuit, as well as another suit accusing Carlson and Fox of sexism and harassment.
Now, Fox has accused Carlson of breaking the non-compete clause of his contract, which should bar him from launching any competitor programs until 2025, and may be considering legal action against him over the new show.
But, for the moment, Fox clearly can’t shut Tucker up. In the first episode of Tucker on Twitter, which premiered to a massive viewership on Tuesday, Carlson showed he has absolutely no plans to go quietly into that good night. No, he apparently prefers to go ranting and raving, taking swipes at familiar political and cultural enemies.
If you can’t stomach actually watching Tucker’s new show, you’re in luck: we’ve provided a quick rundown on what happened. (Don’t worry—we don’t plan to do this every week.)
A LOT of people watched Tucker on Twitter
There’s one thing you can’t say about Tucker Carlson and that’s that he’s unpopular. When Carlson was on the air at Fox, he consistently rated as one of the most widely viewed cable television programs in America. Now, as he transitions to Twitter, it appears he’s taking his popularity with him. The first episode of Tucker on Twitter gained a massive amount of attention. As of this evening, Carlson’s show had already garnered a whopping 95 million views, 739,000 likes, and approximately 219,000 retweets.
So, yes, he’s a popular guy. That said, the most popular movie on Netflix right now is The Boss Baby, which is about a baby who is a boss, and the most visited restaurant in America is McDonald’s—so I think it’s safe to say that, when it comes to the American consumer, popularity doesn’t necessarily correlate to quality!
Carlson’s “show” was only about 10 minutes long
Despite Tucker’s promise to shower the internet with “the truth,” Tuesday’s premiere didn’t actually involve all that much content. Clocking in at a little over ten minutes long, Tucker on Twitter’s runtime amounted to a sliver of Tucker Carlson Tonight—which formerly ran for an hour, with commercials. It’s unclear whether Carlson plans to expand the format of his new series or whether this is it. Maybe he should start calling it something else other than a “show.” A vlog, maybe? Or a long TikTok?
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Rat man
Now to the good stuff: the content of Carlson’s show. Sure enough, he started things off right by referring to the president of a besieged nation as some sort of befouled rodent. Nice! That is to say, the war in Ukraine featured heavily in Carlson’s first segment and he wasted no time in sharing some kind words about Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of the embattled country. His description was as such:
“Sweaty and rat-like, a comedian turned oligarch, a persecutor of Christians, a friend of BlackRock”
Phew, I guess Tucker took the gloves are off for that one. Maybe Zelenskyy’s not perfect but at least he’s, ya know, doing something—like trying to stop his country from being destroyed by an invading horde. That sure beats sitting in a gilded McMansion and streaming unhinged insults to people on social media.
Tucker yelled at The New York Times for not reporting about aliens enough
Maybe the biggest highlight of the first episode of Tucker on Twitter involved Tucker’s unfiltered thoughts on the subject of UFOs. Yes, somewhere towards the end of the episode, Tucker said the following, and I quote:
“UFOs are actually real and apparently so is extraterrestrial life. Now we know. In a normal country, this news would qualify as a bombshell—the story of the millennium—but in our country [and, I must add, at this point, Tucker can be seen shaking his head sadly, a rueful smile pressed to his lips] it doesn’t.”
If you’re worried Carlson was having a brain aneurysm when he said this, know that he was actually referencing a story involving David Charles Grusch, a decorated Air Force veteran who made wild claims this week that the government has a retrieval program for extraterrestrial vehicles and that alien bodies had actually been recovered by the program. Grusch is being hailed as a whistleblower and UFO nuts are going certifiable.
Because of its failure to cover the story involving Grusch, Tucker went on to un-ironically rebuke the New York Times for not running anything on “how an alien species is flying hypersonic aircraft over our cities.”
Admittedly, Grusch’s rank and lengthy stint in government does make the story notable. But just because a high-ranking military official says something outlandish doesn’t mean you should assume he’s telling the truth. A couple years ago, Israel’s top space security guy also claimed that aliens are real, even going so far as to claim that there existed a “galactic federation” and that Earth is a part of it. Was this worth reporting? Sure! Worth believing? Of course not. We have no idea why he said this. Maybe he was trying to sell a book. Maybe he was joking. Who knows?
“The aroma of death has aroused Lindsay Graham”
Look, I have to give credit where credit is due and, tbh, Tucker landed one hell of a good jab at withered GOP goon Lindsey Graham on Tuesday. During his unhinged diatribe on Ukraine, Carlson chastised Graham for a controversial remark about U.S. defense aide that the senator recently made during a meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Graham said that the war in Ukraine was the “best money” the U.S. had “ever spent”). Carlson lit into the senator for this comment, characterizing him as some sort of genocidal comic book villain who relishes the thought of war:
“He looks like a starving man contemplating a breakfast buffet. The aroma of death has aroused Lindsey Graham.”
Good job, Tucker. I can’t speak to the factual accuracy of this description, only its poetic heft and artistic craft. No, it doesn’t make up for the fact that you’re an opportunistic gargoyle who will yak about anything that seems to make your disgruntled audience’s eyeballs dilate with rage, but it certainly is a memorable rhetorical feat! Two points for Hufflepuff!
Using the word “pap”
Sometimes it sorta seems like Tucker was dropped out of some prior decade—or even a different century. His oratory style can feel campy and vaudevillian in a way that doesn’t seem entirely modern. Case in point, his use of the word “pap” during Tuesday’s broadcast—a word that I’d never heard any other human say except in reference to a “pap smear.” Indeed, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “pap”—in addition to referencing a woman’s cervical test—also means a “bland soft or semi-liquid food such as that suitable for babies or invalids.” In Carlson’s use of this word, he was referencing American politicians’ way of speaking to the public. His unhinged diatribe reads as thus:
“Diversity is our strength! Trans women are women! Zelenskyy is Churchill! It’s all self-evidently true. It doesn’t need an explanation and don’t ask questions. Sound familiar? Of course it does. That’s the pap they’re serving us, day after day, in steaming, lumpy portions!”
Tuck, thanks for teaching me a new word, and for delivering to us all an unforgettably gross political metaphor!
What lies ahead for Tucker on Twitter
It’s not exactly clear what’s going to happen with Tucker Carlson’s new show. It’s possible that Fox may sue him for his breach of contract. It’s possible they won’t.
As previously stated, Carlson is an immensely popular figure. Disaffection with mainstream and legacy media is at an all time high, and audiences are casting about for alternative sources of information. Tucker, unfortunately, is one of those alternative sources, and he has made a name for himself by drawing a big, brassy contrast between the highly flawed network news media of our times and his own, free-wheeling brand of highly editorialized, news-adjacent content.
But Carlson isn’t exactly an antidote to the problems of the mainstream media—hell, he’s a product of it. He’s also less a journalist than he is a commentator, which means he’s basically just a guy with a megaphone and a point of view. Whether you agree or disagree with those views, they can’t replace literal actual journalists, who dig up stories and report the news.
Unfortunately, the media that Carlson is perpetually at war with is in trouble—as can be seen by the Chris Licht-related drama over at CNN, the ongoing crisis at Fox, and MSNBC’s own uneven ratings. Americans clearly need a better model of news than the one they’re getting but, for the foreseeable future, they’re going to get Carleson—whether they like it or not.
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